Visuals matter. Learn the basics of design for nonprofits.

You are already balancing quite a few job roles. Whether it be in nonprofit communications, development, website management, digital strategy—the list goes on. We get it, you’re not exactly excited about adding “designer” to those responsibilities. But let’s face it, especially if you work for a smaller nonprofit, you’ll likely be in charge of putting together branded materials. Beyond that, design is integral to everything you’re doing. Whether it be to get donors, volunteers or grow general awareness, aesthetics go hand in hand with all your work you do.

We’re not telling you to go back to design school, but we are going to point out a few web design basics that could help you take your nonprofit work to the next level.

These come from Mark Hemeon, the CEO & Founder of Design Inc. His post goes into more depth, but this is what we think you should know.

4 basic rules of graphic design for nonprofits to know

1. Prioritize your message.

Well duh. This seems like a no-brainer. But we sometimes forget it.  As we build out web pages or communications materials, we try to fit so much on the page (as we have a lot to say) that we sometimes forget our overall goals. Once you’ve finished building out content, always take a step back and look at it as if you’ve never seen it before. What’s the first thing you notice? Is the message what you want it to be?

Acumen immediately pulls out their mission statement in a creative way. They also draw your attention to their primary goal with the “donate” CTA. This prioritization carries through the rest of the homepage as your eyes flow to the most important pieces.

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Image source: Top Nonprofits

2. Alignment matters.

If something looks off about a piece you’ve created, it may be as simple as checking the alignment. Be sure to keep it left, right or centrally aligned. Take a look below to understand how much this can impact how you process text:

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Image Source: Slideshare.net

3. Text needs space.

One of the worst moves you can make when laying out type is cramming it all together. Readers will not want to know your nonprofit’s mission statement if it hurts their eyes to take in. If you’re unsure, leave more space than you think you need.

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Image source: Developer.Apple.com

 

4. Color communicates.

A few important notes about color: stick to your brand and don’t forget about legibility.

It’s tempting to go crazy with color, but most of the time, you should stick to your brand guidelines for consistency’s sake. You should also be wary of using it with text. It can get hard to read and look unprofessional.

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Image source: sitepoint

 

Ready to design like a pro? Well, luckily you don’t have to be. Use tools like Canva or get in touch with an agency to either get feedback or purchase a few templates that could be recycled.

If you need help with your designs, contact us at ArcStone. We do a lot of web design and graphic design work with nonprofits and love to make an impact.

How to manage your Board of Directors during a nonprofit website design project

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Your Board of Directors deserves a whole lot of credit for keeping your nonprofit alive. However, during a nonprofit website design project, we hear they tend to cause some issues. It’s likely your Board is full of wonderful, yet opinionated people, all of whom care deeply regarding where your nonprofit’s precious funds are being allocated. If all of these Board Members are interjecting their opinion throughout each phase of your website design, you’re going to experience frustration.

This becomes especially problematic when these discussions start to slow down the redesign, causing missed deadlines, unmet expectations and unexpected budget changes. Moreover, if you don’t have one person who has the final say, arguments arise. So how can you manage your Board of Directors throughout your design project?

Pre-project

The more planning that gets done prior to your project launch, the better. This will help you determine your project’s needs, choose your vendor and set up a strong team structure before things get crazy. If you and your team set this up and agree upon things early on, when conflicts arise, you’ll have these decisions to point back to.

Assign roles

1. Who will choose the vendor?

2. Who all needs to be updated on the overall project status? Who needs to be involved on a day-to-day level?

3. Who will make the final calls on all project decisions? Who is responsible for project success?

Explain this to the rest of your organization as well, talking through why a smaller team will lead to greater efficiency. That way, if Board Members or otherwise get overly involved, you don’t have to immediately shut their opinions down, but can point back to how you mutually agreed upon the the ultimate decision maker.

Hire a project manager

If you can afford one, a project manager can be a huge asset to the success of your nonprofit website redesign. They become worth their weight in gold as they keep you on time and on budget. If this project manager is from a 3rd party, they also step in with their unbiased perspective to resolve any conflicts between your Board and team members.

