It used to be okay to just have a nice-looking website with a pretty face but very little power. A brochure site, if you will—a few images, some text about your organization and contact info for would-be donors who either wanted to call or send a check in the mail.

Bye, bye brochure sites—these are not relevant anymore. More often than not, they’ll turn away donors rather than attract them.

Instead, it’s now “Hello, websites that work as hard as you do”—the ones that do the heavy lifting with the robust functionality and fundraising tools your donors are looking for. Suffice it to say, you are losing money now if you don’t have these 8 features (or most of them) incorporated into your org’s website.


1. Online donation processing

These days, a nonprofit website with built-in online donation processing is the standard. Writing a check, addressing an envelope and dropping it in the mail—or dropping it off at your office—takes way too much time, and probably doesn’t even cross many donors’ minds. Who still even has checks? Not many people under 40.

By giving your donors a fast, simple and integrated option for online donations, you’re making it possible for more people to support you. Plus, an integrated donation system typically means lower attrition rates and higher recurring donation rates, because it’s way easier for a donor to “set it and forget it” when their monthly donation is automatically deducted from an account without a lift of their finger.


2. Fundraising pages

An organization’s fundraising pages can be their own greatest enemy in securing donations if they aren’t designed well. That’s why it’s crucial to have fundraising campaign pages (also referred to as landing pages) that are branded properly and easy to navigate. Optimally, you should have a fundraising page for every fundraising initiative within your organization—like Giving Tuesday, your EOY campaign, an annual event page and the like.

Custom branded fundraising pages on your website can raise up to six times more money than generic ones, according to Nonprofit Tech for Good. Plus, donors who agree to a recurring gift—a standard option to include on a fundraising page—give an average of 42% more than those who make a one-time donation, according to the Stanford Social Innovation Review. Fundraising pages contain all the functionality your donors need to feel safe and secure about making a donation without leaving your website. They’re built to convert.


3. Content Management System (CMS)

A content management system, or CMS, is the administrative system for your nonprofit’s website that allows you to add, update and manage content quickly and efficiently, all by yourself, without the aid of a techie or engineer. Content refers to everything that you add to your website, from photos and videos to call-to-action buttons and blog posts—even a special fundraising page. A good CMS makes it easy for you to keep your website fresh and relevant, which gives people a reason to keep coming back.. At Firespring, our websites come with a user-friendly CMS called the Springboard. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how our expert engineers developed the Springboard and why.


4. Data and analytics

Thankfully, we’re well beyond the days when we have to use that age-old marketing strategy, “Throw spaghetti at the fridge, and see what sticks.” Now we have numbers. And tracking. And analytics. Combine these things and they can tell us a whole lot of information, like which ads, social media posts or emails worked well enough to get people to click through to your website.

We can see which pages visitors like to linger on, which fundraising pages convert the best, how long people stay on each web page they visit, which pages they gravitate to and which they quickly bounce from. All of the info allows us to see what works and what doesn’t and then funnel our time, energy and resources into doing more of what works and less of what doesn’t. Basically, the numbers and data push us in the right direction (typically)—way more reliable than a wet noodle.


5. Donor management system

According to Bloomerang, around 60% of donors only give once to a cause, which means that many organizations are spinning their wheels. So how do you build a donor retention plan that helps you stay in touch with your supporters and build relationships that foster loyalty? One place to start is with a great donor management tool that integrates with your website. Ideally, a donor management tool should have cloud-based technology, integrated email communication and a dashboard with built-in intelligence that provides insight into how constituents are engaging with your organization.


6. Event registration

According to research Firespring conducted, the number one thing that users want from nonprofits is the ability to register online for events—it’s right up there with the ability to make a donation online. Online event registration is no longer a perk or a pleasant surprise for people—it’s an expectation. Here’s a pro tip, though: Keep your forms short and sweet. One of the biggest reasons for abandoned online registrations is a lengthy and confusing form. When you have a quick and easy registration process that’s fully electronic and hassle-free, you’ll see better event turnouts and lose the headache of dealing with snail mail, paper forms and misplaced checks.


7. Email marketing

Email marketing has been around for a while and for good reason: It works. With 91% of all U.S. consumers checking email daily, email marketing should be a major player in your nonprofit’s outreach efforts. If you’re one of the few still holding out wondering if email marketing is for you, then consider this: Email marketing allows you to grow your constituent base, maintain donor relationships and measure results. Additionally, it’s lightning fast and boasts a high return on investment—one of the best ROIs among marketing tactics, in fact. According to the American Marketing Association, email marketing has the highest ROI among all marketing tools used by nonprofits nationwide.


8. Ongoing training and support

This may seem like the cherry on top, or you could argue a “nice to have”—but when you have questions about how to resize this image or why that page won’t save or what’s the best CTA button for this particular campaign, having an actual live person who’s invested in your cause can feel like an absolute necessity. Plus, marketing tactics and technological advances are changing every day—so having free access to education in the form of e-books, webinars, blog articles and more is crucial for staying on top of what’s what or the latest trends.

Have you dipped your toes in AI or Chat GPT? Wondering what’s trending in annual reports lately? Have you figured out how to effectively use automation or personalization? Free training and support sounds pretty necessary now, right?

You probably know I was coming to this, but I’ll spill the tea anyway: All these tools come with the affordable Firespring nonprofit platform. All the essentials are built right in, so you can manage your nonprofit from one place with the security of a real-person support team who cares about your mission.


Friend, you will not find all these things in one complete package anywhere else. Don’t you think it’s time? Learn more about Firespring’s affordable mission-driven websites and all the features that come with them.


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