7 Tips for Writing Stellar Nonprofit Website Copy (without Delay)

Nonprofit Website Copy

Writing great website copy is downright hard to do.  It takes a shocking amount of time and is often riddled with frustrating roadblocks.  In fact, when one of our web projects is delayed, it’s almost always because content creation is taking one of our clients far longer than expected.

That’s totally understandable given the complexity (and the importance) of creating strong web copy.  After all, your site’s content is going to form the basis for most of the judgments your visitors develop.

So how can you ensure your content is strong without facing delays?  Follow these tips.

1. Start Writing Right Away

Give yourself way more time than you think you’ll need.  Writing enough copy to fill a website will undoubtedly involve a good deal of frustration.  You’ll hit periods where you just can’t find the right words.

By starting early, you’ll have time to walk away for a bit and come back fresh the next day.

2. Write First, Polish Second

Don’t worry too much about finding those perfect words the first time through.  Instead, focus on getting your thoughts down.  After you have the basics written out, you’ll have time for polishing your wording and clarifying anything that’s unclear.

3.  Write How You Speak

You don’t have a whole lot of time to engage your website visitors.  Write in a conversational tone to help form a connection right away.

Your content should be a reflection of yourself.  Don’t be afraid to let your voice come through.

4. Avoid Jargon

Typically you’ll want to avoid jargon in your website copy.  Most visitors don’t research to find the meaning of words they don’t understand.  They leave.

Strip out the insider lingo.  Doing so will help you appeal to those less familiar with your organization or your cause.

5. Don’t Just Copy Your Current Website’s Content

If you’re undertaking the building of a new website, it’s fine to use some of your old website’s copy.  But don’t simply copy and paste from the old to the new.

Rethink your wording.  Craft your story in a slightly different way.  Update key data and any information that may be outdated.

This is your chance to make improvements; your shot to ensure you’re getting the most out of your website.  True, it’s faster and easier to copy and paste.  But a bit of extra time now can make a world of difference down the road.

6.  Be as Concrete as Possible

Try to give concrete examples whenever possible.

Anyone can say they’re good at anything online.  Think about how you can stand out and prove that you know what you’re talking about.  Giving examples can help prove to a visitor that you understand what they’re looking for.  Give data.  Provide case studies.  Share testimonials.

The more specifics you can provide, the more likely it is you’ll earn the trust of your visitors.

7. Gather Images Early

Gathering images can take a ton of time and is often done very late in the content creation process.  Instead, start pulling them together as early as you can.

You don’t have to make any final selections at this stage.  But get your options together.  It’ll come in handy later in the process.

Have you created the content for your nonprofit’s website?  How did it go?  Do you have any tips to add?  I’d love to hear them in the comments below.

Related Reads

The Beginner’s Guide to Nonprofit Website Content

3 Ways to Build Trust through Website Copy

6 Nonprofit-Specific Web Content Tips

Using Nonprofit Data to Improve Your Storytelling

With Website Content, Professional Doesn’t Mean Impersonal

8 Tips For Writing Great Nonprofit Website Content

Image courtesy of Karin Dalziel

David Hartstein spends most of his time helping nonprofits tell compelling stories that engage their community and drive action. He used to teach elementary school and often walks around barefoot. You can catch up with David on Twitter at @davharts.

7 Comments on “7 Tips for Writing Stellar Nonprofit Website Copy (without Delay)

  1. 1 Phillip Barrera August 6, 2015

    Enjoyed reading this. Thanks very much. Though I’m a graphic designer I enjoy writing copy too (almost every chance I get). I’m at the front end of a huge project – branding and website for the non-profit I work at. Your tips are most helpful. Take care.

    1. 2 David Hartstein August 6, 2015

      Thanks so much for the comment Phillip. We’re glad to hear the tips are helpful. Good luck with the project!

  2. 3 Phillip Barrera August 6, 2015

    You’re welcome. BTW, two thumbs up, way up on your bio. Loved the copy.

  3. 4 Sefora April 22, 2017

    Hello,
    I’m new to writing website content. Any resources you could direct me to that provide a bit more instruction on how to properly ask questions/interview founders of non-profits to elicit as much material as possible, so that I then have something to work with as I try and develop content?

    Thanks for your time!

    1. 5 Christine Soucy April 25, 2017

      Hi, Sefora. You’ve come to the right place! In general, you’ll want to ask questions that give you a better idea of their goals, what’s important to them, how they help and who they want to reach. Don’t be afraid to get specific, ask follow-up questions and push for more information if you need to. The Web Content category of our blog is a great resource for writing nonprofit web content. I’d start with this post that highlights great questions to ask a nonprofit before you dive into content writing. Good luck!

  4. 6 Penelope Smith September 4, 2018

    This is some really good information about nonprofit companies. It is good to that you should polish up the content before you put them online. That does seem like a good thing to be aware of when you need to have a good website.

    1. 7 David Hartstein September 6, 2018

      Glad you found the post helpful Penelope!

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