Kanopi Team
October 14, 2020

The Ultimate Guide for Nonprofit Website Maintenance

Nearly half of all visits to a nonprofit’s website begin with a simple Google Search. Then what happens?

Research suggests that 1 in every 588 users who organically visit a nonprofit’s website will donate to the cause, generating an average of 30¢ per visitor. With such a large proportion of visitors coming from organic traffic, nonprofits that work to improve website conversions and the online giving process can significantly increase revenue.

Further, with Google offering $200 Million in ad grants this summer for nonprofits fighting the pandemic, this traffic only has the opportunity to improve. 

But how? 

Regular website maintenance is an excellent place to start.

Many nonprofit sites could benefit from big structural changes. That said, even minor tweaks to layout, content, text, and imagery can mean the difference between someone making a one-off donation and signing up for regular monthly giving. Drive the end-user through the path towards conversion with a strong narrative and compelling calls to action. 

There are a whole host of additional benefits that come with regularly maintaining your site beyond just increasing donations. In this guide, we offer best practice tips for keeping your nonprofit website in top shape and outline the benefits of regular website maintenance.

Table of contents 

What is the Difference Between Website Maintenance and Continuous Improvement for Nonprofits?

Similarly to taking your car in for maintenance checks to keep it safe to drive and in good condition, your nonprofit website needs regular maintenance to ensure it’s meeting users’ needs and helping you advance your mission.

But it’s more than just security updates and updating plug-ins or modules. Instead, we recommend taking a continuous improvement approach to maintaining your nonprofit site, with design and development improvements that allow for growth and flexibility beyond basic fixes. Read our Director of Support, Denise Beyer’s recent blog on continuous website improvement for long term growth and learn more about Kanopi’s continuous improvement team.

Let’s dive into the specific things you should check for when performing regular site maintenance.

Your Nonprofit’s Website Maintenance Checklist

We’ve created a checklist to use when planning what website maintenance your nonprofit site needs:

Strategic Backbone

User Experience

  • Do you know your current users and what their needs are? Ensure you have updated UX personas.
  • Are there additional user types you need to target? Do they utilize different pathways?
  • Do your users have clear next steps if they’re not ready to convert?
  • Does your site’s menu and its groupings make sense to your users?

Your Narrative:

  • Is the story of your nonprofit clear and compelling?
  • Are you telling your nonprofit’s story through more than just words, including through images, film and quotes? 
  • Are your CTAs engaging? Do they tell people what to do and why in the most direct way possible? 
  • Are you speaking at your user’s reading level?
  • Is what you’re saying relevant to the user and the journey to conversion?
  • Do you have a consistent tone of voice and style? Does all of the content on your site reflect this? 

Social & Events 

  • Have you incorporated social media or newsletters to broaden the omnichannel experience?
  • Do you have a clear editorial calendar and an update schedule? 
  • Are you keeping on top of relevant current events and reflecting this in your site’s content? 

Multimedia:

  • Do your image choices represent your brand? Does alternative text showcase their value?
  • Are you taking advantage of video content and sharing?
  • Do your videos have pause buttons and captions? 
  • Are you making use of other media types, and how? 
  • Are all controls accessible?

Comings and Goings:

  • Is it clear to a new user why they should want to engage with your nonprofit, from whatever page they enter your site on? 
  • Do your top landing pages make sense?
  • Do your top landing pages have clear user pathways for both macro and micro conversions?
  • Do your top exit pages make sense?
  • Is your bounce rate within industry norms?

The Nuts and Bolts:

  • Is your CMS up to date and secure?
  • How is your page load speed?
  • Do you have any broken links?
  • Are all of your forms working and formatted?
  • Are buttons easily clickable?
  • Who is linking to your site? What is their reputation?
  • Do events have a ‘save to calendar’ option? Should they? 

Your answers to the above questions can clue you into when it might be time to update your website and which areas have the greatest opportunity for enhancement.

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Best Practices for Nonprofit Website Maintenance 

From using best growth measurement metrics to ensuring your site complies with new regulations, we’ve rounded up some best practices to follow for nonprofit site maintenance:

1. Take a Continuous improvement approach.

As mentioned earlier, making small improvements to your site on a consistent schedule is a more sustainable and affordable approach that can increase your return on investment and drive value for you and your users. With small continuous fixes, you can dramatically extend the life of your site and avoid expensive overhauls every few years.  Since redesigning the Mises Institute website in 2012, they’ve seen astronomical increases of subscribers year on year through continuous improvements by Kanopi, with a 207% increase in 2018. 