Interview or survey your staff and Board

Everyone likes to be heard—especially when you’re designing a site that will work as the new face of your organization. By asking for their opinions before the project, you establish that you care what they have to say and give them a chance to say it. This is a more regulated way to get them involved but also helps to alleviate their interjections when they are not being asked for down the road. Best of all, people have amazing ideas and you’ll have plenty from which to choose.

During the project

Provide status updates

We all know communication is key and no one likes surprises when it comes to budgets and projects. However, that doesn’t have to mean a daily or even weekly meeting with your staff or Board. Instead, set up a structure for status updates or memos.

When you send these out, update everyone on where you are with the project overall. This is also an opportunity to ask any questions to the appropriate team members if an opinion is needed.

Project status updates will make people feel more involved, help remove constant questioning from those that are less involved and keep enthusiasm up for your nonprofit as a whole.

Focus on donors, volunteers and other site users

It’s easy to get caught up in what you and your project committee think is right and what you want to see. Instead, keep coming back to the end-user: your site is mainly made for donors, volunteers, community members and those in need. When you come to a difficult decision, keep these audience members at the forefront of your thoughts.

Listen to the professionals

Again, it’s easy to get caught up in what you think is best, but you hired the professionals for a reason. They know what they’re doing! Encourage them to keep presenting ideas to you. For more complex decisions, you can even have them come into the office and show their ideas to your team. Odds are they will be better at communicating their ideas and this collaborative effort will result in a better website.

Wrapping up the project

Present the site

Rather than sending the new site link in an email, it’s beneficial to sit down with everyone at once and talk through the site. This way, you’ll have a chance to explain the decisions you’ve made and they can understand how you hope the site will be used.

You can even use this time to train the staff in on how to enter blog posts or make updates if they will be involved with that. Lastly be sure to set up a system for how team members can report any bugs or errors they come across, as it’s inevitable that one or ten will exist.

Discuss next steps

The worst thing you can do post site launch is to let your site just sit there. It needs to be optimized and updated. This launch meeting provides a place for talking about what the goals are for fully utilizing your site day-to-day. If there are phase 2 projects, you can discuss what the priorities are and what these costs look like. If you do a good job at presenting these initiatives, the Board can fight for them, helping to make them happen.


If you’re thinking about a redesign, here are our favorite resources for starters:

10 Step Blueprint for a Nonprofit Website Redesign

25+ Website Redesign Resources

Nonprofit website design costs: How can you determine your redesign budget?

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Before you’ve started the project, determining the scope of your nonprofit website design and how much you’ll need covered by grants can prove difficult, if not impossible. To alleviate some of this burden, ArcStone’s Head of Sales, Jenna, answered some common questions below. Read through them to help you understand what all might go into your website and what hidden costs you should note before diving in.

*Warning: Jenna has tried to provide a lot of detail, but in the end, you’ll want to talk to an agency or your developer/design team to understand what the true cost will be. This post will help you understand how to begin thinking through your budget and what questions to ask.

How much does a redesign cost?

The fluctuation of cost is due to a combination of factors. You’ll want to know:

  • Experience level of provider
  • Size of website
  • Cost of provider or agency
  • Approach (custom vs. template, etc.)

Here are some general prices Jenna estimated below:

  • Off the shelf template, no expert help (Squarespace, WordPress, etc.): FREE – $500
  • Freelancer website (template or custom): $500 – $10,000
  • Pre-built template w/customizations: $1,000 – 12,000
  • Custom website w/CMS: $5,000 – $100,000+ *most fall between $10k-50k
  • Custom website with a custom CMS: $25,000 – $100,000+

You’ll also want to think about whether or not you’ll need marketing work, ongoing support or hosting services. Always ask your partner or employee if they can cover all the bases you need.

What other factors can influence your website redesign budget?

