Nonprofit Marketing: how much is too much fundraising content on your website?

I got asked a great question and I want to share it.

A colleague said they were developing a website and there was tension between fundraising and marketing over fundraising content and program content. The fundraisers wanted every page to have a testimonial and an ask, and the marketing people thought that was too much, considering that some of the content was very focused on the families they serve.

So who is right?

Oh man, if I had a new pair of shoes for every time I heard about tension between fundraising and marketing. I would have a lot of shoes. Oh wait…

Anyway, here’s the the answer.

If you are building your website based on your internal needs, then you are not in the right frame of mind. Your website should be built around the needs of your audiences. The website should be to be inviting, easy to navigate and meet the needs of those you serve, whether they are program participants or funders.

Instead of “I need an ask on every page so that I can raise more money,” think: how can this website serve donors sand potential donors best? Or, “I don’t want to clutter up my program pages with fundraising content,” or, “Those fundraisers are so pushy!” switch to: How can this website help those who are in need of our services?

Putting those you serve first helps everyone align with their purpose. It helps me, too. Sharing what I know and selling my program is easy when I am not “selling” but helping people who need it and adding value to their lives. It relieves our internal and external tension.

Here’s two ways to organize your website to meet the needs of all those you serve.

By audience

This method is helpful if you have several distinct audiences and there is not much overlap between them, meaning the content for each is very different. If the audiences have different needs, organize the content by audience. STUDENTS PARENTS SPONSORS. Allowing users to self-identify then find the information they need quickly and easily is key to them getting value out of your site.

By action

If you have audiences and they have some overlap, then organization by action. LEARN ENROLL VISIT DONATE. Think about what you want people to DO when they get to the site, then organize content by this.

it is tempting to organize your website to reflect how your nonprofit is organized because that’s system you understand. It takes a bit more work to understand the needs of your audiences but that’s who you are building the site for, so it is worth it.

In short, make sure everything you do gives value to those you serve. And that everyone else in your organization is too, When that is your focus, decisions are clear.


If you like what you see and want more from me, go to and schedule a time to talk. I am here to serve, not sell. We will figure it out together and create new vision for what’s possible.

Maryanne Dersch