It’s never easy to stand out from the crowd, especially online. And it’s even harder when you’re a non-profit. But this gallery of the best non-profit websites showcases some organizations that we feel are simply doing it right. They implement key features in design and visual concept that keep their users coming back, and they continue to inspire new possibilities for humanity. They have simple, yet well-designed sites that are beautiful, innovative, navigationally intuitive and deliver strong messages about their cause. If you find a few sites that you really like, we’d love to talk to you about them.
Invisible Children is a movement seeking to end the conflict in uganda and stop the abduction of children for use as child soldiers. In the spring of 2003, three young filmmakers traveled to Africa in search of a story. What started out as a filmmaking adventure transformed into much more when these boys from Southern California discovered a tragedy that disgusted and inspired them, a tragedy where children are both the weapons and the victims. After returning to the States, they created the documentary “Invisible Children: Rough Cut,” a film that exposes the tragic realities of northern Uganda.s night commuters and child soldiers. The film was originally shown to friends and family, but has now been seen by millions of people. The overwhelming response has been, “How can I help?” To answer this question, the non-profit Invisible Children, Inc. was created, giving compassionate individuals an effective way to respond to the situation. Their site is clean, user-friendly, and it’s visually appealing while still being chucked full of valuable information.
The Greenpeace website does a lot of things right. Links for donating or becoming a volunteer are featured prominently in their side navigation. Their media center page is also displayed prominently. The site features integrated mutli-media content in the form of both slideshows and videos, as well as both blogs and a news section.
The Kiva website has a very simple and straightforward design. Right at the top of the page they explain exactly what Kiva does, and they make it very easy for visitors to lend money. They also have a featured entrepreneur on their home page, further encouraging others to join. They also feature an “About” link prominently in the header, which then links to tons of additional information, including a press center.
The New York City Coalition Against Hunger offers up an excellent website. Links to volunteer and donate are featured right on the home page. In the top navigation they include prominent links to both their “Media” section and an “About” section. Recent updates from the NYCCAH Hunger Blog are also included right on the home page.
The ASPCA website makes it immediately apparent through images and small text areas on their home page what the organization is all about. Donation links are featured both in the main content area of the home page and in the top navigation. Links to the “Pressroom” and “About” sections are also included in the top nav. Links to additional resources are also featured prominently.
One is one of my favorite non-profit sites. A multi-media slideshow is featured prominently on the home page, showcasing featured content. Links for more information, the issues the organization is interested in, and links to join or take action are all featured prominently in the top navigation and elsewhere on the home page. The site also includes a blog (featured on the home page).
The Michael J. Fox Foundation website offers a great home page that includes tons of great information without looking cluttered. Links for living with Parkinson’s, about the foundation, research programs, and how to help are included prominently in the middle of the page. A donation link is also included in the top navigation. And news both about Parkinson’s and the Foundation are also featured prominently on the home page.
The Save the Children website is an excellent example of getting a lot of information into a small space while keeping everything de-cluttered and user-friendly. Links to donate or sponsor a child are included in the top navigation as well as below the slideshow on the home page. There are also links to more information and for other ways to become involved featured prominently. Information on the site is presented in a concise and user-friendly manner, providing plenty of information in easy-to-read chunks.
The Oxfam America website uses color to make their donation button stand out on the home page. While the majority of the site is designed in shades of green and tan but the donation link is orange. It stands out without being garish. News is prominently featured on the home page, along with plenty of information about what Oxfam does.
The NRDC website also makes use of color to distinguish between different sections of their site. The “Donate” and “Take Action” links are denoted in orange. “Blogs” are in green and everything else, including their “About” and “Policy” page links are in blue. Multi-media content is featured prominently on the home page, as is recent news.
The Amnesty International site makes great use of color, including a bright yellow header and accents mixed with shades of gray and black. A slideshow on the home page shows current news and research. Links to join, donate, or take other action are featured prominently in the sidebar and a link to media information is included in the header. The home page also includes plenty of current news and resources below the main content up top.
The slideshow on the home page of The Nature Conservancy’s site is one of the best I’ve seen, offering up information about various programs and initiatives they support. The site also includes other multi-media content from the home page. Links to donate, become a member, volunteer and other ways to help the organization are highlighted in yellow in the sidebar, making them easy to find while still fitting with the understated overall site design.
Witness takes a slightly different approach to their site, as monetary donations are not their primary focus. They use their site to effectively solicit video contributions showing human rights violations from countries around the world. Links to news, their media archive, and ways to get involved (including training) are included prominently in the top navigation.
The Product (Red) site features products that support the organization prominently in a slideshow on their home page. They also include links on other ways to get involved, their blog, and learning resources in the sidebar. The overall site design is simple, which is primarily achieved by the limited color palette (red, gray, and white).
The Susan G. Komen for the Cure site makes great use of space in their header for highlighting important links, including ones to pages for women recently diagnosed with breast cancer, how to make a difference, and a page to share your own breast cancer story. The donation link is featured in the header, making use of a bright pink button where the rest of the header is gray. This is another site that features a slideshow prominently on the home page.
The Take The Walk site makes great use of bold graphics and a slideshow on the home page to immediately capture visitor attention. A graphic showcasing how many miles have already been walked and how many left until they reach their goal is the main highlight of the home page. Below the graphic are the different ways people can contribute and the different causes for which they’re raising money.
Change.org is a different kind of non profit site. Their aim is to raise awareness and get individuals to take action on a variety of different causes. Because of this, their “Causes” section is the most prominent feature on their site. Causes are featured in the main content of the home page as well as in the top navigation. Other prominent features are tools to help individuals get started with their own causes.
The Charity: Water site is a great example of how simple but bold design can make a huge impact. The donate button is red, while the rest of the site employs black and dark gray navigation. Three images linked to different resources on the site make up the bulk of the home page, creating a huge impact without being complicated or fussy. Links for the media, getting involved, and other resources are easily found in the top nav.
The Breadline Africa Worldwide Blogger Bake Off site is one of the more Web 2.0-ish non profit sites I’ve seen. It’s easy to find information about the project right on the home page, including brief explanations of every aspect of the event. Links to join the bake off, donate, and to other resources are also featured prominently, as is a counter to show how much money has been raised so far.
The Blog Action Day site changes each year based on the cause being blogged about (as well as changing for updates before and after the actual event). In its current incarnation, it’s providing a recap of 2008′s Blog Action Day focusing on poverty. Statistics are prominently featured on the home page (including a chart showcasing the percentage of all blog posts that day focusing on the cause), as is a link to more information about what Blog Action Day actually is. The home page also includes a place to sign up for updates on the next event, press information, and information on how to donate.
The Ducks Unlimited site focuses on providing useful and relevant content more than anything else. The sidebar is filled with links on how to get involved, their photo gallery, newsletter, FAQs, and about information. A “Join” button is featured prominently in the header but doesn’t detract from the overall design of the site. The top navigation is filled with more links to resources provided by the organization.
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