Guest Post by Murad Bushnaq, Founder and CEO at Morweb
Your nonprofit’s website is up and running on the web. Like any good website, it’s accessible, informative, and linked to all your social media accounts. What more could it need?
With millions of nonprofits competing for supporters’ attention, you need a surefire way to stand out from the crowd. Design tips might boost online fundraising effectiveness, but your brand is what connects your organization to existing and prospective supporters. Establishing your brand can mean the difference between a unique, strong website and a link that’s never visited.
A branded website will build your online visibility, attract new supporters to your cause, and retain the support of existing supporters. Use these essential branding tips to make your website unique to your organization:
Consider your nonprofit’s values
What does your organization care about? What is its identity, and how does your nonprofit want to convey this to supporters? Think through these questions and more to understand what your brand stands for. Then, incorporate these values into various elements of your website:
- Home page
- Page titles
- Donation pages
- Additional resources
These factors will inform your creative strategy when it comes to developing branded elements. Find ways to incorporate your organization’s beliefs into its online representation in more ways than just explicitly stating them on a page titled “Our Values.”
As time goes on, you’ll want to regularly revisit these values and make sure they’re still evident in the branding throughout your website. Your supporters may come to your website to stay up-to-date with what you’re doing, so make sure your website stays up-to-date, too. Any updates to your brand should be continuously incorporated throughout your website. Don’t stop at the minimum of basic inclusion.
Create a cohesive color scheme
Colors can play a significant role in how your organization is viewed by the public. They naturally carry associations with specific meanings, so choose colors that could easily be linked to your cause.
Kwala’s guide to nonprofit branding offers more insight into what each color represents:
- Green: growth, stability; connection to nature/environment
- Blue: trustworthy, open; connection to the medical world
- Dark Blue: professional, formal
- Purple: high class, uniqueness, wisdom; affiliation with veterans
- Red: passion, anger; connection to immediacy or emergency situations
- Orange: playful, friendly, fun, lighthearted
- Yellow: optimistic, attention-grabbing
- Black: modern, expensive, edgy
- Grayscale: neutral, mysterious
When designing your website, remember that certain colors are already associated with specific causes, such as red’s association with heart disease awareness. Choose colors representative of ideas and feelings that reflect your values.
You might only choose a few colors, but make sure they work well together. Avoid colors that clash and complicate readability by including some neutral tones. This helps keep the reader’s focus on the material rather than the color scheme. Use the same scheme throughout your website to keep the design focused and promote a feeling of unity.
Stick to a few fonts
When choosing a color scheme, you’ll want to make sure the colors contrast enough so the website is readable. In the same way, your fonts should be legible so as not to distract from users’ reading experience. Stick to sans-serif fonts as these are easy to read.
Sans-serif fonts are fonts that don’t have extending lines at the ends of each letter. As opposed to traditional fonts like Times New Roman, sans-serif fonts are easier to read in more contexts and have a modern look. Some example of these fonts include:
- Helvetica neue
- Open sans
- PT sans
- Source sans pro
They may look similar, but depending on their context, each of these fonts can bring a different tone to your website. If you’re having trouble visualizing the website or deciding on readable fonts, use your nonprofit’s CMS, or website builder, to test and preview different versions over your existing color scheme and site style.
Develop a logo
A logo is a chance for your nonprofit to creatively articulate its identity in a captivating way.
You’ll use the three aspects of your brand that we’ve just discussed to form a logo. Combine your brand’s font and color scheme into a visual that represents your organization’s values and mission. However, don’t overcomplicate the design. Your logo should be easily recognizable, not complicated and elaborate. Morweb’s nonprofit web design tips suggest keeping the logo simple yet sophisticated and using bright colors so that your logo stands out.
Your logo should be prominently displayed on each page of your website so that every aspect of your site’s design points back to your organization’s brand.
A perfect logo speaks to your values and makes your nonprofit immediately recognizable. Not only does this increase brand awareness, but it will also strengthen your connection with supporters who might find unity in the message your logo represents. It should be a visual that your supporters are proud to wear on a t-shirt.
Establish your tone
Overall, your website will naturally have a certain tone in its text, images, layout, and style. Decide what you want your brand’s tone to be and establish that on your website. Are you going for a casual, informal tone to appeal to a younger audience? Or, perhaps you want to adopt a more serious and straightforward tone to match the significance of your cause and the gravity of the issue at hand.
Your brand’s tone dictates a lot of organizational operations, such as social media marketing, fundraising, event planning, and promotional multimedia like videos.
For example, the organization with a more casual, informal brand might host more Walk-a-Thons or fun runs rather than rely on a lavish annual gala to raise money. Similarly, many aspects of your website can be built around the tone you choose and the way you want to approach your audience.
When building a website for your nonprofit, there are many things to consider. Instead of getting caught up in the stylistic choices of website design, establish a brand for your organization first and build your website around that.
The colors, font, and tone of your website should all point back to your organization’s mission and values. Consider this when creating a logo and be sure to create a consistent website experience. By establishing your brand through your website, you’ll create a trustworthy and recognizable source of information for your supporters. Most importantly, a branded website will help promote your mission to the digital world.
About the Author
Murad Bushnaq is the Founder and CEO of Morweb. Since its inception in 2014, Murad has acted as Creative Director and Chief Technologist to help nonprofits spread their vision online through engaging design, intuitive software and strategic communication.