Managing or working for a non-profit organization is no longer reliant on cold calls to encourage the public to donate to the cause. Thanks to technological advancements and changes in the way people engage businesses, many non-profits now embrace digital marketing, which begins with a well-constructed nonprofit website design.
The best non-profit websites may not have the same web design layouts, color schemes, or content. However, the most successful non-profit websites share similar design components that help them connect with their target audience and motivate people to contribute to their fundraising efforts.
Today, non-profits can invest in online marketing using a professional-grade website as the starting point for all marketing endeavours. Whether you’re looking for donations or another form of engagement to drive your cause, having a user-friendly website will convert general traffic into engaged online visitors who take the actions you want them to perform.
Understanding the best aspects of successful non-profit websites will help you establish an effective online presence for your organization. The post below dives deep into the best non-profit websites and the elements that make them stand out from the crowd.
But before we dive in on the elements of great non-profit websites, let’s take a look first at some of the great ones out there.
9 Best Non-Profit Websites
1. National Buffalo Foundation
The National Buffalo Foundation and its Board of Directors have a concise cause: to save the American buffalo. The organization is one of the prominent and most reliable funding sources for bison education and research.
It is the non-profit’s goal to teach the public about the history and relevance of one of North America’s biggest animals. Through its website, the National Buffalo Foundation continues to expand public knowledge on bison and acquire funding to finance future projects focusing on enhancing the lives of buffalo.
What we like about the site
The organization’s official website is simple yet effective. As soon as the page loads, you see the non-profit’s name, its logo, and its exact mission. Unlike other websites, visitors don’t have to search for the meaning of the page; the site explicitly states its purpose under the National Buffalo Foundation logo.
From there, the page makes it easy to donate to the cause and find out other ways to contribute to the organization. As you scroll down the page, you’ll see a mix of content, including a video about bison, how to contact representatives for a sponsorship request, and images from the Buffalo Hall of Fame. Between each short, straightforward section is a clear call to action.
2. Smile Train
Smile Train is a 21-year-old foundation that provides cleft care for children worldwide. So far, the organization has tended to more than 1.5 million children. As the world’s most prominent organization for cleft care, they strive to provide quality treatments and medical care for children with clefts.
Because Smile Train is a non-profit, it relies on donations and medical volunteers. Donations go toward training programs to help medical professionals in over 70 countries treat cleft patients effectively. The Smile Train team supports local hospitals and also provides speech therapy, nutritional, and orthodontic services.
What we like about the site
Unlike the National Buffalo Foundation website, Smile Train doesn’t feature its logo and mission statement at the top of its homepage. Instead, it features a striking picture of a child with a cleft lip. It’s an attention-grabbing photograph with a statistic about how often babies are born with a cleft.
This non-profit’s approach with its website design is highly effective because it immediately grabs a visitor’s attention and teaches them something relevant about cleft lips, which is at the heart of the Smile Train organization. The non-profit explains the problem, its impact, and its solution with a simple picture and two sentences.
Another notable feature of this website is the red “Donate” button sprinkled throughout the page. As soon as you open the homepage, you’ll see a donate button on the top-right corner, but more buttons appear as you scroll down the page.
The Smile Train website is easy for anyone to navigate. Whether you choose options from the convenient dropdown menu in the navigation header or click options further down the page, you’ll have access to information about clefts, medical treatments, where to find Smile Train programs in various countries, how to get involved, and more. The page is clean and informative.
3. American Friends of Covent Garden (AFoCG)
Founded in 1969, the American Friends of Covent Garden is an organization that supports The Royal Opera and The Royal Ballet by raising public awareness. The organization helps people in America and the world enjoy and support the educational, cultural, and outreach programs from the Royal Opera House and Royal Ballet.
The American Friends of Covent Garden extends memberships to corporations, foundations, and individuals throughout the United States who commit to viewing opera and ballet as global art forms. The organization supports opera houses and ballet companies worldwide and participates in outreach programs to develop artists and their audiences.
What we like about the site
The website is an example of using imagery to promote a cause. The first thing you’ll see is a navigation heading with the option to donate or join/renew AFoCG membership and a slideshow with updated news about performances. Below that is a brief overview of the AFoCG mission.