2. Use KPIs to measure growth.

We cannot celebrate your success without knowing what that looks like for your nonprofit. Take the time to understand and document what your site is doing to help you meet organizational goals in addition to the needs of your users. We suggest you set and monitor some key performance indicator (KPI) metrics. Time on site, bounce rate, and number of pages visited are good indicators of impact to monitor. We go into more detail on these 3 metrics and more, in our recent blog: The top six website metrics to track

You may also want to take note of data from your CRM: who is donating? How often are they donating? Are repeat or “lifetime” donors on the rise or fall?

3. Keep event calendars, news, and social media feeds up to date

Don’t forget to update your events calendar and sync your news and social media feeds regularly to ensure your site remains engaging and relevant. This way, you provide up-to-date information to your users across all of your online channels. We recommend creating an editorial calendar to help you out and find automated tools that will help you schedule out your posts weeks in advance.

4. Update your CMS regularly, not just for significant updates

Keeping your website up to date and secure programmatically will help you to avoid unintended site downtime and ensure that your systems can work together to help your user support your organization and its mission

5. Keep updated with local and national internet laws.

We know this can be a tricky area on which to stay current. A good way to do so is by relying on a trusted website support service whose business it is to keep on top of the latest regulations and law changes affecting nonprofit sites. For example, some agencies can help you navigate the California Consumer Privacy Act, which went into effect earlier this year.

6. Ensure that common website processes, like online donations or event registrations, work.

On top of having a dedicated online donation and event registration tool to ensure your website meets basic engagement needs, it’s crucial that users can also access and use your site from their mobile devices. More and more people are donating and joining events directly from their phones, so make sure this is a seamless experience for them.

7. Partner with a nonprofit website support service.

There’s power in numbers. Expanding your team’s capacity with the right partner can help improve your digital presence quickly and effectively. Follow Kanopi’s tips for finding a team of reliable experts to optimize your site, allowing you to meet deadlines and stay within budget. 

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Nonprofit Website Maintenance Support Services: Why Nonprofits choose Kanopi

We at Kanopi Studios are a top partner for nonprofits and their website maintenance for several reasons, with our continuous improvement team currently supporting over 150 active sites. 

Nonprofits choose us partly due to our ability to take small bites yet create big wins for our nonprofit clients. Nonprofits also decide to partner with us because we don’t just build a site, launch it, then walk away. We provide a full website growth plan, ensuring your site is sustainable and is fit for purpose for as long as possible.

Our traditional website growth plans often include: 

  1. how to increase conversions for your organization using your website;
  2. customization based on your unique situation;
  3. a three to five-year breathing window (if operating on Drupal.) 

We have other, focused plans to meet the variety of needs faced by teams like yours.

Through our range of services, we take a complete approach to web design and continuous improvement. From researching who uses your site and how, to developing a content strategy that serves both your organizational goals and the needs of your users, our clients value our flexible and nimble approach

‘When I describe Kanopi to others, I talk about customer service, great services, a sustainable site, and a relationship that gets better over time. Every project we have done with Kanopi has improved our site and made it work harder and better for us.’

Laura H, Digital Marketing Manager at Stratford Schools

Website Maintenance: What Kanopi does

  • We perform user research to fully understand your site visitors and those you want to attract to your site
  • We provide content strategy development to align with your mission and your supporters’ needs
  • We develop user personas and map user journeys to better understand their goals and how your website can help to achieve them
  • We perform user testing to ensure new features work
  • We provide a full website growth plan

What sets Kanopi apart from the rest 

In addition to building and designing nonprofit sites, Kanopi provides anything but typical ‘support.’ For many clients, support means we act as an extension of their team and help them enhance their site. We do this through incremental improvements to strategy, design and UX, key feature development, third-party integration, and more. Learn more about our top strategies and tools for how to make a website last.

Every Kanopian is an expert at what they do, with an average of 11 years of specialized experience in both Drupal and WordPress development and design.

Contact us for a helping hand with your nonprofit website maintenance and boost your web presence today.

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