how to boost conversion with nonprofit app development

How to Boost Conversion with Nonprofit Web Development

Tamar Barlev

November 3, 2021 · 6 minutes

Your nonprofit does good things for the world—and I assume your goals are only to propel it to do more good, for more worlds (so to speak.) And that’s where CRO—conversion rate optimization—comes into the picture. Boosting your organization’s conversion with nonprofit web development could be massively beneficial to your nonprofit’s mission and impact. 

Looking to convert new visitors into donors, would-be activists into volunteers, and one-time donors into recurrent, passionate followers of your cause? Well, that can all be done through precise and excellent web development.

How? 

Let’s find out.

(And check out our case studies with the World Wildlife Fund and World Health Organization to see the proof in the pudding.)



The Role of Conversion Rate Optimization through Nonprofit

Although you’re operating for, what we assume, are more altruistic causes than those of businesses, it’s still important to treat your nonprofit organization as a business in many ways. One of them is measuring money in, money out. And one of them is measuring the efficacy of your content and online presence. 

Therefore, just as for a business, it’s essential to track conversion rates in your app and web development. Likewise, conversion rates are crucial for nonprofit organizations because they help you keep track of how you’re doing and in what ways you could be more effective doing it. 

So, let’s back up: conversion itself is the process of crafting a user experience for visitors that will turn them into leads. Moreover, in a nonprofit’s case, leads might look like volunteers, donors, recurrent donors, and passionate advocates that spread your message to others. 

Hence, “Conversion Rate Optimization” (CRO)i.e., to use UX best practices in nonprofit app and web development to boost awareness, donations, and engagement. 

CRO helps you measure the effectiveness of your digital footprint while doing everything we mentioned above and increasing your ROI for marketing efforts. 

So, really, the whole shebang. 


The Role of App and Web Development in Nonprofit CRO

The role of conversion through nonprofit web development is multi-pronged. However, these are the main ones:

  1. Increase donations, awareness, and engagement through digital platforms, brand trust, and beautiful user experience
  2. Increase ROI of marketing and community outreach 

As it stands, your nonprofit’s digital platform is vital in today’s online- and mobile-heavy world. For example, in 2019, online giving on Giving Tuesday jumped by 28%, which rose to 58% in 2020. 

Additionally, this is when the average conversion rate for main donation pages of nonprofits is around 15%, where custom-branded donation pages help raise 6x more than non-custom pages

So, yeah—we’re not just emphasizing boosting conversion through nonprofit web development for fun. This is the real deal. 


How to Boost Conversion with Nonprofit Web Development

Define Your Goals

First things first—when you’re using nonprofit web development to propel your mission, it’s important to exactly define your goals. In this case, your conversion goals. 

Are you planning to…

  1. Increase donations?
  2. Build awareness?
  3. Recruit volunteers?
  4. Educate an audience?
  5. Attract sponsors or grant organizations?

Whatever your goal(s) may be, it’s important to precisely define them to pinpoint your needs for development and address them. 

From there, you can run page goal analyses, keyword research, define your success metrics, and measure your conversion rates for specific CTAs and pages. 


Create Donor and Visitor (Buyer/User) Personas

Next in line to define your goals and KPIs will be to create donor, visitor, or user personas. This ensures your UX will be as tailored and relevant to your audience as possible and give your nonprofit web development a guide to follow.

Your audience personas could be first-time visitors and donors, researchers, recurrent donors, and prospective or committed volunteers. 


Align Content with Goals and Donor (Buyer) Personas

Once you establish to whom you’re tailoring your UX, you’ll be able to craft their experience and propel them to support your mission in a way that’s touching and relevant to them. 

For example, for first-time donors, you’ll know to communicate your clear and compelling value proposition through straightforward, visual methods that draw them in. Your nonprofit web development will not only help tell your story but demonstrate its urgency and importance.

On the other hand, for recurrent donors—you’ll know to keep them updated on your progress and efforts and your cause’s new and developing needs. And so on, and so forth.


Establish Trust

We’re not only tech-savvy these days—but we’re also a little bit skeptical and know to research where to give our hard-earned money. In fact, 63% of donors want to know how their money will be used. And, 75% of young donors have polled to distrust out-of-date looking websites.

So, it’s really critical to build trust through nonprofit app and web development.

