No, 2019 isn’t quite “over” yet, but the change of weather and anticipation of a new decade has us feeling like it is. As such, we’re compiling some of our favorite “best of” lists to celebrate all of the website designs we’ve admired over the course of 2019. While we’re sure we’ve missed some (do you know how many websites there are!?), we’re also confident that our lists demonstrate what great website design is all about.
As we dove into the world of nonprofit websites, we realized just how much of a difference thoughtful website design really makes. While it’s no longer difficult to get a working website up and running in a matter of hours, creating one that compels people to actually do something, like in the case of nonprofits, takes a lot more skill and expertise. There are a lot of subtleties that go into website design and, while it’s easy to convince yourself that they don’t matter, the reality is that they really do.
With so many nonprofits working to make our communities around the world a better place, it’s more important than ever that they have a shot at getting the support they need. That means that not only do their websites need to be found online, but they need to persuade people that this is a good (and trustworthy) cause.
Whether collecting donations or asking visitors to take action, the best nonprofit websites compel visitors to join in, educating and exciting them to be a part of positive change.
So, while each of these websites has a vastly different mission, each one does a fantastic job at ensuring that every visitor has an experience that makes them want to come back for more. And, no surprise, it all comes down to how they are designed…
The 5 Best Nonprofit Websites of 2019
A children’s research hospital and nonprofit foundation, the robust website behind Seattle Children’s is so effective because its design offers organization and clear calls to action. At the very top of the homepage, there are two options for visitors looking to help: A bold orange button that reads “Donate Now” and a large tab on the menu entitled “Giving”. While the website for Seattle Children’s allows the rest of the content to take centerstage, by making it easy for visitors to find actionable links to give, the website is able to generate donations on a daily basis. And, once you’re on the Giving page, the content, like the rest of the website, is concise and organized, giving visitors several options, as well as a compelling video to watch. Other details, like colorful icons and strong copy “It Starts with YES”, add to the overall effectiveness.
One of the largest nonprofits for animals in the United States, the website for the ASPCA features a lot of smart details that help compel visitors to give. First and foremost, the website provides plenty of opportunities for visitors to educate themselves about the importance of protecting and saving animals, including stay-with-you statistics that are so alarming to animal lovers that they want to do something on the spot. Just on the homepage alone there are six bold calls to action, including three “Donate” buttons above the fold. Another thing about the ASPCA’s nonprofit website is that it tells a story (or, more accurately, stories), which are a powerful way to connect emotionally to an audience, even if they are entirely virtual. Regularly updated, new content on the website does two important things: First, it builds trust with visitors by letting them know that people are doing things on a daily basis and, second, it makes them rank incredibly well across search engines.
One of the biggest challenges small nonprofits face when it comes to building a professional website is, of course, funding. Thankfully, a well-designed, professionally created website doesn’t have to be fancy – or even all that expensive. The website for San Francisco’s Coalition on Homelessness provides a great example. Relatively simple, the website comes across as professional and compelling for a few reasons. First, its menu, while basic, is bold and easy to read, featuring a contrasting “Donate” button to draw immediate attention. Second, it uses local, high-quality pictures that tell the story, which means they don’t have to use a lot of words to help visitors understand. Third, it provides visitors with an “Impact” section on the homepage, letting them know exactly how their donations will help the cause. While there are other nuances going on with the website that help to make it effective, these three things alone are enough to ensure that they have a professional presence when found online.
One of the best things about the website for the nonprofit Every Mother Counts is that it draws visitors in instantly with its scrolling video clips. Raw, real, and emotionally engaging, the videos alone are enough to move visitors to donate or find a way to help. Of course, the website goes beyond that. From a condensed and powerful menu, which features clickable titles that include “What Can I Do?”, “Donate” and “Our Story”, to the numerous activities for visitors to educate themselves about the importance of providing maternal health to women around the world, the Every Mother Counts puts everything you need at your fingertips so that it’s easy for you to want to help as much as possible.
Using bright colors and emotional images, the website for New York City’s nonprofit Food Bank pulls you in right away. Rather than belaboring you with shocking and scary statistics, the website focuses on encouraging donations by reminding visitors that “Hunger Is Solvable”. This design move works so well because it empowers, rather than discourages, visitors to take action. By offering visitors with a variety of ways to help (Volunteer, Donate, Advocate), everyone, no matter their circumstance, feels like they can do something worthwhile to help end hunger in the New York area. Another website design feature we really love? The animated “35 Years of Impact” section, which reveals positive numbers (instead of scary facts) about how much the Food Bank for New York City is really helping people in need. Overall, the website design is a powerful reminder for nonprofits everywhere to focus on the solutions, rather than the problems themselves.