7 Nonprofit Website Strategies from the 2016 Presidential Candidates

Hillary Skeffington October 05, 2015, by Hillary Skeffington

The 2016 Presidential campaign is in full swing as Democratic and Republican primary debates start to pick up and hopefuls launch their campaigns. We always hear about how difficult running a presidential campaign can prove to be. Candidates must develop their campaign which includes building a platform, choosing a slogan, designing a logo, etc. From there it’s all about planning and execution; reaching out to individuals and community members asking for their support, promoting their platform, developing a social media strategy, campaign fundraising, and building a website to generate results.

Sound familiar?

Interestingly enough, presidential campaigns and nonprofits share some noticeable similarities. Fundraising, gathering support, developing a website, building strategies are all part of a mission to promote a cause or platform and generate quantifiable change.

Nonprofits and political candidates alike can remark on the power of technology and how it has driven campaign amounts, support, and awareness to whole new levels. In the last decade, both industries have seen tremendous growth in fundraising revenues due to online donations forms, social media campaigns, online fundraising events, and more.

Gone Digital

President Barack Obama was the first political figure we really saw take to the digital campaign strategy raising $1 billion in his 2012 campaign. The primary driving forces behind raising this record-breaking amount was with small-dollar efforts (donations less than $200) generated online through the campaign website, email outreach, social media efforts, and mobile design. His overall digital strategy contributed approximately $604 million in 2012.

Obama’s campaign strategies aren’t too far fetched from how nonprofit's operate their fundraising and donations efforts. How can your nonprofit yield record-breaking results using the same strategies as President Obama and 2016's Presidential hopefuls without breaking the bank?  Look no further than our comprehensive list of 7 efficient and affordable strategies so your nonprofit can start driving greater results immediately.

1. Social Media Campaign

Social media offers a rare opportunity for your nonprofit to be creative. Producing content on your nonprofit website that is unique, informative, and has the power to gain attention on social media is vital. Choosing a hashtag that communicates your cause, and balances originality and uniqueness can yield major results for your nonprofit.

jeb social media

Republican candidate Jeb Bush’s campaign website capitalizes on the power of social media with the  unique hashtag, #AllInForJeb which is creative, personal, and action-compelling.

2. Personal Call-to-Action

Hillary Clinton has mastered the homepage call-to-action. Not only is the CTA distinct from the rest of page drawing the viewer's eye to it, but it flows logically with the piece of compelling content, “This starts with you”.

hillary clinton call to action

CTAs are important, and your audience is important. If you combine the two, your audience will feel more compelled to donate. Something as simple as what Hillary has published on her site is a great way to spark empathy with potential supporters and donors.

 

3. Excellent User Experience

The most basic element of a great nonprofit website is excellent user-experience. This includes intuitive navigation, a logical flow of content, informative pages void of duplicate content, fast loading times, and more.

Chafee user experience websit

Democratic candidate Lincoln Chafee’s campaign website is both traditional, simple, and most importantly, maximizes a great user-experience. Where he lacks flashy graphics and heavy videos, he makes up for in an efficient site with speedy loading times and excellent navigation.

 

4. Branded Donation Form

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, branded donation pages work. A branded donation page such as Republican party candidate Carly Fiorina’s builds trust, transmits a sense of confidence, and increases the probability that the person accessing her donations’ form will complete the transaction.

Carly branded donations page

While it may seem like an added cost to invest in a branded donations forms, something as simple as maintaining the color scheme, adding an optimized photo, or placing the logo on will drive better results.

 

5. Mobile

Nonprofit websites that transfer functionally and aesthetically from desktop to mobile have yielded major results for organization, an impressive 10% in overall online donations this past year and growing since Google’s mobile updates. Making a site that is mobile is crucial now more than it has ever been, and can be a game changer for your nonprofit. Responsive graphics, easy-to-read font sizes, and CTAs that transfer are just a few of the components mobile-friendly sites embody.

bernie sanders mobile web design

Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the Democratic Party, employs great mobile-friendly design with clear, descriptive CTAs front and center as well as a single-column scroll for easy navigation.

 

6. Email

Consistent, action-compelling emails are a must. This is where you can reach out to your audience on a personal basis, ask them to donate to your cause, or share with something valuable about your nonprofit. Take this chance to build better rapport with your email subscribers and segment emails, personalize them with their first name, and always thank them for supporting your cause.

nonprofit email marketing - Ted Cruz

Republican candidate Ted Cruz uses great email marketing. His emails are personal, in-line with his brand identity, and promote a call to action through his donation form.

 

7. Transparency

Nothing creates a sense of urgency or sparks unity quite like setting a goal, demonstrating how you need to achieve it, and then celebrating that you did. Rand Paul does an excellent job of showcasing just that.

Rand Paul for President

Goal - End of Quarter Push: September 30th.

DesiredAmount - $500K.

Achievement - $504K (currently).

Bonus - Rand even included a “recent donation” sound bite that updates every time someone contributes to his campaign.

Talk about a stellar campaign strategy. This is a great technique you can employ on your nonprofit website to spark excitement around your cause and drive a sense of urgency to your supporters demonstrating why they should donate.

 

Conclusion

It's easy to assume that political candidates only see fundraising success when they connect with big-dollar agencies or donors, and  rightfully so. There are many candidates that rely on big spenders to keep their campaign afloat. However, the world wide web offers a uniquely accessible opportunity for both industries from high-end political campaign, to small-medium sized nonprofits. Developing a nonprofit website, building a social media and content strategy, and optimizing your site with these 7 strategies will ensure that you're making the most of your online presence.

Hillary Skeffington

Hillary Skeffington

Hillary Skeffington is the Communications & Partnership Manager at Elevation. While Hillary started as a volunteer for nonprofits, she has recently dived into the nonprofit web design industry in efforts to provide nonprofits with quality websites so they can drive greater change with their online presence.

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