With all that’s going in the world surrounding the coronavirus, it can be really hard to know who to trust. I used to think the news was a reliable, honest way to obtain information. But the more I am exposed to it, the more I distrust it. It seems to be less factual and more opinionated than ever. Let’s not even talk about sites that rely on user-generated content like Twitter, Instagram or Reddit. 

So who can we really trust these days!!?? 😨

If everyone feels the same, how can your organization build trust with your community? 

Why build trust?

Trust is necessary to inspire website visitors to take action. If a visitor can’t trust your organization, the chances of them donating, signing up to volunteer, or even filling out your contact form drop substantially.

Making your site more credible

The definition of credibility is the quality of being trustworthy or believable.

More than 15 years ago, Standford compiled 10 guidelines for building the credibility of a website. These guidelines were based on three years of research that included over 4,500 people. 

  1. Make it easy to verify the accuracy of the information on your site. 
  2. Show that there’s a real organization behind your site

    Tip: Make financial data easy to find.
    Many visitors will want to see your financials to see how money is being used. 

  3. Highlight the expertise in your organization and in the content and services you provide.

    Tip: Give examples of past success.
    Show them past examples of success your nonprofit has had working towards your mission.

  4. Show that honest and trustworthy people stand behind your site.

    Tip: Include testimonials
    What better way to appear credible than to include testimonials from current and past donors, volunteers or even clients.

  5. Make it easy to contact you.
  6. Design your site so it looks professional (or is appropriate for your purpose).
  7. Make your site easy to use — and useful.

    Use a clean and simple design. If a website is dated or difficult to use, potential volunteers and donors will be much less likely to consider getting involved.

  8. Update your site’s content often (at least show it’s been reviewed recently).

    Provide progress reports regularly. People love hearing about the change they’re making in the world!

  9. Use restraint with any promotional content (e.g., ads, offers).

    Tip: Don’t spam your visitors or donors. People don’t like getting asked for a donation right after they have donated or having a pop-up every time they visit a new page. 

  10. Avoid errors of all types, no matter how small they seem.

Source: The Web Credibility Project: Guidelines — Stanford University