A strong nonprofit website requires several different design elements, from mobile optimization to streamlined navigation. However, it’s not only important to consider the function of your website, but also how well your digital presence conveys your identity and communicates your brand to your audience. After all, a generic website that performs well but doesn’t show who you are is unlikely to convert site visitors into donors.
This is where infusing visual and verbal branding elements into your nonprofit website can help. By focusing on what you say and how you present it to your audience, you can thread your organization’s identity throughout your entire website. This will open the door to a variety of benefits, such as boosting your credibility, increasing your brand awareness, and inspiring donors to give.
Branding can make a huge impact on whether new site visitors feel inclined to explore your website further and get involved, so it’s important to establish web branding guidelines. In this article, we’ll break down the top verbal and visual branding elements to add to your web design so you can optimize your digital presence.
Verbal branding refers to the written choices you use throughout your website’s content, from the way you describe your organization to the tone you carry. Let’s take a closer look at the different verbal branding elements to add to your nonprofit website.
1. Mission Statement
Your mission is the guiding force for your organization. While it might be abundantly clear to your organization’s staff and volunteers what you’re striving to achieve, new site visitors won’t know your nonprofit’s purpose unless you clearly articulate it in a mission statement.
Your mission statement should include the following details:
- The problem that necessitated your nonprofit’s existence
- The community your organization serves
- The ways your organization serves them
The best nonprofit websites display their mission statements prominently on their homepage so people can learn about their purpose as soon as they land on their website. Your nonprofit likely executes a lot of different projects to bring your mission to life, and you probably won’t be able to encompass all of them in a single statement. Go more in depth with what your organization does in a fleshed out “About Us” page and highlight how you’re making a difference.
Values are defining principles that shape your nonprofit’s culture and inform how you go about accomplishing your mission. For example, many organizations value:
Include a list of your values on your “About Us” page alongside your mission statement. However, you don’t just want to tell supporters what you value. Show these values in action, such as in your blog content by describing your latest project or on your donation page by highlighting how you improved a beneficiary’s life with donors’ support.
Your tone refers to the way you present information about your organization. For example, some nonprofits use a friendly, casual tone to appeal to younger audiences and create a welcoming culture that invites supporters to learn more.
On the other hand, there are nonprofits that use a more professional, formal tone. This can be effective for communicating a serious issue and establishing your nonprofit as an authoritative organization in the community.
Reflect on your target audience and your organization’s mission to determine the tone of voice that is most appropriate for your nonprofit. Once you’ve found your tone, make sure to use it consistently throughout your web content and other marketing materials. This will help boost your brand visibility and communicate trust to supporters.
Now that you’ve considered your verbal branding, it’s time to take your content to the next level with your visual branding. Visual branding helps to grab supporters’ attention and make your content easier to digest. Let’s go over the key visual branding elements you’ll need to feature on your website.
4. Color Scheme
Your color scheme can communicate a lot about your mission and who you are to your supporters. This is because different colors evoke various feelings, so it’s important to not only consider what colors look good together, but also what these colors are saying about your organization.
Kwala’s guide to nonprofit branding lists out the following popular colors and some common color associations to consider:
- Green: Green is often tied to the environment and helps to communicate growth and stability. Adding this to your color scheme can be a good idea if your mission is ingrained in the natural world.
- Red: Red expresses passion and excitement and is often associated with immediacy. Many medical organizations use red because of its ties to health and emergency situations.
- Blue: Blue exudes professionalism, transparency, and trustworthiness. Blue is used by nonprofits in all different sectors, but is always a good choice if your mission has to do with the ocean.
- Yellow: Yellow is typically associated with optimism, happiness, and importance. This is a good color to use if your nonprofit has a friendly brand and wants to convey a welcoming feeling.
Some colors are also associated with distinct causes. For example, pink is often tied to breast cancer awareness and white is associated with bone disease, so keep these associations in mind and see if there are relevant color schemes that tie into your nonprofit’s mission.
There are a variety of fonts you can use for your organization’s header and body texts. However, that doesn’t mean you should select just any one! In fact, there are plenty of fonts out there that are difficult to read and would deter site visitors from reading your content.
When choosing the right fonts for your organization, start by looking at popular sans-serif fonts, like Arial and Helvetica, and choose the style that feels representative of your organization’s brand. Sans-serif fonts are used by many organizations because of their straightforward style and easy readability.
6. Images and Videos
One of the most critical components of your visual branding strategy is the different images and videos you use throughout your website. Powerful visuals reinforce your organization’s impact and the important work you do in the community, allowing supporters to emotionally connect with your mission. For example, an animal welfare organization might display before-and-after photos of a rescued cat on their donation page to inspire supporters to give.
However, not everyone can readily see the different images and videos you add to your website. This is why it’s important to work with a content management system (CMS) that offers built-in accessibility tools so people of all abilities can engage with your content. Morweb’s guide to the best nonprofit website builders recommends looking for a CMS that has:
- An accessibility widget so supporters can adjust any page to their exact preferences, including increasing the font size and changing colors to grayscale
- Front-end editing so you can add alt-text for non-text elements without any coding
- Ready-to-go nonprofit website templates that are already optimized for accessibility and can be easily customized to feature your fonts, color scheme, and visuals
Do your research to find the right website builder that prioritizes a user-friendly experience for you and for your supporters as they interact with your website. With an intuitive CMS, you’ll be in great shape to plug in your visual branding elements and take your website to the next level.
Branding is a powerful way to show supporters that your website belongs to your organization and introduce new site visitors to your cause. Think through each of your branding elements to ensure they align with your organization’s identity, then build them into your site to create a cohesive and visually appealing digital experience.