Charity website design: how to improve website user experience

Charity website design: how to improve website user experience

13th July 2021

By Philippa Jolliffe

In these digital-first days, charities need websites that do it all.

Cope with a rise in online donations during the pandemic. Deliver services digitally to vulnerable service users. Engage with stakeholders. All these things – and many more.

Ensuring that each different audience has a smooth website user experience (UX) requires a serious juggling act.

But at Connect Assist, we love a challenge. So, here are our five top tips for a non-profit website design that delivers a UX that pleases everyone – including your budget-conscious trustees!

Tip 1: Nail that design

When it comes to your website, looks count – no matter how great its personality is!

So make sure the design slots right into your charity’s brand. That helps build trust – which is especially important, if you’re offering confidential support or taking payment card details.

Choose a few striking images – they really do tell a thousand words. And resist the temptation to squeeze a thousand words onto your front page.

Ease of navigation is important for everyone, but especially users with visual impairments. There are widely accepted guidelines around things like font size, spacing and contrasts – follow them!

And it goes without saying, your website must look great on a smartphone or other device too.


Find out more about accessibility here: Accessibility through tech: Tech for good in the public sector

Tip 2: Be proud of your charity

What drives you? Explain your vision and mission, values and history to deepen engagement and build trust.

What good are you doing? Case studies – including audio-visual elements – are inspiring to donors, and relatable to service users. These should complement your more factual impact reports and financial accounts.

What’s new? Blogs and news pages keep your supporters up-to-date, as do links to your social media.

UX for non-profits is not just about the formatting of a web page, but also what is says.

Above all, what do you want your visitors to do? Which brings us to tips 3 and 4…

Tip 3: Make donating easy as pie

Your website should not be ashamed about asking for money. A big ‘Donate now’ button in a striking colour at the top of your homepage is a must for most charities.

And while that should be bold, try slightly subtler messaging to nudge up your funds. One suggestion is to switch the conversation from ‘Will you donate?’ to ‘How much will you donate?’, perhaps by suggesting three donation amounts and including a ‘most popular’ sum.

Tip 4: Give value first

If your main aim is providing a service to people in need, you should direct them immediately to your emergency helpline, live chat or AI chatbots.

If it’s appropriate to request donations, do so after they’ve got what they need. Asking for money straight up can seem cold and inhuman, and even drive them away.

It can be tricky to channel your various audiences down the right routes, which is where tip 5 is invaluable…

Tip 5: Test, improve, test again

Imagine you’re a service user. Can you get support without too many steps? How about on your smartphone? What if English isn’t your first language?

Now imagine you’re a potential donor. Is it easy to donate, and are you confident about security?

Perhaps you have a query. Is it answered on the website, or can you contact the charity easily?

If any customer journey highlights friction points, work on them. You can get further insights from this great blog on usability test scenarios.

And don’t hesitate to ask your actual website visitors what they think through feedback forms or surveys.

Get support from Connect Assist

At Connect Assist, we’re passionate about how a digital-first approach can transform your charity’s services.

We use Oracle Service Cloud to build customer service portals that perfectly match your website. It enables you to provide an omnichannel service that seamlessly integrates with your website, self-service portal, live and video chat and telephone service, offering your service users the very best UX.

Give us a bell or drop us a line to chat about working together. 



If you need our help in developing more effective, meaningful connections with customers, get in touch today.