Online user experience (UX) may not be the first consideration that comes to mind when developing your volunteer management strategy, but it’s a crucial piece of the volunteer experience puzzle. In fact, 88% of consumers are less likely to return to a website after a poor user experience.

To avoid volunteer retention risks and ensure a streamlined experience for volunteers, we’ve compiled five tips to help improve your web page's UX: 

  1. Simplify your volunteer forms. 
  2. Ensure the page is accessible. 
  3. Make your web page easy to find. 
  4. Promote volunteer retention. 
  5. Provide simple ways to engage with additional opportunities. 

Your volunteer web page is a critical conversion opportunity to turn website visitors into true supporters of your mission. With a positive UX, you can streamline the volunteer journey and encourage greater recruitment and retention. 

1. Simplify Volunteer Forms

The forms on your volunteer web page help visitors get more involved with your program, so they should be easy to find and use. Optimize the following forms to provide a better user experience: 

  • Volunteer registration form. Your registration form helps recruit new volunteers by offering a convenient place to register for your program and sign up for opportunities. Simplify this form by only including necessary information, such as volunteers’ names, availability, contact information, and relevant skills. 
  • Waivers. Waivers are commonly needed for all types of volunteer opportunities, including healthcare activities, work involving animals, and construction projects. Consult a lawyer to ensure any online waivers comply with state and federal regulations and protect your organization from liability. 
  • Feedback surveys. Gathering feedback from volunteers is an effective way to show your appreciation and make positive adjustments to your program. Ensure any feedback surveys on your volunteer web page include just a few questions relevant to your top priorities. Ask volunteers to provide input on their experience and allow them to make suggestions to improve volunteer events. 

Make your forms mobile-friendly so volunteers can easily complete them on any device. They should have large, easily touchable buttons, minimal fields, and a single-column format. 

Also, leverage your volunteer management system to transport information automatically from your forms into your volunteer database. This allows you to track volunteer information, such as their names, preferences, and contact information, and use that data to personalize your marketing outreach.  

2. Ensure Accessibility

Online accessibility is vital because about 1 in 6 people worldwide has a disability, and 75% of people with disabilities use the internet daily. Plus, accessibility is a legal requirement—nonprofits, universities, and healthcare organizations must have accessible websites, or they risk legal repercussions. 

Make your volunteer web page as accessible as possible by keeping the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) in mind as you design the page. Here are some examples of WCAG guidelines to follow:

  • Audio and video content must have live captions.
  • The text must have a contrast ratio of 4.5:1 (or 3:1 for large-scale text).
  • The website should be functional and operable via keyboard navigation.
  • Videos must have stop or pause functionality.
  • The user interface should have predictable and consistent navigation.

It’s important to consider accessibility from the beginning of the web design process. It’s much harder to add accessible elements retroactively, and it can cost your organization time and money to do so. 

For example, if your website runs on WordPress, Kanopi recommends using a custom-built theme rather than a pre-built option because pre-made themes can lack accessibility. To build a custom theme, work with a professional developer who is well-versed in WCAG guidelines and can create a website that meets accessibility standards and suits your organization’s unique needs. 

3. Make Web Page Easy to Find

Picture this: You come across a new nonprofit in your community via a local newspaper article. Their mission resonates with your values, so you try to look them up online to learn about their volunteer opportunities. However, you can’t find any clear way to sign up for their events, their social media pages are sparse, and their website doesn’t have clear links or buttons leading to the volunteer information page. 

As this example demonstrates, an essential aspect of the user experience is ensuring your volunteer web page is easy to find for anyone looking to get involved with your program. Make finding and navigating to your volunteer web page a breeze using elements like: 

  • Your website menu. Spotlight your volunteer program page prominently in your top-level menu and the navigation bar in the footer of your website. 
  • Social media posts. Share links to your volunteer web page using platforms like Facebook and Instagram. 
  • Email newsletters. Promote your volunteer web page in your recurring email newsletters and include links for easy access. Spotlight new opportunities available on your volunteer calendar and open shifts that need to be filled. 
  • Google Ads. Use Google Ads to capture search engine traffic and bring greater visibility to your volunteer web page. With the Google Ad Grants program, eligible nonprofits can access $10,000 per month in Google Ad spending, making this a low-cost way to promote high-value pages like your volunteer information page. 