Though the website doesn’t explain an exact problem that requires a solution, it clearly defines the non-profit’s cause and the focus of its attention. It also details the impacts of ballet and opera on the public by presenting visitors with the benefits both art forms provide.
As you continue scrolling the page, you’ll find high-resolution images from recent productions with the option to learn more about them. The AFoCG website also uses stills from shows to draw attention to its blogs, news, and events. Toward the end of the homepage, visitors will have another option to join AFoCG and donate to show their support to the arts and the foundation.
4. California Tribal Families Coalition (CTFC)
The California Tribal Families Coalition is a non-profit organization founded by tribal leaders throughout the state. The purpose of the coalition is to provide a solid voice to advocate for the rights and protections of tribal children.
Since its inception in 2017, the CTFC continues to work with tribal leaders to pass state legislation that benefits tribal children and protects tribal sovereignty. Despite its successes, the coalition experiences opposition, but it continues to push for improvements with the California ICWA Compliance Task Force.
What we like about the site
The CTFC website is a shining example of a no-frills, politically based non-profit site. From its bold “Protect Tribal Children” heading to the list of member tribes at the bottom of the page, the site explicitly outlines the coalition’s mission, the problem it faces, how it intends to address the issue, and how people can help.
The website’s design does an excellent job of showing how the coalition’s efforts are successful by including a list of legislation the organization helped the state pass. The list is toward the beginning, right under the CTFC purpose, which helps people understand the positive effects of the coalition’s programs, tactics, and abilities.
The design also includes a straightforward outline of ways the non-profit achieves its objectives, including consultations between state and tribal leaders, litigation, and program development. Members of the organization and visitors to the site will have access to updated news, thanks to the “CTFC Weekly Report,” which precedes the “Become a Member” section of the homepage.
5. Soldiers’ Angels
Soldiers’ Angels is an organization that dedicates itself to honoring men and women who are part of the United States Armed Forces. The organization has a network of volunteers representing all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and 24 other countries.
They strive to keep veterans, active military members, and their families uplifted and supported by offering various programs. Members and volunteers of Soldiers’ Angels provide aid and comfort to military personnel and their loved ones and ensure that they have access to beneficial community resources.
What we like about the site
Transparency is a must for non-profit organizations that wish to expand their philanthropic efforts. Knowing what the organization is about, who they work with, who supports them, and where donor money goes helps build credibility. Soldiers’ Angels’ website is full of pertinent information, but it doesn’t say or do too much.
The site explicitly outlines its purpose, services, fundraising benefits, and why they do what they do. The site’s layout is straightforward to navigate, thanks to stylized blurb boxes with “Learn More” buttons, images, and links for donating to the cause, registering for support, and email subscriptions.
Toward the bottom of the page, the organization includes graphics with statistics to show how their volunteers and donors help military members and veterans across the globe. Because of the site’s readability and organization, it’s one of the best non-profit websites online today.
6. For the Love of Cats
For the Love of Cats is a non-profit that serves Collier County, FL, by saving and improving the lives of cats in the area. The ultimate goal is to end pet overpopulation through community outreach and programs that offer cat wellness exams, vet care, and assistance for low-income families. Like their name, members of the organization do what they do for the love of cats.
The organization strives to help every cat and kitten in need and develop programs to focus on the needs of underserved felines. The team and its volunteers partner with every animal rescue group in the county to achieve their goals.
What we like about the site
Unlike some of the other top non-profit websites, the For the Love of Cats page fills whitespace with beautiful images of cats and colored content boxes. As a result, the site has a complete, playful aesthetic that doesn’t detract from the seriousness of the organization’s cause.
As soon as you arrive on the page, you’ll notice the non-profit’s unique logo, concise menu, and large, colorful donate buttons, which are plentiful on the entire page. The top of the page alone has three links visitors can click to show support to the organization.
The rest of the page is simple but effective. Under the charming picture of a sunbathing cat, several content boxes deliver information like “Our Mission” and “Our Impact.” It ends with “We Need Your Help” and several ways people can donate and support the organization’s cause.
