How your charity website can boost unrestricted funds

Harley Southwick

Harley joined SR as an intern in 2015 during his final year studying Visual Communication. Starting as a multidisciplinary designer, he pursued his passion for digital design. Now as UX Lead, he combines analytical thinking, creativity and empathy to create experiences that exceed user expectations and organisational goals.

Harley Southwick, User Experience Lead


Unrestricted funds are a holy grail for charities. They empower organisations with the freedom to focus on the areas of most need and highest impact. Unlike restricted funds, unrestricted come without the reporting, conditions and outcome obligations that might be tied with funders. They can also help charities make long-term plans for the future and sustain vital projects for years to come.

But, securing (and sustaining) unrestricted funds can be a challenge. In this blog, we’ll look at all the ways your charity’s website can boost unrestricted donations. Think of this as a must-have checklist and see how many you can tick off.

Our checklist to boost unrestricted funds

1. Showcase your mission and impact

Tell the world about your mission and the positive impact your work has. This is what will inspire people to support you and engage with your cause. Illustrate your message with compelling visuals and evoke empathy through emotive and authentic storytelling. Your work is invaluable, don’t be afraid to say it.


2. Make it easy to donate

If people are connecting with your work and feel inspired to support you, you want to make the process of doing so as easy as possible. Any sticking points or frustrations on your website can force people to click away and take their generosity elsewhere, so optimising the donation process is key!

By prioritising clean, intuitive and responsive design that is easy to navigate, your site can cater to all devices and users. A smooth donor journey that’s simple and straightforward will create a positive experience for your supporters and help your organisation secure more valuable donations. Adding a sticky donate button with contrasting visuals will also give a prominent and consistent call-to-action on every page, so users never miss an opportunity to support.


3. Be transparent

Never underestimate the power of transparency. A charity website that shares information on how donations are used builds trust and legitimacy and gives your supporters the confidence that their donation will be used in the most impactful way. Use your site to shout about success stories and pivotal milestones reached thanks to the help of your supporters. Give users real-time updates or periodical impact metrics that show the progress of your work and the value of the support you receive. Their donation is what makes your incredible work happen, so tell them!

To go one step further, feature testimonials from existing donors, supporters and beneficiaries to leverage social proof and give a stronger, more united voice in support of your work.


4. Create more ways to donate

When it comes to securing unrestricted funds through your website, we need to throw away the idea of a ‘one size fits all’ approach. In today’s digital world, we need to be as inclusive as possible and create options that work for a variety of user needs. Simply diversifying payment options on your charity’s website is a really effective way of generating more unrestricted donations by allowing people to pay with their preferred method. As the last step in securing a donation, you don’t want people turning away from your site when you’ve done all the hard work of getting them there. You also want to make sure your payment process is secure, trustworthy and integrates seamlessly into your site and CRM system.

5. Focus on retention

Generating unrestricted funds isn’t a one-step process. Focusing on retention is what’s going to help your charity make longer term plans and provide a sustainable stream of income to continue your work. Include an option to make recurring donations on your website and let supporters know the benefits of giving regularly. Share information on the value of different donation levels and how their support translates into real and tangible outcomes.


6. Find new ways to engage

Your charity’s website offers so many possibilities to connect with supporters. As a key communication channel, keeping it fresh and up to date will renew interest and keep supporters engaged with your work and their contribution to it. Share blog posts with exciting updates on your activities and achievements, create captivating videos showing your work and projects in action, and refresh your homepage with your charity’s latest campaigns to support fundraising efforts.

For supporters who want more regular updates, feature a newsletter subscription option on your website and plan regular email campaigns to send more exclusive content that continues to inspire.


7. Always say thank you

Thanking your donors is the cornerstone of great stewardship. It shows your supporters they are valued and that you appreciate their generosity. Creating a personalised thank you page on your website once a donation has been made is the perfect opportunity to share a genuine and heartfelt thanks. Detail the thank you with information on how their support will make a difference and encourage social shares to reach more people. A thank you can go a long way and set the foundation for a lasting relationship.


8. Keep it accessible

One of the most important points in ensuring your charity website is primed for success is keeping it accessible. This enables all supporters to use your website with ease, meaning donations can be made by users of all abilities. Accessibility can often be overlooked, but ensuring your website is inclusive and user-friendly, puts your charity in a strong position to engage with a wide demographic of potential donors ready to support your work!

Are you ready to amplify your purpose?

If your organisation is looking to enhance its website and grow unrestricted funds, get in touch with us today and we’d love to help you achieve this.