Even nonprofits with established identities need to reevaluate from time to time in order to stay relevant. In many cases, a brand refresh may be necessary. What is a Brand Refresh? Simply put, a brand refresh is a makeover. The goal is to enhance...Read more.
If you're still putting out annual reports the old fashioned way—pulling stacks of statistics, rounding up designers, blowing your budget on print copies, etc.—this post might be an eye-opener for you. Not only are annual report websites generally...Read more.
We're back with our 2017 favorite examples (in alphabetical order) of what a great non-profit website looks like and what makes it stand out. Our hope is that by emulating these exemplary non-profits, you'll soon be able to provide an even greater...Read more.
Your organization's identity is tied to its logo. Well thought out design leaves a great first impression—compelling your community to engage more deeply. That's why we've dedicated ourselves to helping non-profits forge and refine their brands. We'...Read more.
Even nonprofits with established identities need to reevaluate from time to time in order to stay relevant. In many cases, a brand refresh may be necessary.
What is a Brand Refresh?
Simply put, a brand refresh is a makeover. The goal is to enhance your organization’s image, while staying recognizable—but how do we go about that?
Steps for a Brand Refresh:
Review your core values. Go back to the beginning. Remember all of those questions you sat down and asked yourself the first time around? It’s time to revisit them to see where your answers now differ.
Conduct stakeholder interviews. As a general rule, it’s good to do these once a year, as a tool to gauge the effectiveness of your mission, outreach, and short/long-term goals. Getting feedback from stakeholders (internal staff, your board of directors, community members, etc.) will help you determine which aspects of your brand need addressed.
Example question: Using a few keywords, how do you want people to see your brand?
Redefine your target audiences and personas. Determining your target audience was tough the first time around. Thankfully, you should have a better idea of who is most receptive to your message now. If you haven’t already, it’s time to start grouping common characteristics to create personas—or profiles of imaginary people.
Consider what they want from you and what you want from them in return. How can you guide them from being unaware of your organization to a loyal brand advocate? Keep fleshing them out.
Develop content that will interest them at various stages in their journeys.
Update your visual language. Mood boards are an effective way to discuss ideas, share insights, and clarify communication. They help visually explain a feeling and, in turn, develop a more authentic and successful brand. They’re where your brand refresh will be most evident, especially if your organization adopts a new logo.
Tweak your messaging. Great content is critical to achieving higher conversion rates and engaging user experiences. Based on your profiles’ points of view, consider what tone of organizational “voice” would best reach, engage, and compel community members and donors.
Audit your marketing materials. You’re almost there! It’s time to look at your print materials, event collateral, social media channels, newsletter templates, website, etc. Are they achieving measurable results? Do they need to be updated to reflect any of the aforementioned steps?
Update your assets. Your assets are your brand messengers. As such, it’s important to maintain cohesive marketing materials in print and online. Doing so will lead to more donations and more volunteer signups, so be sure to keep them up-to-date.
For a successful brand refresh, you’ll need a look at where you came from, where you are now, and where you want to go from here. The adjustments will take work, but the end results should be well worth it!
If you're still putting out annual reports the old fashioned way—pulling stacks of statistics, rounding up designers, blowing your budget on print copies, etc.—this post might be an eye-opener for you. Not only are annual report websites generally less expensive, they're also easy to fill with impactful media, easy to deliver, and easy to track. Plus, they're much more conscientious of the planet.
Letting your web team produce a professional site for this year's accomplishments could be a great step into the future for your non-profit—but don't take our word for it. Check out these reports from businesses and organizations who've already adopted the process to impressive results:
gridalternatives.org/annual-report-15 GRID Alternatives' adopted an online annual report format a few years ago and now simply updates the stats, graphics and stories each year with new information...saving time and money. Their annual report is styled in a familiar, almost print-like layout.
echoinggreen.org/2014 Echoing Green's 2014 report used floating side navigation to make it easy for visitors to jump to the information they were most interested in.
mailchimp.com/2012/ MailChimp's 2012 report featured an interactive element that allowed visitors to browse user statistics by demographic.
lemonly.com/2016report Lemonly encouraged visitors to interact with their 2016 report, using a circular beam of "light" to reveal facts.
