What is the difference between a sales website and a charity website? They both do the same thing: Get people to spend money with you instead of your competition. You might be tempted to go with a generic-use or sales web template and perform some light modifications to produce a charity website.

You can just swap out some words and you pretty much get the same website. Instead of calling them customers, call them donors. You don't sell products, you sell campaigns. Change the sales funnel for stratifying customers to a donation funnel for classifying donation levels. In place of product feedback, show donor and recipient feedback.

You can make all of these alterations, but you don't have a charity website. You have a sales website disguised as a charity website.

All of these things are good to have:

  1. Addressing donors
  2. Explaining campaigns
  3. Using a donation funnel
  4. Providing donor/recipient feedback

You need to approach the website design from a donor's point of view, which is different from a customer's point of view.

A customer makes an online purchase and gets something tangible in return.
A donor makes a donation and gets a promise that their money will be put to the desired campaign.

The donor's transaction is one of trust, which is so important for a charity to maintain.

If a customer gets a faulty item, it can be returned or exchanged. There is a good chance, through suave customer service, to retain the customer for future purchases.
If a campaign goes wrong, the donor's faith in the charity is broken. With donor trust gone, there is little chance of that donor giving to that charity again.

Your campaign, your whole website should be reassuring the donor's trust in you. The donor is likely not to donate on the first visit to the website. It takes a long time and reassurance to establish that trust with the donor.

When a donor does donate, there should be no misconceptions about what the donor is funding the charity to do. You must show the donor what the gift has accomplished through both private and public communication of the campaign's progress.

When you build your charity website, or rebuild it, ensure that your base ingredient is trust. Contact ShoreShot! Web Design to help you set up your charity's website.

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Rob is amazing....always there for our charity, always ready to help, advise and guide me personally through the maze of internet advertising. I cannot recommend him or his work and integrity enough.

-- Nancy J.