You can do just that through:

  1. Secure pages (HTTPS) and donation platforms
  2. Short URLs
  3. Trust seals, banners, and banners
  4. Minimal information collection
  5. Branded giving pages
  6. Public and easily accessible financial information and other information (about us, blogs, etc.)
  7. Donor and volunteer testimonials
  8. Email communication opt-in
  9. Footers with social media, links to nonprofit information, and visual indicators of secure payment platforms


Use Design and UX/UI Best Practices

There are many UX/UI design best practices your nonprofit app and web development should follow. By abiding by these guidelines, your nonprofit can create a beautiful, seamless user experience that will help visitors navigate your website, find ways to contribute and learn more.

Some of these best practices include:

  • Using bullets (aha!) to create easily scannable content
  • Keeping your value proposition in the first two inches of the page
  • Embed your donation portal into your website, rather than external link to a third-party
  • Install clear CTA buttons with compelling language (“Save a Puppy” vs. “Donate Now”)
  • Leverage rich-media—videos, interactive applications, GIFs, and even AR simulations
  • Stick to the three-click rule: a donor shouldn’t have to look for your donation button and certainly shouldn’t ever be more than three clicks away from your donation page
  • Implement design with clear and consistent branding, and put your logos everywhere to demonstrate consistency and create trust
  • Donation pages should require minimal fields, with either a single-page or multiple stages that clearly label and orient the user on where they are in the process
  • Design an incredibly homepage that succinctly and effectively explains what you do, why you do it, and how visitors can get involved


Have a Bulletproof CTA Strategy

With your CTAs, you want to guide your users on where to go. And, since different page actions on nonprofit websites have different conversion rates, it’s essential to keep track of the benchmarks and where your pages stand. Currently, contact forms stand at a 3% conversion rate, even registration forms at 11%, surveys at 21%, contests at 28%, and main donation pages at 15%

Moreover, this is where the beauty of custom nonprofit web development lies. 

You know your visitors best–and providing them with a custom experience that’s most appropriate to your workflow and their motivations is key. Therefore, your CTA strategy must be well-thought-out and tailored to your visitors and prospective activists. 

There are many ways to go about this, but some things to keep in mind are:

  • Include a bold, high contrast “Donate” button with compelling language available on every page—or directly embed the donation function in the page if possible.
  • Provide multiple ways to stay in touch, get involved, learn more about the cause, spread on every page of the site.
  • Draw attention to sign-ups for ongoing fundraising and volunteer events, social media, and live stream video platforms for engagement.


Build an Excellent, Thought-out Donation Page

A donation page is more than just a donation page—it’s a massive opportunity to build a relationship and stoke ongoing passion in your community. 

And so, there are a few essential elements of an effective donation page:

  1. A branded, on-site donation portal, rather than one through an external link to a third-party platform. This reinforces trust and keeps your visitors on your page
  2. Include a “share” button on your “thank you” page (73% of nonprofits don’t do this, which is an absurd loss of an organic marketing opportunity.)
  3. Drive post-donation engagement by offering opt-in emails, social media information, and checking matching gift eligibility
  4. Keep the required fields to a minimum for ease of donation, as well as trust
  5. Orient your donor by either having a single page donation or using a progress bar to tell them how far they are in your (hopefully very brief) donation process


Conduct Consistent CRO Audits and A/B Testing

The last piece we’ll mention that’s critical to your conversion through nonprofit web development is consistently testing your site or app’s conversion effectiveness. You’ll want to run periodic audits, measure your established success metrics and KPIs, and compare them to industry benchmarks that will help tell you where you stand. 

From there, you’ll want to run A/B testing on different landing pages, images, website elements, and CTA locations and language. So, that as design trends, advocate sentiments, and the general zeitgeist shift, you’ll stay in tune with how well your website or app is propelling your mission. 







Well, this was a lot. We know. So, it could be beneficial to consult product strategy experts who’ll help you put the theory to the rubber.

Coincidentally, hi, we’re Goji Labs—a product and software development consultancy with experience in designing, “rescuing,” and deploying hundreds of products.

Looking to develop a new app or revamp an existing one?

Have any general questions about who we are and our authority on the subject?

Reach us at GojiLabs.com.

– Goji Labs

About Tamar Barlev

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