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  • Incorporating Your Brand on Your Nonprofit Website: A Guide

Your website is one of the most valuable assets in your nonprofit’s tech stack. With this tool, you can spread the word about your cause, keep your supporters updated on your progress and goals, and empower your community to get involved with your work.

But most nonprofits have websites, so how can you make yours stand out and grab people’s attention?

It’s time to start thinking about your website as an online fingerprint that’s unique to your organization. And how do you make your website uniquely yours? By infusing your brand into your site’s design! 

The best nonprofit websites out there use this strategy. Showcasing your nonprofit’s brand in natural ways throughout your website can build trust with your audience and encourage people to see your site (and organization as a whole) as a vehicle for positive change.

In this guide, we’ll give three tips for effectively incorporating your brand on your website:

  1. Identify the brand elements you’ll use.
  2. Prominently display your branding throughout your site.
  3. Don’t forget about your donation page!

As you begin working toward branding your website, remember you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Aim to make your website an online resource that is cohesive with the rest of your operations. This will boost your nonprofit’s trustworthiness and professionalism in the eyes of your community, leading to more engagement.

Let’s jump right in!

1. Identify the brand elements you’ll use.

Branding can get complicated, and the word alone might conjure mental images of pages-long style guides and brand books with rigid specifications for what is and isn’t “on brand.” If you’ve never sat down to create a resource like this, you might be thinking, “I’m not sure my nonprofit even has a brand!”

Here’s the good news—your nonprofit does have a brand.

Your brand is simply everything that makes your nonprofit special. It includes everything from the graphic design style you use on your fundraising flyers and the way you talk about volunteer opportunities on social media to the paint color on the walls of your facility.

As you think about the elements that make up your brand, try to categorize them as visual or abstract:

  • Visual brand elements are things like your organization’s name, logo, slogan, color scheme, and typography.
  • Abstract brand elements include your brand voice, mission, vision, and values.

You can use both visual and abstract brand elements on your website. Obviously, visual brand elements will be more apparent, as they’ll be folded into the overall look and feel of the site. But you can use abstract brand elements throughout the site in your written and multimedia content to let your visitors know who you are and what you’re trying to accomplish.

2. Prominently display your branding throughout your site.

Once you’ve thought through all that your unique brand entails, it’s time to let it shine throughout your site. You should use your brand elements where you know visitors are likely to see them.

For example, you might include your logo in the static header that shows up on all your pages, or make sure your color scheme is applied to the entire site. Additionally, you could add your vision statement to your campaigns page, or update the language in your blog posts so that it’s more consistent with how you talk about your cause in person.

But you’ll need to approach this carefully. Like too much of one spice in a pot of soup, it is possible to overdo it with branding your website. 

To help you stay on the right track, here are some tips from Cornershop Creative’s guide to nonprofit web design practices:

  • Choose a basic template for each type of page that you can expand as needed. This will help you stay consistent with the look and structure of each page, as well as how you’re applying your visual brand elements to the site.
  • Keep the same menus, headings, and color palette on every page. If these things differ from page to page, it can confuse visitors. They may click through to a page and think they’ve somehow wound up on another site if it looks drastically different.
  • Use similar images or illustration styles from page to page. This will add another layer of consistency to the site—but make sure you’re still adding variety here and there.

As you incorporate your brand into your site, remember that more important than your colors or typography, your website should make your cause the star.

Focus on substance over style, and the site as a whole will come across as focused on your beneficiaries and work, just like you want it to!

3. Don’t forget about your donation page!

Often, nonprofits think so much about getting more donors that they begin to view their donation pages as a strictly transactional tool. For example, they might think about how fast it is to fill out the donation form but not pay attention to the look and feel of the page.

Of course, it’s not a bad thing to want more donors or make the donation experience easier for them—they make your organization’s world go ‘round. But savvy nonprofits will think about their donation pages in a larger context, as a tool that helps convert visitors to donors and further communicates your brand’s message. 

Thus, you should pay attention to your donation page as you brand the rest of your site! You don’t want the page to fall by the wayside and be a sterile, unwelcoming landing spot that doesn’t feel connected to your mission or organization.

Look for simple ways to add your brand to your page and form to remind donors why they’re giving to your organization. You might, for example, add a photo of your beneficiaries at the top of the page or add your logo to your form.

So, remember this: when branded to your organization, your donation form can be a fundraising tool and so much more!

With these three tips, you’ll be well on your way to incorporating your brand on your nonprofit website effectively.

To take your branding efforts to the next level, Cornershop Creative recommends working with a nonprofit website design company. A professional agency can help your nonprofit’s website look one-of-a-kind!

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