There are quite a few aspects Jenna runs into when setting up a client with the appropriate budget. The four questions below often surprise clients so you’ll want to ask them now rather than run into them later.

1) What is the number of unique page templates your site will need?

Most websites have at least 3 unique page layouts that better accommodate different content and audience types, rather than having just one standard page.

For example a nonprofit would likely need page templates such as:

  • Home
  • General interior (our mission, history, etc.)
  • Donor payment
  • Volunteer signup
  • How to get help
  • Events
  • Blog listing
  • Blog detail
  • Contact

It seems like quite a few right? It’s tempting to say you don’t need these all, but each type of content necessitates additional wireframing, design, development and content time – meaning more time and money. Better to be realistic now than to add these on later.

2) Do you need something custom or off the shelf?

Jenna uses this fitting example: when redesigning your kitchen you can either choose a custom cabinet or one that is mass produced. This is the same in regards to the functionality needed for your website. Sometimes there are plugins or systems that can handle what you need, while other times you need a custom solution. Jenna noted that people often assume their needs can be met with a pre-built solution, but this is not always the case. Then when a nonprofit needs something custom, they forget about the time it takes to research, install and configure something pre-built.

  • Plugin purchase and configuration: Free – $2000
  • Individual custom features: $200 – $10,000 (each)

3) How will you handle content?

It’s fairly standard to see nonprofits cut content production and implementation from their budget. They assume they can at least do that part on their own. However, it becomes really challenging and time-consuming. In the end, they ask the agency to takeover, which costs them more than they anticipated. Jenna highly recommends budgeting extra for any redesign and never assume you should re-use existing content.

A few common content budget items during a redesign that you should consider are:

  • Content Audit
  • Content Strategy
  • Production and Governance Plan
  • Content Creation – copywriting, photography, video production, graphics, etc.
  • Content Migration – automating the migration of a WordPress blog, for example
  • Content Entry
  • Content Formatting & Optimization

She also recommends getting this done as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the agency is done with their work. Focus on this from the get-go so you and your employees can better plan for it.

  • Most content budgets for a website redesign: $1,000 – $20,000

4) Time is money

Though experienced agencies often cost more, they typically have well-defined processes which can save you time and money in the long run. They will be more efficient throughout and more equipped for handling any mishaps.

Also keep in mind, when it comes to timeline, we’ve found the more tight schedule we stay on, the better the project goes. Keeping a consistent momentum keeps people focused on both sides and can help decrease the cost of project management. Keep in mind something like 6-12 weeks.


We hope this helps you plan out your redesign project and avoid any surprise costs. As a nonprofit, we know you don’t have the time or money to deal with that, and with all the good you’re doing, you shouldn’t have to take on anything more!

If you are thinking about a redesign, check out our 25+ website redesign resources or contact ArcStone’s team today.

Tackling nonprofit web design projects, with some help from local experts

nonprofit-web-design

Website redesigns are a huge undertaking, especially for nonprofits who have very specific (and often tight) budgets and not a minute of spare time. ArcStone has been focusing on nonprofit web design for a few years now, so we’re family with situations where decision makers are challenged beyond their original expectations. How can you prep so you are ready for what your website project may throw your way?

We think you should attend a happy hour.

Hear us out. Minneapolis web design, content and development experts are getting together this upcoming week to talk through the challenges of a website redesign. These folks include ArcStone’s CEO David Carnes as a moderator of the panel discussion and representatives from three Minneapolis web design agencies – ArcStone, Brandpoint and fjorge.

The panelist are:

This discussion may include:

  • Where to start your website redesign
  • What goals to keep in mind
  • Tricks for staying under budget
  • Ideas for managing your team
  • Aspects you may be forgetting
  • Whatever questions you and other guests ask!

This is all happening Tuesday, June 6th, 3:30pm-6pm at the Shindig Event Space.

  • 3:30-4:30PM: Registration & Social Hour
  • 4:30-5:30PM: Panel Discussion moderated by David
  • 5:30-6:00PM: Questions & Wrap Up

Besides the amazing knowledge you’ll gain by listening to the experience of others, you will also receive a free drink ticket and delicious apps. Sign up here. Cheers to a successful redesign!

