Weblinx, Incorporated

Nonprofit Web Design

Having an effective web presence is important to any organization’s success. Nonprofit web design is especially challenging and impactful, however. On the one hand, nonprofits have unique design and marketing needs. And on the other hand, they often rely on grants, individual donations, and volunteer hours to function.

To put things another way, nonprofits have to get web design just right to be successful, and they need that success to find funding and support.

For that reason, we don’t just focus on the basics of nonprofit web design like aesthetics, programming, and search engine visibility. We also work with our clients to find the extra factors that move the needle and help them get the dollars and media attention they need. Connect with us to see how we can collaborate together and have your nonprofit succeed online.

Our Work

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    Glenview Community Church

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    The mission is to be a strong community of Christian faith that welcomes and engages all people in personal and spiritual growth.

    Features: Responsive Web Design, WordPress, Online Giving

  • Non Profit Website Design

    Erin's Law

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    Erin's Law is a national 501c4 nonprofit established in 2012, ensuring children are taught to protect themselves.

    Features: Responsive Web Design

  • Nonprofit Web Design

    Sophia's Mission

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    Sophia’s Mission is a 501(c)(3) public charity registered with the state of California.

    Features: Responsive Web Design, Nonprofit Website Design

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    Metro West Council of Government

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    Metro West Council of Government is a council of municipalities serving a population of more than 750,000.

    Features: Membership Portal, Responsive Web Design

  • nonprofit web design chicago


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    They are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and one of the largest no-kill cat and dog rescues.

    Features: Responsive Web Design, WordPress CMS, Custom API

  • Best NonProfit Web Design


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    The NSSRA enriches the lives of people with disabilities in their partner communities through quality recreation services.

    Features: Responsive Web Design

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    Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley

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    The Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley is a collection of individual funds and resources given by local citizens to enhance and support the quality of life in the Fox River Valley Illinois.

    Features: Responsive Web Design

  • Nonprofit Website

    Hesed House

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    Hesed House is the second-largest homeless shelter in the State of Illinois.

    Features: Responsive Web Design, WordPress CMS

The Best Nonprofit Websites

When it comes to digital marketing, charitable groups and nonprofit organizations often face a few dilemmas. That's because the perfect nonprofit web design has to appeal to "customers," in the form of donors, just like a business website would. At the same time, however, they don't have traditional products and services to offer.

That means messaging, and the web presence as a whole, have to be handled carefully. Let’s look at what some of those differentiators are, beginning with something that is both foundational and easy to miss.

Go for the Right Look and Feel

There isn’t any such thing as a “perfect” nonprofit website design. It’s all about finding the layout, colors, and images that bring together your group’s marketing persona and your nonprofit’s audience (or several audiences, as we will get to in a moment).

What this looks like will depend on several things. For instance, a local animal shelter is going to promote itself much differently than a national cancer research trust. One might be offbeat and quirky whereas the other could have an almost corporate feel. Both are entirely appropriate, based on their respective missions, resources, and target audiences.

You may already have some ideas about the right look and feel of your nonprofit website design. Or, you could be starting from scratch. Either way, it’s a good idea to work with an experienced creative team who can pull out the best parts of your message and mold them into something that resonates with your leadership, the people you serve, and your supporters.

Ensure Your Nonprofit Website Will Be Easy to Understand

This probably seems obvious, but if you look at as many nonprofit websites as we do you’ll notice that lots of organizations can’t seem to tell their story, or even share their mission, in a succinct way.

The golden rule of web design for any field or industry is that someone arriving at your home page for the first time should be able to tell what you do in a few seconds or less. That means getting straight to the point with your headlines, images, and page layouts.

If you can’t show a visitor what your nonprofit is focused on at first glance, then they’re never going to be engaged enough to take the next step. The purpose of your nonprofit website isn’t just to exist; it’s to help your organization reach more people, or (at a minimum) to support your other recruiting, fundraising, or media outreach campaigns. It’s crucial that you start off on the right foot by being direct about your mission.

Far too many nonprofits rely on corporate-sounding phrasing to explain what they do or how they want to help. Don’t make that mistake with your next web design.