With such a neat and visually pleasing website, visitors are motivated to participate in the For the Love of Cat’s programs. They will see how their assistance would positively impact the organization’s cat-saving efforts and know that their money will go to a worthy cause.
7. Global Genes
Global Genes is an organization that helps people who struggle with rare diseases by connecting, empowering, and inspiring the rare disease community. The group hopes to create a global community capable of eliminating challenges associated with rare diseases.
Today, Global Genes works toward its goal by helping patients and their families access resources and connect with researchers, government officials, clinicians, and others. The group also helps rare disease patients develop communities and provide them with the tools they need to advocate for themselves.
What we like about the site
The website opens with a background photograph of a child and senior adult with a walker. Superimposed over the image is a graphic with the three words that describe the Global Genes organization, along with a powerful sentence that ties everything together.
After the strong opening, the rest of the website follows suit, beginning with brief answers to “Who We Are,” “What We Do,” and “Why We Do It.” With such a clearcut web design and single sentence explanations, visitors to the site will immediately know what the page is about and how the organization helps people. The menu also breaks down into topics and subtopics for quick navigation.
As you cycle down the page, you’ll have other topics to explore, such as financial advocacy for young adults and a recent report about the Continuity of Care RARE Patient Impact Grant Program. Below these topics is a slideshow with up-to-date organization and community news and statistics about rare and genetic diseases.
Unlike other non-profit organizations, Global Genes doesn’t include donation buttons near the top or middle of the page. Instead, the site offers ways to support and donate near the bottom of the page.
By providing plenty of information website visitors can explore, they will be more informed on the organization and its causes by the time they reach the “Help & Donate” section. As a result, people are more likely to support the cause because they will know how their assistance will help people in need.
8. The Night Ministry
The Night Ministry is a Chicago-based non-profit dedicated to assisting the poor and homeless. With the large amount of homeless people in Chicago, this organization supports the people at a very personal level, advocating for their immediate physical, emotional, and social needs.
The Night Ministry provides their assistance by personally listening to the stories of the people involved and providing resources and aid based on that. The principle of listening to the people serves as the cornerstone for this entire organization, because they believe that these social connections are most important and keeping a person safe. They provide aid through both providing and helping others find housing and health care.
What we like about the site
The Night Ministry’s website is perfect at communicating its values through its design. Although we know, based on the reading, that this organization emphasizes human communications more than anything, this can also be seen in the design itself.
Immediately upon opening the page, a viewer is greeted with three photos of impoverished individuals looking at the camera with text overlaid atop of them. Additionally, all of them are smiling and seem optimistic. By making these photos establish eye contact, it distinctly humanizes these individuals and their problems by establishing a sort of connection. This is exactly the goal of the organization itself.
Scrolling and exploring the rest of the site has similar strategies to continue placing the emphasis on human connection. Videos are used quite frequently, all showing personal interactions between volunteers and the people they’re assisting. Additionally, many of the photos on the site continue to be portraits, wherein there is one or few subjects directly facing the camera.
All of these distinct design decisions have a purpose, too. Beyond simply being unique and making the website memorable, by so clearly communicating their values, potential volunteers can very quickly understand who they will help and be more likely to volunteer or donate.
9. Easy Donation Pickup
The National Veterans Foundation operates the Easy Donation Pickup, an extension of the organization that provides veterans with donated clothing, household goods, furniture, luggage, and other essential items.
The mission of the National Veteran’s Foundation is to meet the crisis management and referral needs of all former U.S. military personnel by operating public awareness programs that showcase the needs of American veterans. The organization’s team consists of veterans trained in the delivery of crisis information and licensed volunteer counselors.
What we like about the site
The Easy Donation Pickup website is simplicity at its best. The page opens with a charming illustrated graphic and a headline with an animated “Schedule Now” button that entices people to click on it.
Immediately following the graphic and headline is the logo for the National Veterans Foundation and a brief list detailing the steps you can take to donate to the organization. A simple illustrated graphic accompanies each step, along with simple instructions. The organization makes it clear that its goal is to help veterans and their families and provides basic instructions on how to do so as you cycle down the page.