Where should all nonprofit website or marketing projects start?

Looking back before moving forward.

It’s not the most exciting thing to do. However, the results have proven essential to nonprofits as they approach any website project.

Many nonprofits that come to ArcStone for help already have a website. They come to us because their site isn’t doing what they want; it isn’t drawing in donations or volunteers or effectively communicating what they need to say. Knowing this, we look over what they’ve done in the past and attempt to uncover exactly what will make it better in the future. This all is included in what we call a website audit.

nonprofit-website-design

What is a website audit?

First, let’s explain what an audit even entails. Essentially, it’s a look at what causes a good versus bad experience for a user on your website. Then it’s looking at how the site is performing technically. We look for issues, errors and missed opportunities so we can better understand where the site is at and where it could go.

What’s covered in a nonprofit site audit?

These very from client to client, based on need, but this is an overview of what all we typically review.

  • Google Analytics (GA) accessibility: Is anyone at your nonprofit reviewing your analytics? How easy is it for them to get to the data that matters to your organization specifically?
  • GA setup and implementation: Is your account set up properly? What tags are you using? Understand some of the basics on Analytics »
  • GA data quality and additions: If it is set up, what’s being tracked within your account? What information do you need to see that you aren’t? Learn about filters and conversions »
  • Metadata: Is your site using metadata? Does it follow best practices?
  • Responsiveness / mobile-friendly design: Is the site responsive? How many users are using mobile devices and is it working for them? More on mobile sites »
  • Site indexing and crawlability: Is your site being indexed and crawled?
  • Site errors: Are there any errors on your site?
  • Site speed: How does your site function in terms of speed? Discover how slow site speed negatively impact SEO »
  • Schema implementation: Do you have schema implemented?
  • Internal linking: Are there links set up within your site?
  • Manual actions from Google: Do you have any manual actions or violations?

So before you dive right in to a redesign, be sure to ask yourself some of these questions. Nonprofits have tight budgets, and you need to be sure you have a solid plan for tackling your biggest priorities efficiently. With an audit, it’ll become far clearer what these are.

If you’re interested in learning more about ArcStone’s website audit services, please contact us.

Not ready for a new nonprofit website design? Start with a landing page instead

Not many nonprofits have the budget for a full-on website redesign, at least not until a lot of grant writing has been done. However, this doesn’t mean there isn’t room for any site tweaks, if prioritized above other expenses. This post highlights the necessity of quality landing pages and why they might be more worth their weight in gold than other digital marketing moves.

Nonprofit-Site-Design

Here’s how we know.

A client, Hunger Solutions, was seeking to drive attention to their campaign, Minnesota Food Helpline. They had spent time and effort developing a form and landing page and coupled that with promotion via social media and AdWords. Even with all of this effort, they weren’t seeing the results they thought they could.

When they came to ArcStone we decided the best use of their budget was not in promotional techniques or content marketing, but instead a completely redesigned landing page.

The priorities of this design included:

  • Simplify the language and remove much of the text. We wanted all the users’ attention to go to the call to action.
  • Change the call to action to a very specific direction. It was, “do I qualify for SNAP?” and we switched it to a more active phrase, including a verb, “find out if you qualify for SNAP.”
  • Remove distractions. We took all the unnecessary navigation items and really only kept the link to submit the form.
  • Provide insight through imagery. Although icons aren’t always a bad idea, we noticed they weren’t doing much to inform the user what their action would do.

A few of the results:

  • An increase in conversions of 178% the month after the redesign.
  • 3x as many calls to their helpline.

Where can your nonprofit start when it comes to its site design & landing pages?

1. Talk with your development team and nail down your most important priorities.

For Hunger Solutions, it was helping those in need find their helpline.

