Igniting grassroots activism and cultivating a strong volunteer base is the backbone of political campaigns at every level. However, many find the idea of picking up the phone and calling a stranger to ask for support to be downright terrifying. Effective, passionate volunteers do not miraculously appear; rather, they’re a product of campaigns that have inspired and empowered them. In today's digital age, part of the roadmap for a successful and robust volunteer program is having a website that is functional, engaging and easy to use.
Why is a Website Important?
Building a website is crucial to any campaign, big or small. It may be the first impression a voter receives of a candidate, making it important to thoroughly address supporters’ varied interests, allowing them to feel heard and understood. Furthermore, it’s essential that a website works well on both desktop and mobile devices. The steps below will provide you with multiple actions you can take to optimize your website to best attract new volunteers and maintain existing ones.
1. Choose colors carefully
The color choices used with both the text and images on a website greatly affect its message and tone. While it might seem natural to stick only with the campaign’s signature color, it’s a good idea to branch out with accent colors as well. Consider a user’s experience once they’ve clicked upon your site, and try not to overuse any single color. Instead, make sure that you’re using a variety of colors that contrast and complement one another well. For text on your pages, make sure there is enough contrast between the font and the background to be easy and accessible to read.
Tip: The "donate" or "sign-up now" button should be a different color from the rest of your site. Greater contrast is needed with such links so that users can easily find what they’re looking for.
2. Build easy-to-use forms
Don’t lose a potential donor or volunteer because a sign-up form is too lengthy or complicated. Instead, make it simple for the user to quickly sign-up to maximize conversions. NGP VAN's FastAction network allows activists and donors to store their contact information and payment preferences across the entire NGP VAN network for one-click action taking, making signing up to volunteer for your campaign a breeze.
3. Make sure it's mobile-optimized
When taking a second glance at your website, make sure that all forms are viewable on mobile devices as well as desktop computers. Taking this extra measure ensures that visitors will have an optimal experience regardless of the device. Additionally, having a site that is optimized for mobile devices often results in visitors spending a greater length of time on your site, meaning they’ll become more likely to join your email list, donate or sign up to volunteer. Creating a mobile-optimized form doesn't have to be a daunting task, in fact, with NGP VAN's Online Action tools, forms are automatically mobile-optimized without any extra effort from you.
Tip: Test and proof your site on both desktop and a variety of mobile devices to ensure that the experience is the same across all of them.
4. Give a Clear Call to Action.
Be careful not to overwhelm a visitor with too many links to click or too many pop-ups - all of this might create too much noise and be distracting rather than helpful. Instead, focus on highlighting a clear call to action for volunteer supporters. Are there upcoming events that they can participate in? Volunteer trainings coming up that they should know about? Gather all of these important activities in one place to cut through the visual jumble.
Once you've successfully optimized your digital presence to recruit volunteers, make sure you keep them coming back for more shifts!