As nonprofits look to build digital solutions for their organizations, it’s easy to leave everything in the hands of the agency in charge. However, if any nonprofit website is going to have the right technologies, visually appealing designs, intuitive navigation, and better storytelling in content, we need to be involved in the conceptualization, design, development, and launching process.

website design vocabulary for nonprofits
But how does your nonprofit take part in this highly technical process without knowledge of the vocabulary that goes into this field? Here, we bring you some of the popular terms you will encounter when you give your nonprofit website to an agency and how to make sense of this vocabulary so that you can be of better help to your agency.

Website homepage

Just like the cover of an album or book, a website homepage is the cover of your website. It contains, at a scroll or glance, what you do as an organization, the people you work with, the communities you impact, and a few other details such as social media handles and links to other pages. A homepage also serves a representation of your brand and shows visitors an immediate sense of what you are about.

Website header

As the name suggests, a website header is found at the top of the website. Apart from serving as the central hub where links to other pages are found, the header also contains the organization’s logo and any tag lines that identify the organization.

The search bar

A search bar is usually found on the website header, at the top right-hand side of the website. It’s usually identified with a button with the word “Search” inside. This is where users can type in words or keywords and search for certain pages, content, blog posts, or videos on your nonprofit website. Apart from serving as easy navigation for those who know what they are looking for on your website, the search bar also makes finding content easy. It can be found on a website’s homepage or in the blog or video section.

Main menu

The main menu is usually found at the top of the website page, usually in line with the organization’s logo and timeline. This main menu can be organized in different ways – vertical, horizontal, or in a drop-down form. These menus are used to place links to important sections of the website such as the “About Us”, “Contact”, and “Career” pages.


A breadcrumb is an address or trail, usually at the top of a page (inside the browser bar), and shows the visitor the complete structure of where they are on the page and where they would follow, if navigated formally, in order to get to where they are located. For instance, if you are on the Vision section of a nonprofit website, you could get a breadcrumb that looks like “Home/About/Vision.”

The selected state

Sometimes referred to as the active page, a selected state shows the current location of the visitor by highlighting the link to the visitor’s current page. For instance, if a visitor is on the careers page of your nonprofit website, the “Careers” link on the top menu would be highlighted to show that the visitor is currently browsing that particular page.

Call to action

Usually abbreviated as CTA in web development language, the call to action is made up of words, buttons, and images that ask users to take an action like signup to an email, following a social media account, visit a different page, watch a video, make a payment, donate to your organization’s cause, or become a volunteer or corporate partner.

The footer

The footer is usually at the opposite end of the header and stays at the bottom of the website. According to web development principles, the footer serves as the last chance for visitors to take action on the page, such as following a social media account, signup to a newsletter, making a donation, etc. Unlike the header where features of your organization are usually hidden under drop-down menus, the footer usually serves as a place where organizations list, in plain sight, all their features, visions, partners, etc.

Learn your website vocabulary

When you’re building your nonprofit website with IndieTech Solutions, we do everything to make sure that no vocabulary becomes confusing. If you need clarity on any part of the website, we are ready to take you through the ins and outs of what your website would have, the pages to be built, their functions, any features that would be added, and how to operate your site from the backend.