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9 Tips for Writing Nonprofit Website Content

Let’s face it—writing content for nonprofit websites can be difficult. We all know the feeling of staring at a blank page and trying to develop compelling content.

Unfortunately, research shows that great content for your online marketing efforts is critical to higher conversion rates and engaging user experiences that lead to higher donations, volunteer signups and conversions for the nonprofit.

So, how can you write consistently effective content for your nonprofit website? Start by asking yourself these two questions:

  • What are the two things we want users to do on this page?
  • What are the top three things we want users to take away from reading this page?

Once you have those answers down, try incorporating these nine tips into your writing routine:

1. Know your audience

2. Write Content That’s Easy to Skim & Scan

  • Include summaries or overviews.
  • Address your web visitors directly. Use the word you.
  • Start with your conclusion—write so your most important information is first.
  • Limit each paragraph to one key concept—four sentences max.
  • Use short sentences—twelve words on average.
  • Break your content into sections with meaningful headings—include keywords in headings.
  • Skip unnecessary words—forget descriptors like very, really, etc.
  • Use bullet points and numbered lists.

3. Use Images and Video

  • Break up the content with rich media to tell a better story – there’s no better way to tell a story than visually.
  • Videos should live on YouTube or Vimeo for performance help.

4. Avoid Jargon

  • Avoid using industry/organization specific jargon.  Write so every user can understand you.
  • Assume your user knows nothing about the area you work.

5. Build Trust, Credibility, and Leadership 

  • Be factual and accurate. Where appropriate, cite trusted sources with links to trusted websites or by quoting trusted authorities.
  • Explain why your organization is uniquely qualified to address the issues.
  • Use client or supporter testimonials or quotes to support what you’re saying
  • Quotes can be a great way to break up content on a page.

6. Never End Content Without a Call-to-Action

  • Keep your language active! Avoid the passive tense.
  • The bottom of the page should be building to a call-to-action.
  • Make sure that there’s a clear call-to-action somewhere on the page.

7. Do Keyword Research, but Write for Humans

  • Moz provides a great keyword research tool.
  • Find 2-4 keywords that you want to focus on.
  • It’s important to include keywords in your page title and sub-headings.
  • Don’t use so many keywords that it’s not human-readable.  It’s more important to provide users a great experience than cram your page with keywords.

8. Include Easy Ways to Get in Contact with You

  • Solicit feedback from users in a contact form, blog comments, etc.

9. Use Text Color Formatting Sparingly

  • Don’t use crazy colors everywhere.
  • Heed this common design saying: “When everything on the screen screams, nothing is heard.” – Some Smart Designer

And there you have it! Go use your newfound content-writing skills to change the world. No pressure.

In addition to compelling content, there are a lot of important factors that make your website effective. Download our website checklist to find out the critical steps to increase your site traffic, donations, and website leads.