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Website & Technology

3 Ways to Effectively Brand Your Nonprofit’s Website

Author: Sonia Urlando
April 29, 2023
🕑 5 min read

Your nonprofit’s identity comes down to one major thing—your brand! Strong branding helps drive your mission, because it helps the public recognize and, ultimately, support you. Your brand says a lot about you! It can help convey your values and market one consistent image to the public, no matter which channels they find you on.

And where are they most likely to find you? Likely, your nonprofit’s website! Ensuring your branding is clear and strong on your nonprofit’s website can help to build trust, reinforce awareness, and allow your organization to become more recognizable to your visitors. 

Is branding your website really that big of a deal? Yes! Let’s imagine a scenario together:

You see a friend on social media post about an organization’s event, check out their page on social media, and click through to their website to learn more about what they do. But when you land on the website, you’re confused by the inconsistencies between the social media event page and the website, as the logo and design are different from what you’d expect. You leave before reading about their mission and programs.

We can avoid that scenario with website branding! To better market your mission, your organization’s website needs to follow your branding and represent your organization in the same way that it’s represented in other places.

Let’s cover the top three ways to make sure your website is effectively branded.

1. Build on your existing brand

Your brand helps people recognize you no matter where they’re interacting with your organization. Think about what your nonprofit brand may include. Even more important, consider the images, colors, thoughts or feelings that might come to mind for supporters when they consider your brand.

Your organization most likely already has some semblance of a brand, whether you’ve created it intentionally and documented it in a style guide or not. For example, it might include:

  • A well-designed nonprofit logo
  • A color scheme that you tend to gravitate toward
  • Design and photo preferences
  • Notes about your organization’s voice and messaging
  • Any other helpful tidbits about how you want to present your organization to potential supporters and the community at large

Use what you have and build upon that to brand your website. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel! In fact, building upon what you’re already doing (and what your audience is familiar with) and course-correcting where necessary will be less confusing for folks in the end.

By working toward consistency across all of your marketing efforts, you’ll be able to build trust and showcase your nonprofit’s professionalism on the website and wherever else your organization is present, from posters around town to donor thank-you notes.

Click through to claim your 60-day trial of WildApricot to create effective QR codes that will speed up event check-in.

2. Include both visual and abstract elements 

Let’s dive into the types of elements that you may decide to include as part of your organization’s branding. To help with a consistent image and message across all of your channels, those brand elements should include both visual representations of your organization, like your logo, as well as more abstract elements, like your organization’s voice.

Visual Brand Elements

  • Your organization’s name
  • Logo
  • Color scheme 
  • Typography 
  • Imagery and photography style

Abstract Brand Elements

  • Your mission and vision statements
  • Notes about your brand voice
  • A list of your organization’s values
  • Boilerplate language around what you do and how you help
  • Standards for community member and donor relations

Compile each of these elements and any others that you want to remain consistent on your website and beyond (paired with notes on how to use each one) into a style guide for your organization that you and your whole team (including board members and volunteers!) can reference regularly.

This way, you have something to refer to when you create or update content on the website or whenever new opportunities for branding arise. You’ll have much better luck staying consistent if all of the branding elements are documented together in one spot!

3. Be consistent across all your web pages.

Cornershop Creative’s guide to nonprofit web design best practices says that all of the pages on your website should be consistent in both the look and feel of the page. That means they should all be branded!

One way to easily carry consistent branding throughout the site is to build those elements into a header and footer that will be visible from every single page. For example, it’s best practice to include your logo, organization name, and primary colors in the header and the footer. This helps reinforce that brand recognition no matter where someone is on the site.

Once you have your style guide compiled, conduct a simple audit of your website to work toward consistency. You’ll want to ensure each branding element is carried through to each page on your website and take note of pages where the branding could be improved.

For example, the homepage is often one of the most design-heavy pages on the site. While we want that page design to be unique, it should not be so unique from other pages like your donation page or online directory that it looks like it doesn’t belong. As you’re reviewing this page, you’ll want to make sure any design elements fit with the rest of the website, including colors, fonts, photos, and graphics.

Some updates, like typography and color scheme, will likely apply to the entire website, while others, like the voice and imagery, will likely be made on a page-by-page basis.

Make your nonprofit website branding shine!

Nonprofit branding is incredibly important when it comes to building awareness and trust with both new and existing supporters. And your website is a natural hub for those learning about and engaging with your organization. While all of your marketing materials should be branded to carry those benefits across all that you do, your website should be first on the list when it comes to making updates.

Feeling overwhelmed already? Luckily, branding your website is easy with the help of a nonprofit web design agency. While there are updates you can make on your own, these folks are specially equipped to take your style guide, conduct an audit of inconsistencies on your website, and do the work through your website builder to ensure each page on your site is branded effectively.

With your freshly branded website, all who visit will have a clear picture of who you are and what you represent. They’ll trust the information is from your organization, and that the actions they take on the site are in support of it. And they’ll remember and pay attention when you reach them in other channels. No confusion or inconsistencies!

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