Use tools like Google Analytics to assess your most popular traffic sources and other website metrics, like your conversions, bounce rate, or time spent on your volunteer page. This data can help you understand how supporters are finding your volunteer web page and whether they’re using it to complete their intended actions successfully. 

4. Promote Volunteer Retention

In addition to recruiting new volunteers, your volunteer web page should be a tool to retain current supporters. By providing a positive, volunteer-focused user experience, you can demonstrate to volunteers the central role they play in your organization’s success. 

Foster positive volunteer relationships by taking the following steps to promote retention: 

  • Share photos and videos from volunteer events. Make your videos and photo slideshows easily shareable so volunteers can share images of themselves on social media. Post new videos or slideshows after each volunteer event to give volunteers the chance to see themselves in action.  
  • Spotlight volunteer appreciation messages. Share thank-you messages from staff members, volunteer leaders, and beneficiaries. These messages can be sent via videos, embedded social media posts, or blog posts. 
  • Make your volunteer calendar easy to use and navigate. Create a simple process for allowing volunteers to explore and sign up for new opportunities. Offer an updated volunteer calendar on your web page where volunteers can view upcoming opportunities and register for events that match their skills, interests, and availability. Allow volunteers to sync events to their personal calendars so they don’t miss a shift. 

Volunteers will be much more likely to continue engaging with your organization when they feel appreciated for their contributions and that it’s easy to sign up for new opportunities. 

5. Provide Additional Opportunities

Volunteers who want to take their support to the next level may be looking for additional opportunities to engage with your organization. For example, according to the Global Trends in Giving Report, 85% of volunteers also donate to the organizations they’re involved with. 

Provide clear ways for volunteers to increase their involvement by incorporating calls to action (CTAs) and links to additional opportunities, such as: 

  • Donating. Incorporate links to your mobile-friendly online donation page for volunteers to contribute. Give volunteers more flexibility by allowing them to donate directly to your volunteer program, and make sure to highlight this opportunity on your volunteer page.
  • Volunteer grants. NXUnite defines volunteer grants as “a type of corporate philanthropy in which companies make monetary contributions to nonprofits where their employees regularly volunteer.” Share reminders for volunteers to check their grant eligibility and explain the importance of donations for your organization’s mission. 
  • Corporate volunteer opportunities. Some volunteers may work for companies that encourage employee group volunteerism. Provide information about your corporate volunteer event opportunities, such as the types of projects corporate volunteers help with and how to sign up with their team. 
  • Peer-to-peer fundraising. In peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns, volunteer fundraisers create personal donation pages and set campaign goals. Offer CTAs and links to your peer-to-peer fundraising information pages and start-up kit. 

When volunteers engage with multiple activities at your nonprofit, they’ll form stronger bonds with your staff, beneficiaries, and fellow volunteers. This can help increase volunteer retention and provide a more fulfilling volunteer experience.

These tips will help you get started with improving your user experience for your volunteer web page, but every organization is unique. Working with a web design professional can help your nonprofit access personalized insights into how to engage your distinct audience. For example, a web consultant can assess your analytics and survey your users to understand their preferences on a deeper level.

Whether working with a web designer or on your own, these strategies will help keep user considerations at the forefront of your web development approach and bring greater visibility to your volunteer web page. 

Adam Weinger Best Volunteer Management Apps
About the Author:
Anne Stefanyk from Kanopi

As Founder and CEO of Kanopi Studios, Anne helps create clarity around project needs, and turns client conversations into actionable outcomes. She enjoys helping clients identify their problems, and then empowering the Kanopi team to execute great solutions.

Anne is an advocate for open source and co-organizes the Bay Area Drupal Camp. When she’s not contributing to the community or running her thoughtful web agency, she enjoys yoga, meditation, treehouses, dharma, cycling, paddle boarding, kayaking, and hanging with her nephew.

Related Blog Posts