Non-Profit Website Design Guide For Your Organization

If you’re running a non-profit, you need to have a quality website. These days, having an online presence is more important than ever to raise awareness of your brand and to reach as wide an audience as possible. However, there are some differences between a regular website and the kind of website that works best for a non-profit organization. So, what do those differences look like? And how can you make sure that your website is right for your company? Here is our second article in a series we call our Non-Profit Website Design Guide.

Non-Profit Website Design Guide Tip #1.
Make Your Website Simple

make your website simple

KISS, or Keep It Simple, Stupid, is an important design philosophy when considering user experience and storytelling. Less experienced designers tend to over-think, over-complicate and ultimately over-design for their clients. A bloated, messy design with unnecessary treatments and elements will distract your audience from the narrative. It will confuse them about what they are looking for and how they can find it. It will detract from the overall usability and performance of your website. Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Simplicity is a gold standard for great non-profit website design. This has never been more relevant than with todays mobile users. A website that looks great on a larger desktop may look squeezed and difficult to read on a smartphone. The navigation may get lost, rendering the website useless. Stick with simplicity as your guiding principle. Imagery, use of color and font types are core elements of good non-profit web design. But don’t over-do do them. Create a visual user experience that works for your audience and the devices they are using to visit you.

Non-Profit Website Design Guide Tip #2.
Make Your Website Speak

non profit website design

As they say in marketing, Content is King. This rule applies to the web with equal weight. Content is ultimately what creates a website. Content creates the narrative. Content drives the storytelling. Content is a critical quality in making a great non-profit web design.

This is where your skills as a word-smith come in to play. A great non-profit web design requires strong, convincing and “evergreen” content that is unique and free of any potential plagiarism that can ruin your reputation and search rankings with Google. Great non-profit web design has great content, which is a critical factor in converting site visitors to donors.

Non-Profit Website Design Guide Tip #3.
Make Navigation Intuitive

non profit website

Simple, intuitive and consistent navigation is a critical factor in user experience and non-profit website performance. Good navigation allows users to find what they are looking for with the minimum effort and allows them to engage with the website as they see fit. Poor navigation leads to high bounce rates, as once the user becomes confused or frustrated they are likely to leave your website in search of a better experience.

Good navigation is based on sound Information Architecture, which is a process that takes place early on in the development of the website. We describe this process in detail in our article entitled Website Redesign: Our Methodology.

Non-Profit Website Design Guide Tip #4.
Make Your Website Fast

make your website fast

The speed of your website is an often overlooked but painfully undervalued quality of a great non-profit web design. How important is website speed to the overall success of your online presence? Pretty important. Consider that for every one-second delay in load time your website’s bounce rate – the rate at which someone visits your website and leaves after viewing just one page – increases by 15%. As a matter of statistics, if your website takes longer than 4 seconds to load you will lose half your visitors before they even finish downloading your home page! Consider also that more and more people use mobile devices as their preferred choice for exploring the web. With mobile web traffic we must factor in latency and bandwidth issues on mobile networks. By increasing you website speed by just one second you are creating a better user experience, higher engagement and increased visitor satisfaction.

Website speed is important for all aspects of your website. Browsing multiple pages, making purchases, downloading documents – all of these add up to increased load time. Faster website speed leads to faster online experiences and quicker transactions, leading to higher conversions and happy donors that will tell their friends about you.

To learn more about the factors involved in website speed check out our article How To Increase Website Speed For WordPress.

Non-Profit Website Design Guide Tip #5.
Make Your Website Accessible

non-profit website design

If you’re running an organization, having a strong non-profit website design is absolutely essential. Regardless of your cause, having a well-designed online presence is one of the best ways to extend your reach and to increase your donor base. However, even though websites are a necessity these days, they aren’t as easy to set up as you might think. In fact, they raise a number of ways in which you and your organization can fall foul of regulations. For example, have you heard of ADA Title III compliance? If not, it’s time to find out more about the importance of having an ADA-Compliant website now and to learn how you can take the necessary steps to protect yourself so that you can avoid a potential lawsuit.

The issue of compliance has become a major discussion in 2020. The world wide web has evolved to the point that it must meet or exceed many of the laws and regulations we experience in the real world. This includes accessibility. To learn more ADA-compliance check out our article ADA-Compliant Website: Why Is It Important?

Non-Profit Website Design Guide Tip #6.
Make Your Website Visible

non-profit website design

What is the point of having a great web design if no one knows it exists? This brings up the subject of visibility as our final principle of great non-profit web design. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is aimed at increasing your website’s visibility. SEO requires patience and expertise to be successful and the marketplace is flooded with so called Black Hat charlatans that can actually do more harm than good. Every successful SEO campaign begins with a technical review of your website to identify problems that will need to be corrected before your SEO campaign can truly begin. All the SEO strategies in existence will not be successful until you have a website that is properly search engine-friendly. Without proper SEO you will not have a great web design.

Check out our article Looking To Hire A SEO Expert? What You Need To Know.

Non-Profit Website Design Guide Tip #7.
Make Your Website Secure

make your website secure

WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS and is the preferred platform for most developers these days, but this success does come with a price: security vulnerabilities. The open source nature of WordPress lowers the barrier to entry for would-be hackers as there is no cost associated with licensing. Plus, WordPress has a huge community of developers that provide themes and plugins that may expose your website to security breaches.

It is imperative that you make your non-profit website secure. To make your site secure, follow these simple tips:

  • Use a strong login password and change it frequently
  • Keep your plugins, themes and WordPress core software up to date
  • Do not store donor data on your website, use a third-party service such as Network For Good
  • Assign unique passwords to all admin users
  • Remove any admin users prior to termination
  • Backup your website at least once a week

Make Your Website Mobile Friendly

make your website mobile friendly

In 2020, more people use their smartphones to access websites than their desktop computers. The need for a strong experience on mobile devices has never been more relevant. A clean, consistent user experience on desktop, tablet and smartphone is a requirement in today’s non-profit web design. The solution is called Responsive Web Design.

A responsive website is an approach to web design that places User Experience (UX) at the forefront of importance. A responsive website will adapt to the screen size, device and orientation of each user, creating an optimal UX for desktops, tablets and smartphones. A responsive website does not represent a new technology, rather it represents a new approach to existing technologies. A responsive website is built using a responsive framework, such as Bootstrap and Foundation.

To learn more Responsive Web Design check out our article What Is A Responsive Website?


Here at D E E P B L U E, we’re experts in the field of website creation and have designed many sites for non-profit clients – just take a look at our portfolio! As a team of highly skilled web designers, you can depend on us to work closely with you and to create the perfect website that meets all your expectations, makes your organization stand out from the crowd and helps you to effectively achieve all of your goals. We are a nationally recognized San Francisco web design firm with many years of experience in working with some of the biggest brands in the marketplace, and with our strong reputation for reliability and trustworthiness, we’re a top choice for your non-profit company website.

D E E P B L U E is a proud supporter of the Save Our Seas Foundation & White Shark Conservation Project.

Save Our Seas Foundation White Shark Project

D E E P B L U E Knows the Market

D E E P B L U E is a San Francisco web designer that delivers measurable results. Learn more about our non-profit web design services.

When it comes to these hot new trends, the team here at D E E P B L U E is ready and willing to use them when designing your site. In fact, many of the new trends follow the work we have completed, making us proud web design trendsetters. If you want to get your hands on a site that is innovative and designed beautifully then give us a call, we’d love to work with you.



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