Organize Your Nonprofit Website into Distinct Pages and Content Blocks for Different Groups

One of the most challenging aspects of nonprofit website design is that the resulting pages will need to appeal to a number of different groups. Whereas a business might have a single major customer persona to think about, most nonprofits have donors, volunteers, and corporate partners to consider. They also have to factor in visitors coming from the media, event planners, and other groups.

This is one of the reasons it’s so easy for a nonprofit website to become scattered (see the point above). And it makes it even more important to organize content in a way that’s easy to scan and navigate.

What we are essentially getting at is the need for good usability. It’s something that’s important for every website but is a cornerstone of effective nonprofit website design. It includes things like:

  • Thinking about navigation structures and search bars for ease of use
  • Embedding links within relevant pieces of content to encourage movement from one page or topic to another
  • Creating distinct pages and content blocks for donors, volunteers, media professionals, etc.
  • And making sure all content is accessible to those with disabilities and impairments

Much of the content on your nonprofit website is only going to be relevant or applicable to certain groups. You’ll want to work with your web designer to ensure that anyone who comes to your site can find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.

Follow the Latest Web Accessibility Standards

Usability and accessibility are huge topics in modern web design, and they are all the more important when some portion of your audience might be older or disabled.

That is certainly the case for most of our nonprofit web design clients. Many serve populations with disabilities, and/or rely on donors and volunteers that might have age-related impairments to hearing or vision. That means they need to implement the latest web development strategies, allowing for users to take advantage of tools like text-to-speech software (as an example).

You don’t have to be an expert in the latest web accessibility guidelines to lead the way on your nonprofit website design and development projects. You just have to ensure you choose a creative team that will put the needs of your organization and audience first.

Highlight the Human Side of Your Cause or Mission Through Images

Ultimately, people don’t give their time, donate their money, or support a cause for analytical reasons. They almost always contribute to a nonprofit’s mission because they have an emotional investment in the underlying effort. Your job, when thinking about a nonprofit website design project, is to nurture that interest through visuals and messaging.

The easiest way to do so is by highlighting the human side of your nonprofit and the impact it creates (or in certain cases, the animal side of things). This means featuring lots of photos that tell a quick story. As examples, you might include in your website something like the following:

  • A smiling child’s face after they’ve been given a nutritious meal
  • A patient who was able to receive life-altering care through your system
  • A family standing in front of a home that was rebuilt after tragedy
  • A photo of a cat or dog saved by your group and/or volunteers
  • A staff member or volunteer who has been changed by their experiences

These are simple examples, but they help make a much bigger point. Too many nonprofits rely on stock photos, professional head shots, or photos of the building where they work. These aren’t bad visuals, but they don’t sway hearts and minds the way something that was more personal might.

As always, we encourage our clients to use their own photos (rather than stock images) whenever possible. Not only do they have more impact, but they can’t be used by other groups supporting similar causes.

Make It Easy for Visitors to Get Involved

It can take a lot of effort and outreach to bring someone to your nonprofit’s website. Your goal should be to convince them to take action before they move on. Anything that ties them closer to your group, or leads to a bigger next step, can be important for your organization.

What kind of action might you want to encourage from a visitor? That depends on who they are and where they end up on your site, of course, but here are some positive outcomes to look for:

  • Giving a one-time donation to your organization
  • Starting a regular giving subscription that renews over time
  • Applying to serve as a volunteer for your nonprofit
  • Viewing your calendar of events and registering for an upcoming event
  • Signing up for your organization’s email newsletter
  • Sharing a link to one of your pages or articles on social media
  • Filling out a form to request an immediate interview with a member of your team
  • Sending a resume because you have posted a job opening

Some of these outcomes might seem obvious; others might not have occurred to you right away. And some are relatively big steps (like donating money) whereas others require almost no commitment at all. What matters, though, is that any of them could lead to future support.

That’s really your biggest goal – to turn website visitors into brand supporters who will continue to contribute for the months and years to come. If your website can help you do that, then it will spill over to every part of your organization and mission.

Want to Talk With the Experts on Nonprofit Website Design?

At Weblinx, we have helped hundreds of organizations – including many leading nonprofits – make their mark on the internet. If you could use help with nonprofit web design, online fundraising, social media marketing, or other related disciplines, then we encourage you to reach out to our team today.

Contact us to schedule a free consultation and see how we can help take your organization to the next level.

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