6 Ways to Make Your Nonprofit Website a Tool for Advocacy

6 Ways to Make Your Nonprofit Website a Tool for Advocacy

Your nonprofit is motivated by a powerful mission and a drive to help your community succeed. Nonprofit advocacy comes into play when your organization uses its influence and resources to advance and support important societal causes on a systemic scale. 

Along with bringing awareness, nonprofit advocacy encourages supporters and other community members to take action. Today, modern advocacy thrives online, making your nonprofit website a vital tool for conducting advocacy campaigns.

In this guide, we’ll cover these six strategies you can use to make your nonprofit’s websites a powerful advocacy resource:  

  1. Share resources.
  2. Offer immediate ways to take action.
  3. Highlight upcoming advocacy events.
  4. Create advocacy-focused blog content.
  5. Start a membership program.
  6. Prioritize transparency. 

Whether you’re organizing community demonstrations or contacting representatives with volunteers’ help, your organization plays a fundamental role in organizing and educating your community for civic action and engagement. Therefore, your website planning and development processes should prioritize advocacy considerations. 

1. Share resources.

The foundation of any successful advocacy campaign is education. Empower your organization’s supporters to become advocates in their own right by providing them with the essential information they need to understand, talk about, and advance your cause. 

Use your website to share: 

  • Your organization’s official advocacy priorities
  • Educational resources created by your nonprofit or other organizations that explain the history and current state of your advocacy issue
  • Links to community resources
  • Links to other reputable sources like official legislation and government agency pages

Create a dedicated advocacy page on your website with these resources and link to them across your site, such as on your about page and blog posts. You’ll be able to advance your advocacy mission much more effectively with the support of empowered, informed community advocates in your corner. Plus, you can build your organization’s reputation as a thought leader within your advocacy area. 

2. Offer immediate ways to take action.

After using your website to read up on the history and current events related to your advocacy issue, supporters may feel motivated to do something right away. Your website should offer a variety of ways that they can immediately get involved. 

These activities might include:

  • Signing up for an advocacy event
  • Emailing a key decision-maker
  • Signing a petition
  • Sharing resources on social media with a hashtag

You can highlight these ongoing advocacy activities by creating an advocacy web page that lists a few ways for supporters to take action immediately. You may also include a pop-up message or homepage call-to-action button that directs supporters to a specific activity, such as your online petition page. You can even create an advocacy-focused microsite to fully highlight these opportunities and differentiate your advocacy activities from your organization’s other initiatives. 

These simple, easy steps help ensure your issue stays front-of-mind for community members, elected officials, and other relevant stakeholders. 

3. Highlight upcoming advocacy events.

In addition to the small-scale, ongoing activities that keep community advocacy campaigns afloat, your organization likely also participates in and hosts several more significant advocacy events. 

Events allow community members to share ideas, spread awareness, and make their voices heard. These opportunities might include: 

  • Volunteering at a phone or text banking event
  • Educational seminars or webinars
  • Protests/public demonstrations
  • Rallies
  • Door-to-door or street canvassing campaigns
  • Peer-to-peer events

Spotlight these events on your website’s calendar. Provide a simple registration page for each event so supporters can access the event details and RSVP. Ensure the page only asks necessary questions, such as supporters’ contact information, emergency contact information, and waiver signatures. A straightforward registration page keeps the sign-up process quick and convenient for supporters.

To spread the word even further about your advocacy events, share links to your registration pages within your social media posts and emails. Incentivize supporters to sign up by offering additional benefits, such as free merchandise. 

4. Create advocacy-focused blog content.

You probably already use your website’s blog to tell your nonprofit’s story and share updates on your programs and projects. Increase your nonprofit’s authority within your advocacy issue area and provide valuable educational materials by using your blog to create and promote advocacy-focused content. 

Write blog posts and share content such as:  

  • Informative news stories
  • Inspiring stories relating to your advocacy issue
  • Recent wins your organization has achieved to advance your advocacy mission
  • Interviews with community advocates and those directly impacted by the issue

Make your blog posts more engaging by incorporating multimedia elements. Use compelling photos from previous events, like volunteer opportunities or rallies. Include short video interviews or audio clips of your advocates and community members sharing their stories and experiences. 

Ensure your posts only link to reputable sources, such as major news organizations or academic institutions. Plus, when quoting statistics, you should only link primary sources. Getting the facts right establishes credibility and distinguishes your blog as a trustworthy source. 

5. Start a membership program.

You can foster monetary support for your advocacy efforts by creating a membership program specifically to support your advocacy campaigns. According to Double the Donation’s guide to nonprofit membership programs, these programs involve offering additional engagement opportunities and other benefits to supporters in exchange for ongoing membership fees.

Your advocacy-minded supporters will appreciate having the opportunity to contribute their donations directly to your advocacy efforts. Plus, in exchange, they can look forward to a variety of advocacy-specific content and opportunities.

Make your membership program a success by following these best practices: 

  • Offer membership benefits. These benefits might include access to members-only publications, member events like meet-and-greets or dinners, and VIP event access. 
  • Create membership tiers for members. Offering multiple membership tiers lets supporters pick the fee structure that works best for them. Offer the greatest benefits to your top-tier members to incentivize supporters to sign up for this tier. 
  • Brand and name your membership program. Give your membership program a unique name and brand. For instance, if your organization fights for legislative action on climate change, you might call your members “Climate Defenders.” You can even offer members exclusive t-shirts and other merchandise with your program’s name and logo. 

Robust content management systems like Drupal and WordPress provide tools that allow you to create an online membership program and offer exclusive members-only features, like gated content or online forums. You can also allow members to create profiles within your membership portal to track their donation history, change their payment information, or adjust their contribution amount. These features save your staff time since they won’t have to change this information for members. 

6. Prioritize transparency. 

As an organization that prides itself on being a dedicated community advocate, you have to put your money where your mouth is. Promoting transparency will allow you to build and maintain your reputation as an upstanding, trustworthy force for good in the community. 

Maintain transparency regarding your organization’s funding sources, corporate partnerships, and more. Kanopi’s roundup of the best nonprofit websites includes several examples of sites that excel at providing transparency in these areas for visitors and supporters. 

One example is the website for CARE, an international humanitarian organization focused on fighting poverty and global hunger. The CARE website includes a fixed footer explaining that 90% of the organization’s funding goes directly to its programs. A link takes visitors to their financial reports page, where interested supporters can view independent reviews of the organization’s finances, recent annual reports, and other financial statements. 

Being honest about your organization’s funding, partnerships, and more will show your audience that you genuinely care about the issue and are actively working to make a difference. Don’t let your nonprofit risk its high-standing reputation; make transparency a top priority. 

Engaging your nonprofit’s supporters in online advocacy opportunities can help you make significant strides toward achieving your advocacy goals. You can also establish your website as a powerful community resource that offers multiple ways for community members to show their support for the cause.

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