Maybe it’s driving donations for a campaign or getting more volunteers at your event. Whatever it may be, try your best to ensure your landing page focuses on a specific audience. If this is keyed into, you’ll better be able to redesign the layout and rewrite the copy with them in mind, making it more likely you’ll capture their interest.

2. Find examples from other similar nonprofits and determine what you do and don’t like.

For example, I admired the landing page below, as it is beautiful and gets right to the point:

nonprofit-landing-page-design
Image source: Leadpages

This works well as they state exactly what they want you to do at the get-go. The main information is kept at the top with an elegant design. If the donors want to learn more about where their money is going (which they often do) they can easily look below on how this helps reach the nonprofit’s goal.

3. Audit your current design. Whether you conduct this audit yourself or have an agency’s help, ask questions such as:

  • If you were a new visitor to the page, is it clear what your organization is trying to do?
  • How specific is your call to action? Is it easily found by a new user?
  • How is the page performing currently? Where would you like this conversion rate to be?
  • What’s the bounce rate? Learn about what might be the cause of a high bounce rate here »

We hope this encourages you to take a close look at what we believe is one of the best investments. By having a well thought out landing page, your nonprofit can better achieve its goal: getting people the information they need to make the world a better place.

Free graphic design software: Create with Canva for Nonprofits

For two years in my marketing role at ArcStone, I have used Canva almost daily. With the combination of free stock images and Canva, I create rock solid graphics for free in less than 20 minutes. Currently I use the free version of Canva as we already pay for the expensive Adobe suite. However, I have to admit, there are several times I’m jealous of the paid version features. The free version gives me all I need, but the paid version has features that could automate much of my design work.

Then I found out, it’s free for nonprofits!!! And I had to encourage you to take advantage of it.

Canva for Nonprofits Features

There’s so much available to you registered nonprofits, it’s crazy. Take a look:

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The ones a nonprofit could definitely benefit from include:

  • Infographic templates
  • Social media headers
  • Newsletter layouts
  • Email invitations (for volunteers and donors)
  • Graph and diagram generators

Free Design Templates

With “document types” you get access 8,000+ templates to start your design out. If you’ve been considering amping up the aesthetics of your social media, website or blog, now you have a way to do so without costing you anything but a few minutes.

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Free Photo Editing Online

Rather than downloading a photo, opening up Photoshop, and then plugging the image into your design, you can do it all within Canva. They also have their own photo library which is pretty extensive.

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Image source: Canva for Nonprofits

Free Graph Generator

Nonprofits have a lot of reporting to do and drawing out graphs by hand can take forever. Right in Canva you can plugin a graph, chart or diagram.

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Examples of nonprofits using Canva

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Image source: Canva Case Studies – Amnesty International

 

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Image source: Canva Case Studies – Fistula Foundation

 

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Image source: Canva Case Studies – Muscular Dystrophy

How much money you save using Canva

Canva isn’t an expensive tool, but it can add up if used across a team. It’s $12.95 per month per user, so if just you, a coworker and an intern are using it, it’d be close to $500 per year. Besides that, the cost of a designer on staff or even outsourcing some of these designs is in the thousands.

In short: Canva is gifting nonprofits big time.

How to get Canva for free

Convinced this tool is going to benefit your team? All you need to do is set up an account here, then go over to their application page. Fill out their form and submit a document to prove your a 501c(3) status.

Good luck with all your designing! For more app and tool reviews, follow the ArcStone blog.

How much does your nonprofit lose with your outdated website?

Many think of a nonprofit website design as an expense that would eat up too much of a tight budget. However, as we’ve seen with several of ArcStone’s nonprofit clients, the cost of not redesigning a site can actually be higher. How can you tell if your nonprofit falls into this camp? Our digital strategist Jenna wrote out four factors to assess and we wanted to share them with your nonprofit.

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4 questions to ask in determining the value of a nonprofit website redesign.

1. Are you missing out on signups and donations due to your poor site experience?

It goes without saying that an old, hard-to-use website leaves a bad first impression. People may interpret your website as a reflection of your organization.

