The website of your charity is a very important tool to generate new supporters and connect with those already supporting you. Let’s take a look at some of the must-do’s that will help you to involve and inspire your website visitors, and maybe even turn them into one of your donors!

(We will use the websites of the amazing Oxfam America and Pencils of Promise as reference)


1. Your mission

Use a catchy and clear oneliner or catchphrase to say what you are doing.

Charity website tips 01 - Chasing Change


2. Current campaign

Highlight your current campaign, especially if you want interaction with your visitor. If you’re not running a specific campaign, show your general goal. Seen here is Oxfam’s campaign ‘#withsyria’ (the campaigns highlighted on their homepage changes regularly).

Charity website tips 02 - Chasing Change


3. Show where the donated money is spent on; success stories / impact

You can do this through featured stories or by sharing numbers. Oxfam actually puts the successes into the hands of the visitor by saying “How you’re helping” without them doing anything yet.

For those who already did support, keep them up to date with all the amazing work you’re doing.

Charity website tips 03 - Chasing Change


4. Use images of those you are helping

Use strong and emotive images of those your cause is helping. But don’t overdo it, we believe we surpassed the era of the extremely stereotypical sad images and showing too much gore too frequently might desensitize your audience. Keep it positive if possible!

Charity website tips 04 - Chasing Change


5. Donate button (or form)

Once you informed and motivated people about your cause they might want to chip in financially. Don’t overdo it but this one must be easy to find. Both Oxfam and Pencils of Promise (like many others) have a donate button in their navigation (top) and a second one right below their stories (bottom).

Charity website tips 04 - Chasing Change


6. Give visitors the tools to help

Next to the donating-option, motivate the visitors to take action themselves; start a fundraiser, partnership, volunteering etc.

Charity website tips 06 - Chasing Change


7. Connect!

Add the opportunity for people to sign up for a newsletter and definitely direct them to your social media channels. Social media links are mostly shown in the website’s footer area (accompanied by other spots throughout the website)

Charity website tips 07 - Chasing Change



8. Showing labels/certification

If your charity has a label or certification, definitely show this in your footer or at the donate-section. For some visitors it might be the reason to donate money or not. And in some cases it makes donating more attractive because gifts can be tax deductible.

Charity website tips 08 - Chasing Change


9. Platform for volunteers

If you are able to work with volunteers, maybe think about creating a dedicated platform or forum. Inspire them with stories of other volunteers to get them to join (don’t forget the visuals!) and let them connect with each other. A strong community of volunteers online will result in motivated and lasting volunteers in the field. A great example is Greenwire, the volunteers-platform of Greenpeace.


So what about the visual design?

Just like other design fields, web design trends change very often. But observing many charity websites throughout the decades, some main aspects remained the same:

– Easy to navigate and a clear call to action

– Giving the visitor the feeling he or she can help

– Striking images

– Moving people and bringing across emotions


We can help you

Think your charity could use a redesign or want to launch your charity with a new website? Contact us! We love to help out people who are trying to make the world a better place for everyone. We’ll take care of your (online) presence so you can keep your focus on doing a good job!

Do you have more tips for charity and nonprofit websites? Feel free to share your views in the comment-section below, we would love to hear from you!


Screenshots used are from March 2016

2017-05-18T19:19:55+00:00 General, Tips|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Sam February 23, 2017 at 8:34 am - Reply

    This is quite a complete and very useful list, however as a User Experience Designer I can note one flaw on the oxfam website regarding the donate button (none to your fault of course). It’s red/orangey-red, which is a terrible call-to-action-colour.
    Buy, Donate or any button you want people to interact with (especially when you want their money) should hardly ever use a reddish colour scheme. We humans tend to associate red with ‘stop’. I’ve seen far too many negative user testing results regarding a red button to ever use it again.
    And I think loads of charity websites forget your nr.3 on the list, which is crucial because people have become sceptical about donating their money.
    Keep up the good work!

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