3 Approaches to Successful Nonprofit Websites

When looking for inspiration, I often try to look beyond what we’ve done in the past and learn from what successful nonprofits out there are doing with their websites. More than just pretty sites, the ones that are truly successful have implemented a simple communication strategy in an excellent way. This tends to reach beyond any one aspect of the site – copy writing, design, or information architecture – it’s the cumultive effect that everything has on the user that makes these sites work. In the end, they do a fantastic job of making their mission personal to the user, tell a story, or make complex issues clear.

I’ve gathered three examples of nonprofit sites that I’ve found inspiring.

1. Make it Clear: Salvation Army

For such a large organization doing a massive amount of work, Salvation Army’s site does an impressive job of boiling everything down to 3 main navigation items.

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The tagline, large image, and navigation elements quickly communicate a lot of information to the user, in manner that fits with Salvation Army’s brand.

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The wording of each navigation item is clear and concise.

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The organization of the dropdowns helps the user get a clear picture of the organization and how they can help in a matter of seconds.

2. Tell a Story: Designed to Move

Designed to Move is an initiative put on by multiple private and public organizations to fight physical inactivity. What this site does well is tell a story – why physical inactivity is bad and how it impacts the world. Fairly minimal compared to most sites, this one makes use of scrolling to take the user on a journey, letting the copy take the spotlight.

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One large image, and simple typography engage the user and peak curiosity.

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As users scroll down the page, they are greeted with large, hard-hitting headlines that help tell the story.

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Featuring quotes that inform users about the situation goes a long way in communicating the need for action.

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Informative diagrams and charts also help tell the story and inform the user.

3. Make it Personal: Charity Water

There are plenty of clean water projects and nonprofits out there, but Charity Water stands apart in the way they make their mission personal to the user, and invite them to be a part of their work.

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The personal campaign section of Charity Water’s site is a fantastic way of getting individuals involved in their work.

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The imagery and copy are intimate, positive, and designed to speak one-on-one to the user.

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Even the basic description of what Charity Water does is written in a way that brings the work very close to home.

These sites do a great job of approaching audiences in a way that brings clarity, engages users, and makes nonprofit work personal. They are wonderful examples of what happens when organizations keep the what’s important at the forefront of their website project – the mission they’re serving and the audience they’re trying to reach!

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Nathan is passionate about using design and creativity to bring about meaningful experiences, and believes design should communicate, inspire, and motivate change.
March 22nd, 2014 // // , ,
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