In our last post on giving and registration form accessibility, we talked about how to make your web forms understandable.
To recap, there are four guiding principles to make all your web content — forms included — accessible to everyone who wants to give to your institution online:
In this post — the last in our series covering each of the POUR principles in-depth — we’re talking about making sure your web forms are “robust.”
Robust Fundraising Content
Your web content is “robust” when it remains accessible regardless of the technology used to access it.
One of the best ways to meet this principle is to make sure you follow the standards and specifications of the technology you’re using to create your content. “Clean code” is more easily consumed across different platforms and devices than unconventional code.
Robust content also means that it’s still accessible as technologies evolve. By making sure that your content complies with relevant standards, you increase the chances that future tools and platforms will be able to interpret it.
Web accessibility encompasses a wide array of elements, and as we delve deeper into its importance, we can't forget the fundraising aspect. Fundraising campaigns, especially annual campaigns and capital campaigns, are critical for organizations seeking to generate funds to support their missions.
When creating fundraising pages, it's essential to ensure that they adhere to web accessibility guidelines. Doing so allows you to tap into a broader target audience, including individuals with disabilities who are interested in supporting your cause.
The Benefits of Accessibility in Fundraising
A well-structured web accessibility strategy is like a marketing strategy for your fundraising efforts. It not only encourages more donors to participate but also promotes inclusivity within your donor community. Here are some key advantages:
Web accessibility ensures that your content is accessible to all, allowing you to reach a wider audience.
When your fundraising pages are accessible, you encourage more individuals to donate, knowing that their contributions support an organization that values inclusivity.
Accessible content makes the donation process more straightforward, improving donor satisfaction and loyalty.
Better Search Engine Ranking
Search engines favor accessible websites, potentially improving your organization's online visibility.
Creating Accessible Fundraising Pages
Fundraising campaigns often involve various events and alumni gatherings, both online and in person. To make your content accessible, follow these guidelines:
Make Sure Your Code Is Clean
User agents, including browsers and assistive technologies, must be able to analyze your content to interpret it properly. In markup languages, such as HTML, errors can result in user agents failing to analyze the content correctly (or not being able to analyze it at all).
For content that uses markup languages, that means:
Each element must have complete start and end tags
Elements must be nested according to their specifications
Elements can’t contain duplicate attributes
IDs must be unique (unless the specifications allow otherwise)
Some user agents have built-in “repair techniques” to interpret improperly coded content, but it’s no guarantee that your content will be analyzed and presented as you intended. One browser might recover from errors in your page, but another program (like a screen reader) might crash. Structure and syntax in many markup languages (like HTML) are extremely important for ensuring the content is rendered correctly.
An easy way to check that your web content is well-formed is to use a validation tool, like the W3C Markup Validation Service. The tool can check for problems like incomplete start and end tags, duplicate IDs, and more.
Your fundraising pages should have clean and error-free code. This ensures that user agents, including assistive technologies, can interpret the content accurately.
Expose Information Clearly
Use established conventions to identify the roles and states of your fundraising page components, so they can be recognized and interpreted by accessibility APIs. This helps assistive technologies provide a functional alternative for users.
Future-Proof Your Content
By adhering to accessibility standards and conventions, you ensure that your fundraising content remains accessible as technologies evolve.
Consider Your Color Palette
When designing your fundraising pages, pay attention to color choices to ensure they are accessible to individuals with visual impairments.
Web Accessibility in Alumni Events
Alumni events are an integral part of an organization's fundraising strategy. These gatherings provide an opportunity for former students and friends to come together, contribute to the organization's mission, and catch up with fellow alumni.
Incorporating web accessibility into alumni events, whether they are virtual or in-person, is essential to create an inclusive environment. Provide information about the event, registration, and any necessary forms in accessible formats. Additionally, consider providing support and resources to attendees with disabilities, ensuring they can fully participate in the event.
Explore Additional Resources
To get a more in-depth look at web accessibility and its benefits, explore additional resources. There are many nonprofits and organizations, especially in New York, that offer guidance and support for developing accessible websites and content. Seek out examples of successful fundraising campaigns from businesses and organizations that have embraced accessibility as part of their marketing strategy.
Web accessibility is a vital component of any organization's fundraising efforts and alumni events. By creating accessible fundraising pages and providing inclusive experiences at alumni events, you can achieve success while upholding your organization's mission. Remember, web accessibility is about people, and making it a part of your strategy ensures that everyone can contribute and benefit from your campaigns and events.
So, let's make web accessibility an integral part of our fundraising strategy, right from the beginning, and watch as your fundraising campaigns thrive, all while ensuring a more inclusive and accessible community. Don't forget to check your web page's accessibility using free online evaluation tools to determine if it's the right fit for everyone.
If you’re not sure whether your webpage is up to snuff, check out this free online evaluation tool to find out.