How to Design an Inspiring Nonprofit Website: A Guide

Boost Your Nonprofit's Online Presence with Effective Web Design

October 31, 2022

Your nonprofit needs a strong digital presence to attract donors and maximize support. With so many organizations competing for supporters’ attention, a well-designed website can help you stand out from the crowd. However, for some organizations, designing an effective website may feel out of reach, especially if you don’t have web development or coding experience.

If you’ve found yourself looking for inspiration, you’re in the right place. Designing an engaging and visually appealing website is easy with the right tools and strategies. With a strong nonprofit website, you can expand your reach, bring in donations, and offer supporters more information about your nonprofit’s events, projects, and campaigns.

In this article, we’ll walk you through three web design best practices so you can make a great first impression for new site visitors and engage your existing supporters:

  • Use a nonprofit CMS.
  • Brand your website.
  • Develop a strong donation page.

A beautiful website can take your nonprofit to new heights when it comes to donor acquisition and engagement. Let’s get started.

Use a nonprofit CMS.

A nonprofit CMS, or website builder, empowers your organization to put together a beautiful website without any coding. The ideal website builder will use click and edit (or drag and drop) functionality so you can load in your content and easily arrange it.

If your nonprofit’s team doesn’t have web development experience, it’s best to choose a nonprofit CMS that provides an all-in-one solution. This way, you’ll have access to all the features you need without having to invest in costly plug-ins that are often time-consuming and difficult to set up.

When choosing the right nonprofit CMS, look for a platform with these key features:

  • Usability. Your website builder should streamline the web development process, not make it more stressful. Pick a CMS that allows you to focus on creating quality content without having to worry about the technical aspects of web design. Avoid website builders that require complicated installation or coding to integrate updated features.
  • Security. If you plan to use your website to collect important information like donors’ contact and billing information, it’s critical that your CMS is secure. Otherwise, your website is susceptible to cybersecurity threats, which can leave your donors’ information unprotected and make them less likely to donate to your organization. Instead of using a platform that makes its source code accessible to the public, invest in a platform that’s maintained and owned by a single company for increased security.
  • Support. As you design your website, it’s likely that you’ll run into some questions, especially as you start to familiarize yourself with how your CMS works. Choose a website builder that offers regular customer support and training materials to learn about the different features and functions on your CMS.
  • Accessibility. By opening up your website to as many people as possible, your website can reach more diverse audiences and maximize support. Your nonprofit CMS should offer built-in accessibility features like the ability to add alternative text for images, keyboard functionality, and an accessibility widget so users can adjust text size and change colors to greyscale.

With the help of a nonprofit CMS, your nonprofit will be in great shape to produce a beautifully designed website. Do your research to find a CMS that offers these features and fits within your organization’s budget. While there are many free CMS platforms available, they often require costly plug-ins and technical know-how to set up. Weigh your options to find a CMS that prioritizes simple website design.

Brand your website.

Once you have a user-friendly nonprofit CMS, you’re ready to construct a website that is unique to your organization. One of the best ways to do this is by creating a strong branding strategy. According to Morweb’s guide to nonprofit web design, a customized website can help your nonprofit increase brand awareness, develop strong relationships with supporters, and boost your credibility by giving the site a professional look.

When branding your website, make sure to customize the following elements:

  • Font. Use the same font(s) throughout your website and other marketing materials. Your font should be straightforward and easy to read so supporters can read your content without getting distracted. Consider using a sans serif typeface to increase readability.

  • Color scheme. Choose a few colors that work well together and, if possible, represent your nonprofit’s values. For example, if you’re an environmental nonprofit, you may choose to use green and blue to convey an earthy feeling and reinforce your nonprofit’s dedication to helping the environment.
  • Logo. Create a logo that is simple, visually appealing, and relevant to your nonprofit’s mission. Your supporter should be able to easily recognize it and understand its connection to your organization. Display your logo in prominent places on your website so site visitors know that all of your various web pages belong to your nonprofit.

Branding creates a cohesive and unified design across your website, helping your supporters feel more connected to your nonprofit and excited to engage with your website’s content. To add even more visual appeal, include images and videos of your nonprofit in action. Showcasing the impact of your organization’s work will inspire supporters to be a part of the solution and give to your organization.

Develop a strong donation page.

Your donation page is an important part of your nonprofit’s online fundraising strategy. However, if you don’t present a strong case for supporting your organization, site visitors may give to another organization instead. Plus, if your donation page doesn’t give donors the best user experience possible, they’ll likely navigate away from your website.

To increase the visual appeal of your donation page, incorporate visuals that show your nonprofit’s positive social impact in the community. Consider highlighting someone who benefited from your nonprofit’s work and including pictures that show this individual before and after your support. For example, if you’re an animal welfare organization, you can include photos of a stray dog that your nonprofit saved and rehomed.

Your donation page should also streamline the giving process, so limit your prompts to only the most essential information, like your supporters’ contact information, donation amount, and billing information. To make your page even more user-friendly, ensure that your donation page is optimized for mobile use. According to fundraising statistics from 360MatchPro, mobile users made up 33% of online donation transactions last year. Expanding your audience to mobile users makes donating to your nonprofit convenient on any device and will help boost donations.

The Gist

In order for your nonprofit to grow and reach as many people as possible, you’ll need a well-designed website. With a CMS that takes care of all the technical logistics for you, you can easily build a website that’s visually appealing, informative, and inspiring. Use these tips to develop a strong digital presence that will motivate your supporters to get involved by volunteering, donating, or offering other forms of support. Good luck!

Written by Murad Bushnaq at Morweb

This collaboration was arranged through a listing on Nexus Marketing’s HAPO (Help a Partner Out) page. HAPO is a free service that connects members of the social good sector for cross-marketing and educational opportunities, such as webinars, podcasts, and conferences. For more information on HAPO or Nexus Marketing’s other offerings check out their website,


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