How important do you think your nonprofit’s website really is? Do you think, “Hey, it works I guess,” and that’s all that really matters? I hate to break it to you, but you’re wrong. According to Charity Navigator, in 2013 online giving rose 14% from the previous year! That doesn’t mean that every nonprofit’s website performed equally in this study. Fortunately, some nonprofits are catching on to what works. For example, did you know that branded donation pages receive 6 TIMES more in contributions than generic giving pages? That’s a HUGE increase for a small change!
Today we are going to take a look at ten nonprofits that have their sh** together, and what you can learn from them.
Exodus Cry has a gorgeous website with powerful imagery and a clear mission statement. One awesome feature that makes the Exodus Cry website great is their call-to-action buttons. Not only do they draw attention but they encourage monthly giving as well. Getting someone to your website can be hard, and getting an online donation can be even harder, so now that you’ve got them, make the most of it. Giving your visitors the option of a recurring donation can turn an otherwise one-time contributor into a loyal long-term donor for your nonprofit.
Direct Relief is a nonprofit organization with an awesome cause — bringing critically needed medicines and supplies to local healthcare providers around the world — and this is obvious from their website. Not only do they clearly display their mission statement, but their call to action is clear and their imagery shows the direct impact of their work. My favorite part of this nonprofit’s website design is the Current News section on the homepage. It is a great idea to keep people up-to-date with news about your nonprofit as well as news around your overall cause. This is especially important for Direct Relief because it is a nonprofit that responds to emergencies and breaking news. These relevant headlines not only illustrate their impact to potential donors but also prove their necessity.
Too Young to Wed is a partnership between the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and photo agency VII that seeks to advocate and end to child marriages by increasing its visibility. Their website is full of powerful and compelling imagery but their real strength is their spotlight on individual stories. Too Young to Wed’s website uses full-screen photos of child brides while telling each girl’s unique story as the visitor scrolls down the page. This powerful technique builds a strong connection between potential donors and those they have the potential to help.
The Home Run Challenge is a yearly campaign held the week before Father’s Day by The Prostate Cancer Foundation to raise money for cancer research and awareness by encouraging people to make a financial pledge based on the amount of home runs that week. Yes, this is a Mitten United designed nonprofit website so I may be biased. However, biased or not, this website does a lot of things right.
The Home Run Challenge website not only does a great job capturing the feel of the ball game and reproducing it on the website, but its responsiveness allows users to bring the website to the ball game. This mobile-optimization making on-the-spot donations as easy as possible.
My favorite thing about this nonprofit’s design is the branded donation form. Maintaining your brand’s feel during the donation process helps potential donors feel secure and confident that they are in the right place. This builds trust and increases the likelihood that a person visiting your donation form will complete their transaction.
While I could go on, the last thing I’ll mention is the donation form’s giving levels. Research has shown that suggesting giving amounts often results in higher-level donations. The stats on this campaign definitely supported this research as the campaign resulted in not just thousands, but MILLIONS of dollars raised for the Prostate Cancer Foundation! Staying true to our core of damn good design, we added a little extra customization with the baseball radio buttons.
Acumen is a non-profit that raises charitable donations to invest in companies, leaders, and ideas that are changing the way the world tackles poverty. Their model is unique and their website reflects that. My favorite part of Acumen’s homepage is the way they display the impact of their nonprofit. It’s attention-grabbing and informative and uses imagery to connect their visitors to their mission.
First Descents is a really cool nonprofit organization that offers free outdoor adventure programs for cancer fighters and survivors. Their design is bold, exciting, and very representative of their mission. What I really love about First Descent’s website is the blurb on their programs page:
“At First Descents, we define our lives by the depth of our friendships, the adventures we live, and the moments of laughter, peace, fear, and humility we experience. We remember the important things; the defining things, like brilliant sunsets, big rapids, glassy waves, and endless rock faces. We’re fueled by the feeling of standing up on a surfboard for the first time, paddling through whitewater, and topping out on a climb, always surrounded by friends who feel more like family. These are the moments that define First Descents and the paradigms our programs seek.”
That is a great example of descriptive writing that makes people feel good. After reading that paragraph, without a second thought, my next click was ‘Get Involved’. I’ll admit, I caught myself and remembered I had a blog to write, but I’ll probably be going back to it later.
Kiwis for Kiwi is an initiative of The Kiwi Trust, an independent charity whose mission is to protect the endangered kiwi population in New Zealand. This is a great example of a fairly basic website that gets its point across very well. What I like most is its landing page approach. It’s just a video. No header, no navigation… just a statement and a ‘Play Video’ button. Simplicity can go a long way. This minimalistic approach is a great idea for this nonprofit, because without the extra distractions usually found on a website, there’s a pretty good chance their visitors are going to do exactly what they want them to: Play the video. And videos are one of the best ways to emotionally connect with potential donors.
Serving Orphans Worldwide is another great nonprofit website with a clean design and a clear purpose: to provide support for orphans worldwide. This website is doing a lot of things right, but one thing that stands out to be is how well they make it personal for their visitors. Not only so they focus on individual stories, they even deliver personal testimonials through hand-written letters of those they have helped.
WATERisLIFE is an innovative nonprofit dedicated to bringing clean water, sanitation and hygiene programs schools and villages in need. Their website is bold, informative and full of powerful photos of their impact. While the website design is awesome, the real innovation comes from their use of video to spread their message. WATERisLIFE jumped on the popular hashtag #FirstWorldProblems to shed light on some of the real problems in the world. The video went viral, with a view count of almost 6.5M as of today (Oct 2014). It’s funny, relatable and hits you— as one of the top comments states— “right in the feels”. That isn’t the only WATERisLIFE video worth watching though— 4 Year Olds Bucket List legit moistened my eyes.
Boarding for Breast Cancer is an awesome nonprofit organization dedicated to educating young people on breast cancer prevention through early detection and an active lifestyle, especially through the action sports community. We have been working closely with them for three years and love helping out with their cause in as many ways as we can. A few years ago, we set out to design a website for them that fully captures their awesomeness.
One of the unique aspects of B4BC’s outreach is their dedication to being on the road in order to provide education through events and programs that actually get the younger generation excited. With this in mind, it is important for B4BC to have a website that effectively highlights their event calendar. Additionally, we wanted to provide additional ways our targeted audience could stay up-to-date through social media outlets, such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
- Encourage recurring monthly donations.
- Feature latest news around your organization and your cause.
- Spotlight individual stories.
- Optimize your website for different screen sizes and mobile through responsiveness.
- Use a branded donation form.
- Present giving levels or pre-selected giving amounts.
- Showcase the impact of your nonprofit.
- Make people feel good about your cause.
- Use personal testimonials to further emphasize your impact.
- Use video to deepen the connection with your audience.
- Keep an updated event calendar of your initiatives.
- Strengthen your brand’s online presence through social media.
There are a lot of great nonprofit websites out there. There are even more great nonprofits with terrible websites. If your nonprofit falls into this category, I have great news for you:
30% of all online giving occurs in December.
10% of all online giving occurs in the last 3 days of the year.
This means there is still time for your nonprofit to get in the game! In our effort to make the world a more beautiful place through design for the greater good, the Mitten United team offers a substantial discount on our design services to worthy nonprofit organizations. Contact us to request a quote!