Beyond just the negative impression, it could negatively impact the amount of visitors who read more about your organization or sign up for an event. Moreover, if your forms aren’t user-friendly or mobile, people may drop off before completing a donation.

What’s encouraging is that small site tweaks can go a long way: “Nielsen’s research has shown that fixing even minor usability problems can increase donations by 10%” (The Balance).

2. Are you missing out on visitors due to your outdated site?

With a poor website design, not only will people leave your site, they might not get there in the first place. Google takes into account your site structure and user experience in determining your search rankings. If your site hasn’t been edited in years, all your efforts to get people to your site aren’t paying off as they could.

3. Has your AdWords campaign suffered?

If you’re one of the wise nonprofits using your free AdWords money (learn more if you’re not!), but your site is out of date, you’re losing money. A poor site can negatively impact the effectiveness of your ads. Google ranks it lower and your conversion rates go down.

4. Does your organization spend hours on tasks that could be automated?

We’ve ran into several nonprofits that spend countless hours each week on processes that could be automated.

For example, one such nonprofit had never automated their volunteer sign-up process. They spent much of their time coordinating followup. This lead to not only confusion and missed opportunities, but also time that could be spent elsewhere.

Learn more about how a simple form plugin like Gravity Forms has automated the volunteer sign-up process.

Curious about the cost of a website design for your nonprofit? Send us a note »

We also have an ebook to help you see what’s involved in a redesign.

Download for free »

Nonprofits get ready for 2017 – December Nonprofit Marketing News

I think we can all agree that 2016 has been an interesting year. As December winds down, we here at ArcStone and The Nerdy Nonprofit are trying to focus on our accomplishments of the past year.

Below are a few of the nonprofit websites we launched for our partners in 2016 and here is a post on some of our other favorite nonprofit websites.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities

Idealware

Minnesota Corn Grower’s Association

Kids in Need Foundation

Enough about us, check out some of the top industry posts below and start 2017 off right!

– The Nerdy Nonprofit – December 2016 – 


#1. Nonprofit communications budgets: How big should yours be? 

Having a budget can be both liberating and restricting. Knowing how much to budget in the first place is a whole ‘nother story. Here is some data and insights from the Nonprofit Communications report. Check out Kivi Leroux Miller’s post on the topic here.

#2 A year in review for marketing, design & tech. Our top blog posts of 2016.

From comparing top email marketing software (Mailchimp vs. Emma vs. Constant Contact) to the 5 things we learned redesigning 5 nonprofit websites, we’ve got our top 10 posts in one place.

#3. 6 Book recommendations for nonprofit communicators

My personal favorite on the list provided by Nonprofit MarCommunity is Quiet by Susan Cain. Must read for any ‘introvert’.

#4 Is SEO dead? The state of SEO in 2017

SEO is still important – but not in the same way it used to be. Our head of marketing, Lisa, breaks down 20 years of personal experience with search engine optimization, leaving us with a clear picture of SEO today. A must read for any marketer.

#5 $10,000 in free marketing a month? Google AdWords Grant for nonprofits

I have the AdWords grant conversation with several nonprofits each week. Most are either frustrated, aren’t seeing the value of the grant, or have never applied. Before you give up, please give the grant another chance! Read this post and set a goal to improve your campaigns in 2017.


Need help strategizing for 2017? Contact our team today to discuss a few ideas.
Jenna & Chloe

Our favorite nonprofit websites of 2017

Although you don’t have the most money or the biggest team, nonprofits do have a leg up when it comes to grabbing attention and pulling heartstrings. They have more potential for the most compelling Unique Value Propositions, calls to action, video content and the like. If you can somehow come up with the budget for a new site come 2017, here are a few nonprofit web design trends after which you can model your own site. For more inspiration, visit the nonprofit web design page on Webdesign Inspiration.

