We find our way around websites mostly through the main navigation. The categories you choose are key in guiding visitors to the content they are looking for and the content you want to promote the most.
A comparison of website navigation of the 48 top rated relief charities in the US by the American Institute of Philanthropy at http://www.charitywatch.org/toprated.html#intrelief plus a few select examples (Invisible Children, Charity Water, Compassion, World Vision) resulted in the following findings:
This shows the popularity of main navigation categories on charity websites. 90% of surveyed charity websites have an “About Us” category in their main navigation. This refers to a category type and does not show the exact wording. It also does not include prominent secondary navigation items or links and buttons on the homepage (Most websites have a prominent donate button on the homepage but some don’t have a navigation category for donations).
This graph shows the most common positioning of the respective categories in the navigation. “About Us” in the majority of cases is the first navigation category.
A standard navigation with the most common categories would have the following order:
About Us | Our Work | Where we work| Get involved | Donate | Learn more | News/Media
With varying lengths of navigations the donation category often times is at the end, so another standardized navigation could look like this:
About Us | Our Work | Where we work| Get involved | Learn more | News/Media | Donate
What you will find: Information about the organization itself, its leadership, financial information, staff.
In the majority of cases (59%) this category is named “About Us” or “About OrganizationName”, followed by “Who we are”, used by 26% of surveyed websites.
What you will find: Details about the work the organization does, where it happens, who it is for and the impact it makes.
This category seems to have three standard terms. “Programs” or a variety thereof, such as “Our Programs” or “Projects” is used by 29% of surveyed websites, followed by “What We Do” (27%) and “Our Work” (24%).
Where we work
What you will find: The locations the organization works in.
A category only 27% of surveyed websites have, yet an interesting find from a marketing perspective, since often one of the first questions people ask about your organization is “Where do you work?” There are no variations in the wording.
What you will find: Information on how to support the organization by volunteering, advocating, career opportunities, possibly other donation options etc.
Over a third of websites use “Get Involved” or “Be Involved”, followed by 20% with a variation of “How you can help” (“How to help”, “Help Now”, “You can help”), and a sixth uses “Take Action” or “Act now”.
What you will find: Learn more about the why and how of the work, the issues organizations are facing and access resources about the field in general.
This category seems to be less standardized than the others. There are several examples of organization specific terms being used. Charity Water for example uses “Why Water?” as a category to educate visitors about their work. 23% of surveyed websites have a “Resources” category, 12% use “Publications” and a mere 8% actually use the term “Learn More”.
What you will find: Press releases, the organization in the news, press kits, request a speaker, photos, videos, downloads, stories about he impact of the work.
This is another less standardized category that for some is only about the connection to the press and for others it serves more as a bucket for many things that don’t fit other categories.
24% call it “News” or “in the news”, 15% call it “Press”, followed by “News & Media” (12%), “Media” or “Videos+Media” (12%), and “Newsroom” (12%).
What you will find: A page to make a financial contribution to the organization.
54% of surveyed websites use “Donate” and spin-offs such as “Donate Now”, “Donations” and “Make a donation”. 26% have “Ways to give” including “how to give” or “How to help”.
The following are options for a non-profit website:
1. About Us | What we do | Where we work | Get involved | Resources | News & Media | Donate now
2. About Us | What we do | Get involved | Publications | News & Media | Donate now
3. Who we are | What we do | Take Action | News & Media | Donate now
4. About Us | What we do | Where we work | Get involved | Resources | News & Media | Donate now What do you think are essential navigation categories for non-profits?