After explaining how to donate, the website moves into statistics that show how the non-profit helps veterans, the years of operation, how much money the group has raised, and more. The page ends with a list of acceptable and non-acceptable donation items and the locations of free donation pickups.
By keeping the page simple and adding illustrated graphics, anyone visiting the page will know what they need to do to help veterans. The dropdown menu at the top of the page also breaks down this information and provides more details about the company, veterans, and donating to the National Veterans Foundation cause, thanks to its blog and FAQ sections.
Now that you know some of the best ones out there, here are the elements of great non-profit websites.
Best Non-Profit Website Design Elements
The best non-profit websites are uncluttered, well-constructed, and full of content relevant to the organization’s mission, whether it’s to raise awareness or fundraise for a specific cause. An optimized non-profit site offers several benefits, including:
- Target audience expansion: The more informed people are about your cause, the more likely you are to achieve your organization’s goals. A robust online presence will broaden your reach.
- New and existing donor engagement: With an excellent, user-friendly website, it will be easier to inspire people to participate in events, donate money, and support your non-profit’s endeavors.
- Relationship development with volunteers: The information on your non-profit website should promote the organization and its missions. With site optimization that encourages social sharing, your non-profit can attract new advocates and volunteers.
When examining the best non-profit websites, it’s clear they share similar web design components that help drive online conversions. Below is a breakdown of those critical elements.
Most non-profits exist because of a problem their leaders, advocates, and volunteers wish to solve. So, a problem is a crucial component to include on the non-profit’s website. Influential website designers know how to outline the issue so that an average site visitor can easily understand it.
The problem is what molds the organization’s mission. A clear explanation of the problem, whether it’s about climate change, feeding hungry families, tackling homelessness, or countless other issues, will help website visitors understand the non-profit’s purpose.
In some cases, the problem is more of a goal or objective. For instance, a non-profit organization may wish to bring awareness to an often overlooked subject.
Regardless if a non-profit develops its mission around a problem or an objective, it will need a solution. Effective non-profit websites explain the issue and how they intend to solve it.
By exploring solutions and expressing them on the website, visitors will view the organization as knowledgeable and credible. Having an actionable plan motivates site visitors to engage with the group to become part of the solution.
Explaining how the problem or cause at hand affects people is a way to make the organization appear relatable to the public. However, detailing the impacts of the non-profit’s solution proves their productiveness.
There are several ways to demonstrate an organization’s impact, including:
- First-hand experiences
Cluttering a website with too much information can overwhelm some visitors, causing them to click away from the site. Instead, blogging is an excellent way to ensure that the audience receives news about your organization, upcoming events, and more.
People value transparency, especially when donating to a non-profit organization. They want to know your group’s work, who your group helps, and how your group engages with supporters.
non-profit blogging ideas are limitless, but some of the most effective content includes:
- News updates about regions the non-profit operates in or groups the organization serves
- Organization milestones
- Experiences from staff and field volunteers
- Behind the scenes details about the non-profits words and events
Every non-profit-based website needs a way to get support from visitors, which usually takes the form of a donate button. non-profit organizations rely on the generosity of others, so the most effective sites have identifiable donation links on every page. If the button is a different color than the rest of the text, it stands out more.
Having a donation button is not the only way to engage with the public. Perhaps one of your goals is to acquire new members or volunteers into the group. In that case, including the option to subscribe to email newsletters is a great move to make.
With a newsletter subscription, your audience will engage with your non-profit long after they exit the site. Not only will regular newsletters increase your organization’s transparency, but they will also provide supporters with up-to-date information, including ways they can support the cause.
Take Your Non-Profit Website Design to the Next Level
Developing an effective website for any organization takes time and formidable web design and optimization skills. If you’re ready to have one of the best non-profit websites online, turn to Connective Web Design. By outsourcing your website needs to our highly experienced team of web designers, you will have time to concentrate on your non-profit while investing in its online presence.
At Connective Web Design, we create custom designs to meet each client’s website objectives. We utilize the best technologies, branding, web design, and marketing skills to help businesses grow. Contact us today to learn more.