10 Ways to Optimize Your CDFI Nonprofit Website for the Greater Good

By MVP Marketing + Design | October 19, 2023

Public stewardship is at the heart of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) as it is for other nonprofits serving the greater good. As CDFIs play a crucial role in the communities they serve and through the services they provide, this article will explore the website design and functionality improvements to optimize outreach as well as tools you can use to strengthen your nonprofit brand as you grow. Based on MVP’s experience in creating brands and websites for such CDFIs as CRF USA, which has invested over $3.6B in 9,600 small businesses over the last 35 years thereby creating or retaining over 156,000 jobs and First Children’s Finance, a national nonprofit organization that provides loans and business development assistance to child care businesses serving low- and moderate-income families, we’ll share valuable website design and development insights that should benefit your next website refresh.

It’s important that every investment you make in your digital marketing efforts positively impacts your stakeholders and earns valuable public attention. If you are a CDFI or other nonprofit, here are 10 steps you can take to boost the image and impact of your online presence.

1. Introduce yourself with video.

There might be no better way to state your cause than through the words of those individuals most uplifted by your mission. Visual storytelling is an increasingly popular way to gain community interest. Consider professional videography, including testimonials from the entrepreneurs you’ve helped, as a great way to spread the word of your organization impactfully.  To learn more about MVP’s video capabilities for corporations and nonprofits alike, please visit our video landing page to learn more.

2. Get found by the right people with the latest developments in search engine optimization (SEO).

Search engine algorithms, such as those used by Google and Bing, are constantly evolving to minimize spam and adapt to user behavior. These changes make it challenging for CDFIs and other nonprofits to maintain their visibility or even be found through casual searches. Following SEO best practices and monthly campaigns can help. However, be aware that not all SEO campaigns result in highly targeted traffic. An experienced agency can use a combination of the latest advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), content marketing, and human insights to ensure your organic traffic increases align with your mission and goals.

3. Boost engagement when you “talk” to visitors on your website.

AI-powered chatbots can interact with site visitors and answer questions to free you up to focus on your efforts in the community. This might be the first “person” your audience interacts with. Give some care to the presentation of this type of assistant.

4. Make your site accessible to everyone with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 compliance.

If your website isn’t WCAG 2.1 compliant, it should be. Adhering to these guidelines on your website, which include passing a color contrast test, can help you appeal to a larger audience. Practice inclusivity by accommodating visitors with auditory, visual, and other disabilities.

5. Better serve your stakeholders with a secure portal.

It’s a good idea to have a password protected portal on your site with important documents for key stakeholders. Establishing a grant portal is another way to help further your mission while potentially freeing up more of your resources. Although a professional services example, MVP’s site for the US Law Firm group, an association of 19 prominent US law firms who share ideas and experiences in law firm management, operations and practices is a great example as MVP built their associated member-only law library. We could easily apply this functionality to any CDFI or nonprofit requiring a similar document repository.

6. Uplift your team with portrait photography.

Don’t forget about internal talent appreciation, it could lead to greater levels of external success. Onsite team portrait photography is a beautiful way to boost morale, humanize your brand, and earn trust from your audience. Additionally, consider photography of those in the community that you’ve helped most.

7. Develop engaging content with a free writing assistant through AI.

If you haven’t established a blog section or have trouble generating content for your organization, you may be able to enrich and streamline your writing process with a chatbot like ChatGPT. The natural language processing (NLP) chatbot developed from Open AI can act as a writing assistant to help with everything from brainstorming to social media posts.

8. Bring your site to life with a background header video.

Move beyond static when you add a video montage to your homepage. Entertain, inform, and engage visitors with an edited background header video. Include inexpensive drone footage of your location, businesses you have helped, event recordings, and more.

9. Illustrate your messages and artfully reach your audience.

If you look at a block of content on your site, ask yourself: Could we say it with an infographic? Check out these inspiring examples from MVP’s work on behalf of Achieve3000, an EdTech world leader in differentiated instruction. Even adding customized icons next to bullet points provides visual interest and makes your information more concise, entertaining, and impactful. Print materials could benefit from graphic treatments too. Consider enhancing your marketing communications with the help of an experienced agency, like MVP that has had the benefit of working with divisions of the Fortune 100 to communicate their products and services.

10. See a remarkable transformation when you refresh your identity.

If you are asking yourself if your logo could be better, then the answer is yes. So often, CDFIs and other nonprofits outgrow their identities as their mission expands or as the decades pass. Whether you are looking for a subtle update or completely new creative, refreshing your logo can be the cornerstone of an effective new brand strategy.

We hope you enjoyed the ten tips outlined in this article. Additionally, MVP offers complete website redesign services backed by revenue generating digital marketing services from SEO to PPC advertising, and from Linkedin promotion to content (HubSpot) drip marketing. It’s a great investment that could make a big difference in the difference you make to those who matter most—your supporters. If you are thinking of revamping your site, please download the free Nonprofit/CDFI Website Redesign Checklist to help you prepare.

We invite you to reach out today with any questions you may have and learn how MVP can become your most valuable partner for CDFI and Nonprofit Brand-to-Web support.

Build your brand. Extend your reach. Develop your community.

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