2016.flama.is/ Flama laid out their 2016 report as a click-through slideshow.
one.org/annualreport/ One's bold use of color and typography combined with compelling photography and language really makes their annual report shine.
Styles may vary, but all successful annual report websites have two things in common: professional presentation and convenience. Sounds like a win, win! Need help with your next Annual Report? Drop us a line!
We're back with our 2017 favorite examples (in alphabetical order) of what a great non-profit website looks like and what makes it stand out. Our hope is that by emulating these exemplary non-profits, you'll soon be able to provide an even greater user experience for your own site visitors—generating all the support you need!
acumen.org: Acumen’s color palette is energetic and modern. Their use of angled boxes gives a flare of visual interest, further making them seem like a forward-thinking, innovative and compelling organization. Acumen also does of a good job of showing both the qualitative and quantitative nature of their impact through engaging story-telling and simple, yet bold infographics. Their incredibly strong and authentic photography is the final piece that really sets this website apart.
amnesty.org: Amnesty International's website combines news site-like feel with clear nonprofit impact. Their home page uses large, compelling photography with an action-oriented visual language. Their newsfeed allows visitors to filter by topic, region/country, and resource type. Combined with directive and clear iconography, this website takes bold and engaging to a new level.
care.org: Care’s website does a great job of showing visitors the various ways they can take action, get involved and share content. Their site illustrates a campaign focused, impactful layout through the use of engaging infographics with clear calls to action. Care’s bold use of iconography and mapping, takes their visual language to the next level.
charitywater.org: Charity Water's website is well-organized and illustrates ‘hope’ in its truest form. Clear water, happy faces and bright photography are used in perfect balance with simple iconography, impact numbers and well composed calls to action. Lastly, their color palette and typography are both welcoming and approachable and once navigated to, their donate page is simple and unintimidating, making it easy for visitors to support their work.
farmland.org: The American Farmland Trust uses a vibrant, earth-tone focused color palette that feels warm, engaging and modern. They display information in some unique ways such as their navigation dropdown taking the form of a full-page color overlay, their challenge statement is displayed through interactive statements paired with colorful infographics and impact numbers paired with compelling photography. Their internal pages display layers of information on a single page through clear hierarchies and language.
feedingamerica.org: Feeding America's use of bold colors, large photography and unobtrusive text overlays is simple, direct and to-the-point. Their content strategy is excellent—they know their audience(s)— headlines like, “No one can thrive on an empty stomach,” are extremely compelling and give site visitors an engaging introduction to the importance of their work.
gatesfoundation.org: The Gates Foundation website stands out with an extremely clear and well organized site navigation. Though they utilize a more minimalist approach with a mobile-focused, pop-out menu, site visitors are able to quickly and easily expand sub-menus to see the full depth and breadth of this organization. Their typography is also an excellent example of classic and modern, serif and sans-serif well combined for a sophisticated legibility.
girleffect.org: Girl Effect's about page guides you through a carefully crafted narrative. They clearly and directly explain why they exist, what the issue is that they solve and the impact statistics that support their work. Girl Effect’s writing is engaging and easily digestible, inspiring site visitors with their energy, optimism and ambition.
globalfundforwomen.org: Global Fund for Women combines striking visuals with bold color and modern typography, creating an engaging and sophisticated home page. Their ‘grant-making’ ‘voice’ and ‘join’ triad illustrates an ideal content strategy and information architecture—guiding site visitors from understanding their work to a clear call to action. Internally, in addition to traditional monetary gifts, the Global Fund for Women's donate page encourages support in a variety of forms, i.e. cause marketing, corporate matching, etc.
