In this blog post, you’ll learn how to use data to enhance your nonprofit’s website.

How to Use Data to Enhance Your Nonprofit’s Website

Your nonprofit’s website is an essential tool for marketing your mission and pulling in support for your cause. It’s where your supporters learn about your organization, give online gifts, sign up to volunteer, register for your events, and more.

But sometimes it can be difficult to discern exactly how well your website is working to encourage your supporters to take these actions, or even what it is that gets them to visit your site in the first place.

The missing piece to this puzzle? Data, and lots of it—information about who your supporters are, what motivates them, how they journey to your website, and what they do once they’re on it. And learning to harness the power of data can help you in your efforts to enhance your website’s performance and improve it as a marketing and fundraising tool.

In this quick guide, we’ll help you get started tapping into your donor and website analytics data so that you can take your web presence to the next level. Let’s get started.

Gather relevant data about your supporters.

Start by gathering data about your supporters and your website. There are lots of ways you can do this, but you’ll typically need two main tools:

  • Your nonprofit CRM. Your CRM is where your organization stores everything it knows about your donors, volunteers, and other supporters. Use it as a resource for learning about your target audience’s demographics, giving histories, and participation in campaigns, events, and volunteering opportunities. If your CRM is disorganized or your data hasn’t been updated in a while, consider investing in data append services to ensure everything is accurate and up-to-date.
  • Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a data collection and analysis tool that gathers information about the people who visit your nonprofit’s website, like what channels they took to get there, what pages they view, and what actions they take. Google Analytics is free to use and even allows you to set and track goals for your website so that you can optimize your digital presence. To learn how to get started with Google Analytics for your website, check out Cornershop Creative’s ultimate guide.

While these are two solid resources to get started with gathering the relevant data you’ll need to improve your website, you can also use:

  • Surveys to find out what your supporters think of your website, including the user experience (UX) and content
  • Performance tracking tools like Google Search Console to track organic search traffic and monitor your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts
  • Email analytics to understand which email content drives traffic to your website
  • Social media insights to see which content gets the most engagement and drives traffic to your website
  • A/B testing to compare different versions of website elements (like your donation page) to see what version performs better

Gathering data from the right tools will allow you to get a holistic view of your website’s target audience and how well your website is accommodating your audience’s wants and needs.

However, as you gather this wealth of information, it may start to feel overwhelming. This is why you need a solid strategy for analyzing your data.

Analyze your data for patterns and trends.

Learning to tease out actionable insights from your supporter and website data can be tricky. But once you unlock the patterns and trends that are in your data, you’ll be equipped to make design choices for your website that will meet your audience’s needs and expectations.

Here are some tips for analyzing your data:

Get a general idea of who your target audience is and what motivates them.

Begin by looking closely at your audience’s demographics (age, gender, race, ethnicity, marital status, employment status, etc.) and psychographics (attitudes, values, interests, beliefs, etc.).

Next, examine their engagement history, reviewing past donations, hours volunteered, and events attended. You’ll also want to look at your donors’ communications preferences and how past outreach and marketing efforts have been received.

From there, you should be able to identify in general terms who your supporters are. For example, an animal shelter might determine its supporters are (generally):

  • Women in their twenties and thirties
  • Making $60,000-$80,000 annually
  • Passionate about animal rights, the environment, and outdoor activities
  • Giving to and volunteering with multiple environment- or animal-focused nonprofits each year
  • Donating $250-$500 to the nonprofit each year
  • Apt to engage with the organization the most via text and social media

Create a supporter persona.

Get more specific by creating a supporter persona. A supporter persona is a fictional representation of a real supporter comprised of traits that represent the trends you see in your organization’s data.

For instance, continuing with the example above, the animal shelter’s persona might be “Camille Adams,” a 30-year-old woman who cares about animal rights and the environment and who enjoys hiking and mountain biking. Camille volunteers with a climate advocacy group and gives the animal shelter $300 on an annual basis. She also follows the shelter on Instagram and Twitter and responds well to text-to-give campaigns.

With a supporter persona like this, you have a clear audience member to keep in mind when optimizing your website or creating content. You can ask yourself questions like, “What would they think of this web page?” or “How would they respond to this blog post?”

Examine supporters’ conversion journeys.

Understanding who your supporters are is only half the battle. Next you need to understand how they behave on your website and what it takes for them to complete a desired action, like making a donation, signing up for your newsletter, or registering for an event.

Here are a few tips for analyzing conversion journeys:

  • Look at your website’s traffic sources (such as organic search, social media, email campaigns, etc.).
  • Set up conversion tracking in Google Analytics to identify the pages visitors view and engage with before taking an action.
  • Take a close look at how well your content guides visitors through the conversion funnel from awareness to action. This will include looking at the calls-to-action (CTAs) across your website and how you link pages to one another.
  • Identify any parts of your conversion funnel where visitors are prone to dropping off.

As you begin to see what is and isn’t working on your website, take note of the good things you’re already doing that you can apply to any problem areas. Also prioritize the most important fixes. For example, the steep drop-off you’re seeing on your donation page should likely be addressed before you figure out why one of your blog posts isn’t getting as much attention as the others.

Use audience insights to improve your website design.

Now that you’ve discovered the trends and patterns awaiting you in your data, you can begin to make positive changes to the design of your website that will enhance the UX and encourage more of your visitors to use your website to take action for your cause.

Here are some areas to focus on as you make improvements:

  • Navigation. Prioritize smooth and easy navigation. Ensure your navigation menu links to your most important pages and is easy to view and click on no matter what page a visitor lands on.
  • Overall visual look and feel. Your website should have a cohesive look to communicate your organization’s professionalism and help visitors feel they can trust your site. If your brand look needs some defining (or refining!), Kwala recommends building out a brand kit that includes elements like your color palette, typography, and logos.
  • CTAs. CTAs are phrases, often formatted as clickable buttons, that encourage website visitors to take an action. Ensure your CTAs are eye-catching and brief, directing your visitors to your most important action pages.
  • Mobile optimization. Since over 55% of web traffic comes from mobile devices, making sure your website is mobile-friendly is a must. Ensure that your web design will adjust to fit multiple screen sizes and that buttons are thumb-friendly. You should also compress any large files, like images, that could slow down your load speed.
  • Accessibility. Ensure that people of all abilities can access your website. Review the Web Accessibility Initiative guidelines and follow best practices such as ensuring that your website can be navigated by keyboard, images include alternative text (alt text), and text and background colors provide a high contrast for readability.

After making initial changes to your website, monitor your progress using Google Analytics and make adjustments as needed. You can even set goals for seeing improvements in things like event sign-ups or online donations and establish metrics that you’ll track to see your progress toward those goals.

For your own site to join the ranks of the best nonprofit websites out there, you need data on your side. When you understand who your supporters are and what they need from your website, you’ll be able to make enhancements to your website that lead to more support.

Revisit your data often and practice good data hygiene to continue gaining useful insights about your community. And, to take your website to the next level, consider leaving the design work to nonprofit web design experts. You can do this!