More Effective Nonprofit Websites in 2 Simple Steps (part 2) | npENGAGE

More Effective Nonprofit Websites in 2 Simple Steps (part 2)

By on May 10, 2012


Effective Nonprofit Web Design: Share Your MIssion

Part two of our four part series on Effective Nonprofit Websites. Make sure to read part one if you missed it: Create a More Effective Nonprofit Website Using These 2 Simple Suggestions

“The Web is a world of first impressions, and quick ones at that.  Users form an opinion of a website within the first few seconds of loading it.” Jason Gross, “The Role of Design in The Kingdom of Content,

Makes sense, right? On to the next two nonprofit website best practices …

Best Practice #3:  Share Your Mission

60% of all donors check out your nonprofits website before donating so you should tell them why they should give and what impact it will make…quickly before they change their mind.  Share your mission clearly, succinctly and make it actionable!

EX:  Helping People. Saving Gorillas.  Not just a tagline.  Not just a mission.  Rich links to compelling content that shares with site visitors what the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund is about, how they help and who they serve.

Effective Nonprofit Web Design: Share Your MIssion

Best Practice #4:  Use Compelling Imagery

“Regardless of what your content actually says, the design around it controls what the users see first and how their eyes move across the sections of the page.”  Jason Gross, “The Role of Design in the Kingdom of Content, 

Compelling imagery can comes in many forms, but is an essential part of creating effective nonprofit websites:

  • Infographics are my personal favorite.  They allow you to VISUALLY show all types of content –  from stewardship to impact to mission fulfillment to campaign progress – clearly and succinctly.  They are attractive and engaging, which are two key elements to successful imagery on any website.  Charity Water does an excellent job using icons and infographics to tell their story. Not just on their homepage, but throughout their site, check them out.
Nonprofit Infographics
  • Effective Nonprofits Websites: Eye ContactEngage with eye contact.  Photography that uses eye contact will allow you to make a personal connection with your user.  You’re a nonprofit, you know that personal connections, trust and emotional engagement are keys to fulfilling your mission!  For example, which would better share the amazing impact Habitat for Humanity has on the community – an image of 5 volunteers building a Habitat Home with their backs to the camera?    Or the eyes of the man for whom the house was built?
  • Share real stories of impact.   Sharing stories of how others are affected by your work, your outreach and your mission will build credibility and encourage empathy.

So far we’ve discussed that your nonprofit website should:

  1. Resonate with Your Audiences
  2. Have a Focused Homepage
  3. Share Your Mission
  4. Use Compelling Imagery

The best is yet to come. Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll check back for part three next week.

Was this helpful? Do you have more examples to share? Please comment and share your successes!



After graduating from Clemson University, Kelley Jarrett began her career as an advertising and branding strategic account manager in Atlanta, where she helped both for-profit and nonprofit organizations realize their branding goals through web strategy, marketing and advertising. In 2003, Kelley joined Blackbaud and now is the market manager for Blackbaud’s new creative design agency,Guide Creative where she uses her passions for bringing creative ideas and online strategy to nonprofits together.  She speaks annually at Blackbaud’s Conference for Nonprofits as well as various nonprofit trade conferences on the topics of web strategy and design.  Kelley lives downtown Charleston, SC, is married to an architect, has two little girls and enjoys urban gardening, chicken farming, living close (enough) to the beach, and live music.

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