KIPP.org: KIPP’s website utilizes a vertically oriented, color block layout that offers succinct information about their work. Small animations are included to give a sense of light-hearted professionalism. Color overlays, tabbed interfaces and a variety of sliders are used to conserve space while allowing site visitors to smoothly peruse content more deeply.
namesforchange.org: Names for Change has a visually appealing, masonry layout with a unique and compelling interactivity—it truly makes you want to ‘play.’ Their color palette is vibrant, warm and accessible with clear contrast. The site’s simple language and modern typography gives a sense of innovative social change. Furthermore, Names for Change’s use of page overlays rather than click away pages allows users to quickly and effectively absorb information before returning to the main landing page.
nature.org: The Nature Conservancy’s home page is an excellent example of large, beautiful photography, sophisticated typography and a modern layout that is approachable, engaging and has an excellent page hierarchy. Their minimalist use of iconography, combined with a back and forth grid format, ads visual interest without over-crowding the white space. Finally, The Nature Conservancy hosts a carbon footprint calculator as a content offering to drive traffic that may not be as familiar with their work or website.
onedrop.org: One Drop’s website has a sophisticated modernity illustrated through its blue-centric yet warm color palette, action-oriented typography and compelling photography. The site makes good but sparing use of animations, clean and directive information architecture and bold infographics to help site visitors move smoothly throughout the site and engage more deeply.
oxfamamerica.org: Oxfam Foundation’s visual language has a youthful vibrancy all its own. Taking a different approach than similar organizations, their color palette is bright and endearing, using a chunky paper cut-out motif for iconography and typography.
pawschicago.org: Paws Chicago’s home page illustrates well-crafted, meaningful information sharing. Their header bolsters their impact numbers by tying them to navigation right off the bat. Rather than using a slideshow, they have a nice News & Features carousel that highlights import information directly below the first ‘fold’—giving it weight and allowing site visits to jump into what’s new. Continuing down the page, site visitors are given a clear understanding of Paws Chicago’s work is important, what they do and ample opportunities to engage, learn more and donate.
possiblehealth.org: The Possible Healthcare website is a very simple brochure. It does a very good job of staying extremely lean and making good use of 3rd party softwares rather than trying to have the website do its own heavy lifting (Classy for donations, BambooHR for job postings, and clever use of Medium for blog posts and the spreading of their work on a more international platform). A newsletter popup with a compelling photo and tagline captures visitors' attention on Possible Healthcare's site
wcs.org: The Wildlife Conservation Society’s home page is full of bright images of animals, yet still finds a way to give your eyes space to rest along the way. Their left-hand menu is stationary throughout and though it takes up slightly more real estate than a top, horizontal menu, its ‘stillness’ and color palette are welcoming and calm in contrast to the activity of the page content. Internal pages again have bold photography and modern typography with the navigation tucked away into a mobile menu.
By focusing on certain website elements (i.e. navigation, layout, forms, opt-ins, calls-to-action, content offerings, etc.), nonprofits like these have been able to generate swells of interest and support online. If you haven't already, you might consider giving some of their techniques a try!
Your organization's identity is tied to its logo. Well thought out design leaves a great first impression—compelling your community to engage more deeply.
That's why we've dedicated ourselves to helping non-profits forge and refine their brands. We've touched on what makes a great logo in the past, but here's a quick refresher:
A great logo is easy to recognize, versatile, and memorable. The ABC's of logo design (shape, color, and typography) have clearly come into play.
A great logo is instructive, visually representing your brand's personality, values, and what it does in a single idea. If you're not sure about this part, consider reading up on The Twelve Brand Archetypes.
A great logo is distinct and demonstrates what your organization alone brings to the table.
A great logo is practical—easy to read and easy to reproduce for both print and web.
A great logo is both timeless and open to evolution. Businesses and organizations are organic in nature, changing and adapting as they grow and develop. Therefore, a logo that is created at 'founding' will not necessarily suit your needs in ten years.
We know it sounds daunting. That's why we've prepared a sampling of thirty clever and effective examples to inspire you. Take a few minutes to study them, click through to their sites and see what they're doing to cause such a stir. Who knows—in addition to learning from their examples, you may just find a new cause near and dear to your heart!
Logos and Fundraising
Brand identification is critical to success in every aspect of your mission.
Online fundraising is also becoming a critical part of success for organizations. Over $1 billion (yes, with a "B") are donated each year online. Make sure your online strategy is working. Download our comprehensive guide to make sure you're not missing out. You'll be surprised how easy some of these recommendations are.