Back to all posts
Web Development
No items found.

Building a Case for a Website Refresh

Your nonprofit website hasn’t been updated since Obama was in office, and the outdated design and clunky back-end are showing their age. You know it’s time for a refresh – so how do you convince your team?
An image of shapes and charts to represent an annual report

A website is the digital headquarters for your organization, providing a central spot for donors, program participants, volunteers and staff to learn about and support your mission. That’s why a great site is one of the most impactful uses of marketing dollars, often paying for itself through higher conversions (think online donations and program fees) and less staff time spent on maintenance.

Still, websites aren’t cheap. A professionally designed site can run into the 5- or even 6-figure territory, which means your leadership and board will likely be scrutinizing the expense. If you need a more compelling way to persuade them to update the site than “I’m embarrassed of it,” these steps can help you make your case.

1. Get your goals in order.

What are the main reasons behind your desire to update? How would a new site better support your nonprofit’s goals? It might be time for a refresh if:

  • The website was created early in your organization’s history and hasn’t evolved with your mission or offerings.
  • The site isn’t attracting enough people or the right audiences.
  • It’s hard for users to find what they need or take action, like reading your blog or signing up for a program.
  • You’ve grown quickly and the site is no longer telling the right story about your organization.
  • It’s hard and time-consuming for your internal team to make updates and manage the site.

The clearer you can make the connection between the site update and your nonprofit’s key priorities (i.e., attracting new funders, preparing for a national expansion), the stronger your case will be.

2. Present the opportunity.

Once you’ve identified the gaps in your current site experience, get your team excited about what the site could be. Since most people are visual learners, curating a few examples of well-designed sites across your industry is a great way to demonstrate the possibilities. Some areas to consider:

  • Overall branding: Does the site’s look and feel represent who they are in a way that feels inviting?
  • Content strategy: Does the story draw you in and keep you wanting to learn more about who they are?
  • Design and user experience: Is the site visually appealing, easy to navigate and responsive across devices?
  • Conversion points: Does the donation or program page make it simple and compelling to take action?

3. Survey your stakeholders.

For valuable perspective, go straight to the source: your users. Talk with funders, program partners and staff about the biggest needs and opportunities for your site. Is the navigation confusing? Does it take an hour to publish a blog post? That kind of feedback can help you reinforce your points to the budget owners, while also helping to clarify your vision and priorities.

4. Round up the stats.

It’s hard to argue with data. Use a site checker tool to find errors and review Google Analytics to see how your site is performing. You’ll likely want to look at:

  • Total traffic and traffic by source
  • Page views
  • Page load speeds
  • Session duration
  • Bounce rates
  • Website action goals, like online donations or email signups

To see how your site stacks up with industry benchmarks, check out M+R’s awesome 2022 benchmarks study, which offers a deep dive into how nonprofit sites are performing on the metrics above. (Fun fact: Users who donated online via desktop gave 63% more than those who donated via mobile!).

One other data point that often gets overlooked? The amount of staff time a new website can save through simplified management. If your site has an older-generation content management system (CMS) or lacks a CMS entirely, your marketing team is likely wasting time each week to manage the simplest web tasks. Implementing a modern visual builder and automating processes through tool integrations like donor management platforms or email service providers can save countless hours of staff time, which means the site can pay for itself well before it’s time for a new one.

5. Set expectations.

A good creative consultant can help you create a plan for your refresh and frame the options intelligently to executive and board leaders. Aligning upfront on costs, timing and what’s included is essential to head off potential miscommunication during the project itself.

At Statement, we hold a discovery call to understand your site challenges and priorities, and then create a basic budget and timeline along with relevant case studies to help you and your team visualize the potential solutions. That process can help nonprofit leaders accelerate decision-making by anchoring conversations in real dollars and months, creating a picture of what is possible. Take a closer look at an example here.

Need help building a case for your own refresh? Statement would love to strategize with you! Book a free discovery call here.

Discover your next breakthrough.