Posted on Nov 26, 2018

13 Tips and Best Practices for Branding Your Nonprofit Website

Online giving has seen consistent year-over-year growth. It generated $31 billion in 2017, and as of April 2018, it generated over 10%  more than it has in previous years. Nonprofit websites play a pivotal role in this growth trend; they raised $1.13 per website visitor in 2017 alone.

But how can you ensure that your nonprofit website continues to receive traffic, generate donations, and promote awareness – especially with the influx of content saturating the web every day? One answer: through effective branding.

Although online giving is trending upward across the web, you should still work on branding your own nonprofit website so that it doesn’t miss out on important opportunities to generate more awareness, donations, engagement, and so much more.

Here are 13 tips and best practices you’ll want to follow to effectively brand your nonprofit website.

1. Make Sure Your Website Has a Responsive Design

According to statistics parsed by Nonprofit Source, nonprofits can increase their donations by 126% on average by incorporating mobile-responsive design to their websites. Responsive design doubles giving on mobile devices, as half of all nonprofit website traffic comes from mobile and tablet users.

Make sure that your nonprofit website caters to users on mobile devices and set it up so that your visitors can view and engage with every component of it from a mobile device.

2. Use a Logo and Design that Resonates with Your Target Audience and Mission

Your nonprofit website design should resonate with your target audience and mission. For instance, if your organization works to save trees in forests inside the Amazon jungle, your logo should have earth-colored tones and probably have a tree in its symbol. You’ll want your website’s overall color scheme and layout to match those tones and logo, too. You might even want to incorporate website elements that track and display the number of trees saved by donations this year and over the duration of your nonprofit so that donors know how they are helping.

3. Accentuate Your Awards and Achievements

The moment visitors land on your website, they want to know why they should support your cause and why they should trust your nonprofit specifically. If you want your brand to be one that espouses credibility, highlight verifiable evidence on your website’s homepage. Showcase awards you’ve received from communities and organizations you’ve helped. List endowments and grants you’ve earned. Highlight accolades you’ve received. Or announce that you helped change the lives of 100 women in India for the better last year by helping them secure competitive micro-loans. Better yet, have a ticker on your site that updates every time another micro-loan is distributed to the women you serve.

The point is, if you want your nonprofit brand to project integrity, you will need to offer solid proof of the work it has achieved, highlight those who support your work, and clearly display why your nonprofit is essential to its cause.

4. Highlight Your Mission and the Causes You Serve

Don’t force your website visitors to search for your nonprofit’s mission and who it serves. Make your mission is very obvious and put it in bold lettering on every single page of your website. As a nonprofit, your mission is the most critical piece of your brand, so don’t shy away from making it apparent. For example, if you support children from low-income families, clearly state that this is what your nonprofit does. Also, explain exactly who you help. Be as specific as possible. Instead of a broad statement like “we help children from low-income families,” say, “We help high-schoolers across Massachusetts get the educational opportunities they deserve.”  

5. Rely on Strategic Partnerships and Alliances

To build a strong brand for your nonprofit website, list other well-known and trusted organizations that you partner with regularly and highlight the work you accomplish together. For instance, a food bank might work with well-known local homeless shelters and could share blog posts about events they co-host.  

Rely on strategic partnerships and alliances to build a strong brand and active online community.

6. Always Be Transparent and Authentic

To build trust and support via your nonprofit website, be transparent about your work and what you do. Your website should be open and honest about its funding and how it conducts its operations. And it should include photos and bios of its staff and major volunteers. Above all else, your nonprofit website should remain authentic and honest and should display a brand that is genuine and fully dedicated to its mission.

7. Clearly Display Your Contact Information

Have a contact form or phone number on your website to make it easy for potential donors, volunteers, and supporters to reach out to you. Be sure it’s easy to contact you from mobile devices, too, especially if you want your nonprofit brand to be one that projects trustworthiness and transparency.

8. Share Content that Attracts People to Your Cause

People who will be drawn to your nonprofit’s website are attracted to its mission and the work it does. So don’t forget to share relevant and timely updates and content with your online audience. According to Content Marketing Institute, content is essential to any organization’s branding strategy and is the only way to really generate an engaged and supportive audience today. Content marketing is all about relationship building. And when you build meaningful relationships across online outlets, you will naturally attract more people to your nonprofit website and its cause.

9. Provide Valuable Resources

Offer your website visitors free resources that relate to your mission and you will become branded as a trusted source of information. For instance, if your organization works to end urban hunger, share white papers and research that substantiate why it’s still such a huge topic of concern. Share published research, case studies, etc. by reputable organizations. Provide as much evidence as possible to prove why the work of your nonprofit is essential, and you will inevitably become a trusted source for information within your sector of the nonprofit world.

10. Consider Website Engagement

Make your nonprofit website engaging so that visitors always come back to it. Include event calendars, video content, message boards, polls, etc. This will provide multiple opportunities to position your nonprofit brand as one that is committed to its mission and fully engaged, informed, and involved.  

In addition, consider implementing live chat support on your website, which can increase audience engagement rates to drive 45 percent more opt-in conversions.

11. Include Social Media Activity and Links

Did you know that 55 percent of people who engage with nonprofits on social media end up taking some sort of action? Make it easy for your website visitors to engage with you; include links to your social media profiles on your website.

In addition, when you highlight your nonprofit’s social media activity on your website, you’re also providing social proof that others support your organization and its work.

12. Make it Easy for Visitors and Members to Donate

Be sure to make it very simple for website visitors to donate to your nonprofit. Prominently display a “donate” button on all pages of your website.

Research also indicates that an express checkout option on a website can increase mobile sales and donations by up to 55 percent. Further, custom-branded donation pages on a nonprofit’s website help raise up to six times more money on average.

13. Allow Volunteers to Sign Up on Your Website

If your nonprofit relies on volunteers, make it as easy as possible for them to get involved. Allow them to sign up for volunteer shifts or projects directly on your website. At the very least, make it easy for them to contact you when they’re interested in getting involved or when they have questions.

Remember: when branding your nonprofit website, you’ll want to make sure it’s user-friendly, transparent, engaging, and trustworthy.


Feature image: Photo by from Pexels