Save the Rainforest

rainforest.arkivert.no
rainforest.arkivert.no

Why does this nonprofit site stand out:

One website characteristic we talk about for grabbing the attention of your users is your Unique Value Proposition – read about it in “Think Personal Value” for more pointers on this. This Save the Rainforest campaign incorporates the tactic we mentioned in our post: start by showing the audience what personal value your nonprofit has to them and why your nonprofit needs them.

*Takeaway: Focus on your UVP statement and let it guide the rest of your site. 

CTA’s & forms:

If you click on “become a protector” in the top right of the screen, the form keeps you on that page. Many users don’t like getting taken to another screen, especially if the screen doesn’t match the branding of your current page. For Save the Rainforest, this transition was seamless.

*Takeaway: Focus on your form as a primary goal of the site and keep the transition to it as smooth as possible. 

Additional perks of the design:

Besides the intriguing intro video with inspirational music and clear CTA’s, this site has an interactive feature. You can click on a part of the map and see the real people affected by this cause. The interaction brings you into their world, as if you can actually meet the people you’re helping.

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*Takeaway: If you are just starting out on the process of RFP, see if there’s an agency that will help develop an interactive feature. Keep in mind, people pay attention to these microinteractions and interesting interfaces more than they ever did before. 

Something we dislike about the UX:

It was a challenge to get back to the home video and some of the VR usability got a little confusing.

*Takeaway: If you do invest in a fun feature like this, test it thoroughly and even have your current volunteers and donors test it to find areas that aren’t translating well. 

Sharing America’s Marrow

sharingamericasmarrow.com/
sharingamericasmarrow.com

Why does this nonprofit site stand out:

This site has a clear audience and a beautiful simplicity to it through and through. The designers stuck to their branding in each aspect, making the journey from getting interested to getting involved a pleasant one.

*Key takeaways: Invest in a strong team as this site will last longer than many others.

CTA’s & forms:

2 of their 4 site navigation items are about getting involved somehow. It’s easy to get there. nonprofit-website-design-ideas

*Key takeaways: Speak to your user, knowing that not all of them can donate financially. Give them possibilities and highlight all of those. 

Additional perks of the design:

Rather than attempting to speak to every audience at once, it’s clear that this site has a target audience and sticks to telling their story and speaking to them.

nonprofit-web-design-ideas

*Key Takeaways: At the start of your design, have your entire team go through an audience persona exercise – like ours here. Understand this target market before diving into anything else. 

Something we dislike about the UX:

The get involved form takes you to a separate page. It feels disjointed and is surprising since the rest of the site is so smooth.

*Key takeaway: If you have to use a separate form page, see if you can explain this transition to your audience before it happens. 

Time to Choose

timetochoose.com

Why does this nonprofit site stand out:

This site had amazing footage with which to work. It capitalizes on drone video – a growing trend and one that is attainable for nonprofits. Right below this, it tells you precisely where you can get involved and how that helps their cause.

*Key takeaway: If you invest in quality content like a powerful video, you don’t have to say a lot. You simply have to tell your audience where to go, now that you’ve got them hooked. 

CTA’s & forms:

Each CTA on the homepage pulls you to another convincing and informative video.

*Key takeaway: When you call your users to take action, make sure you explain how that specific action affects the cause. 

Additional perks of the design:

The explanation videos under each separate call to action are not that complicated, but they’ve done a great job of optimizing them. They only play when they’re in the users’ main screen and they mute once you scroll away. They have a concise statement below them to further engage the audience.

best-nonprofit-web-design

*Key takeaway: If you got content, optimize it appropriately. 

Something we dislike about the UX:

There are so many calls to action, which can be a good attribute, but they all take you to separate pages. If these could be the same stylistically, they might get more conversions.

*Key takeaway: Simplify your forms and stay consistent.

 

Of course, our very favorites are the ones our team at ArcStone launched this year! Take a look:

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities

Idealware

Minnesota Corn Grower’s Association

Kids in Need Foundation

If you’re ready for a web design project, contact our digital strategists & designers at ArcStone. They’ve designed over 10 nonprofit websites, learning a lot in the process. Yours could be next!