Whether you’re a small, local nonprofit or a nationally recognized brand, it’s critical to build trust among those who visit your website. Your online traffic may come from a Google search, a Facebook ad, a YouTube video or a partner link. Given that this may be the very first encounter they have with your organization, it’s critical to instill trust in your online audience. Here are a few simple things you can do on your website to instill confidence in those who may be unfamiliar with your organization and/or your cause.

1. Use real photos.
We’ve mentioned this in previous posts, but it’s worth repeating. Oftentimes, people want to see the real people who work for and with your organization. They want to see actual events you’ve participated in, actual staff members, and in cases where appropriate, they want to see the faces of the people you’ve helped. When site visitors can picture themselves among those pictured on your website, they may be more apt to get involved. While stock images may be a little easier to attain, they won’t inspire the level of confidence that comes from seeing real people engaging in worthwhile causes.

2. Put your online donors at ease.
With the sheer number of security breeches we’ve heard about over the past few years, people may be more apprehensive than ever about entering their credit card data in an online form, especially if they’re unfamiliar with your organization. Make sure your donation form is PCI compliant, and you’re handling credit card info according to the highest security standards. Also, be sure to include any pertinent security badges that will show donors you’re serious about protecting their identities.

3. Be transparent about how funding is used.
Offer real-time data about the work you’ve done, the people you’ve helped, and the projects you’ve been a part of. Consider using an infographic to display the breakdown of your funding so users can see how their donations are being used. Your transparency with funding will go a long way to ensure potential donors that their money will be used responsibly.

4. Consider blogging to build trust.
If you have the resources to keep up with a blog, invest your energy in sharing helpful information and organizational updates online. By publishing a blog, you’ll develop an online voice, which will help people identify with who you are and what you’re doing. By publishing regular updates about recent events or projects, you’ll give your readers a feel for what you’re doing on a day to day basis, and they’ll get a better understanding of how their money or time would be spent if they chose to donate or volunteer.

5. Be clear about your mission.
You may think that your mission statement belongs only on the “About Us” page of your site. In actuality, your mission should be woven throughout all pages of your site. Whether your viewers are reading an article on your blog, a notice about an upcoming service project, or a synopsis of a fundraising event, they should be able to clearly identify your mission. This doesn’t mean every page of your site needs a word-for-word mission statement for your organization, but it does mean that your mission should be at the core of all of your online communications.