Boost Online Giving: Tips for Creating Accessible and Welcoming Websites

by Guirlaine Belizaire

Vice President of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Posted July 3, 2024

Did you know that 91% of nonprofits have a website, but only 22% of those are accessible to individuals with hearing and visual impairments

Your organization’s website is likely the first stop for prospective donors to learn more. Over the past several years, websites have also become prime donation opportunities. When your website is inaccessible and unwelcoming to the 40 million people with disabilities in the United States alone, you are excluding a significant sector of possible donors.

Broadening your donor base should always be a top priority. A great place to start is by improving your website to become a gateway, not an obstacle, to prospective donors.

The most basic changes can make a considerable difference. Below, we have outlined various methods and tactics to help you create an accessible and welcoming website to increase donor numbers, their engagement, and the revenue that drives your work.

Digital Accessibility Essentials

When we think of physical accessibility, ramps and parking spots come to mind. With digital accessibility, consider the following as examples: 

  1. Make your font size bigger. A good starting point is 16px for body text, with headers generally being larger. This is especially important considering that the average donor age is 74.
  2. Be mindful of color. Color is a great way to highlight important information on a website, but there can be too much of a good thing. A key component of web accessibility standards is color contrast between backgrounds and text. Use this tool to help determine where your site could improve its use of color.
  3. Make it Mobile-friendly. About half of all internet activity is done on a mobile device. Though maybe not the easiest to accomplish, this is an important update if your nonprofit seeks to broaden its donor base.

This is by no means comprehensive. The Americans with Disabilities Act website has additional resources and checklists that can support your organization’s accessibility journey and ensure your websites meet ADA compliance guidelines.

Inclusive Imagery

Images and videos across your organization’s online channels tell a story about your mission and values. Here are some ways to improve them, keeping accessibility and inclusivity in mind:

  1. Ensure every image has alt text. This is crucial for people who use screen readers to read and interact with websites. Here is a great tool to help generate alt text for images.
  2. Add captions to your videos. Many paid software options will generate transcripts, making it easier to add captions to videos or use YouTube’s auto-generated captions (just be sure to edit them).
  3. Choose images that reflect your constituency and prospective donors. It is easier to connect with an organization’s mission when you see yourself represented. Consider including on your website thoughtful images that feature people from a broad range of identities, including ethnicity, gender, ability, generation/age, race, physical appearance, religion, sexual orientation, etc.

Inclusive Messaging

What you say and how you say it matters, especially if you are trying to create an accessible and welcoming website for prospective donors.

  1. Create a review team with diverse perspectives. You are addressing a broad audience on your website and donation page, and your written content should reflect that. Leverage different perspectives at your organization to ensure the content resonates with those you are trying to reach.
  2. Share the impact of every gift—regardless of size. When 67% of all philanthropic giving comes from individuals, it is important to recognize every gift.

In Conclusion 

When creating your fundraising campaigns or setting up your donation website pages, web accessibility standards should always be top of mind. When growing your base of individual donors is a priority, it is especially important to create avenues, not obstacles, for donations for everyone. Embracing accessible web design and inclusive design principles will help ensure that your donor experience is welcoming and effective.

You can also find our advice on creating an inclusive philanthropy program here.

Looking for more personalized advice for your nonprofit? Schedule a consultation with one of our consultants to learn how Development Guild DDI can help.


Related Posts from our Blog