15 Best Nonprofit Websites to Get Inspired in 2021 – Online Donation Sites

15 Best Nonprofit Websites to Get Inspired in 2021 – Online Donation Sites

great nonprofit websites All great nonprofit websites use typography, design, and content elements to put across a clear message.

However, nonprofit and charity websites are often different from corporate brands and need to be designed with this in mind.

A nonprofit website needs to:

  • Clearly communicate your values
  • Explain the impact you’re making
  • Encourage viewers to engage and take action
  • Create a presence that is appealing to potential donors
  • Be accessible to those who need to use your services or want to work with you
  • Appeal to a wide range of demographics

And, in many cases, you have to do all of this on a tight budget.

These challenges are not impossible to overcome if you think strategically and have some empathy for the user. That means not overloading them with choices or too much text. Instead, make “calls to action” obvious and ensure that users can easily find further information.

Website users are generally impatient, so nonprofit websites need to deliver a clear and engaging message immediately. Otherwise, they run the risk of losing potential supporters before the site has had a chance to make its case.

In this post, we’ve listed 15 non-profit organizations’ websites that show how effective design can make a difference in how we perceive a cause. We’ve also included comments on what they do well.

They tend to follow online fundraising best practices, such as:

  • A streamlined donation process
  • Defining what problems need to be solved and their solution
  • Providing the motivation to be part of the solution
  • Telling the nonprofit’s “About Us” story in a concise but compelling way
  • Using visual imagery to make an emotional connection

If you’re designing a new site or want to refresh your existing site, it’s often best, to begin with, for inspiration.

Here’s a List of Best Nonprofit Websites in 2021:

  1. Dogs on Deployment
  2. Charity: Water
  3. Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA)
  4. Memphis Zoo
  5. World Monuments Fund
  6. Fuel Church
  7. Team Rubicon
  8. Uryadi’s Village
  9. Galapagos Conservancy
  10. Habitat For Humanity
  11. International Rhino Foundation
  12. Project Callisto
  13. Shanti Bhavan
  14. The Pad Project
  15. The New Zealand Public Television Trust


Dogs on Deployment

dogs-on-deployment donation sites

Dogs On Deployment provides “an online network for service members to search for volunteers who are willing to board their pets during their owner’s service commitments.” The website allows service members and volunteers to register and search for each other online. So, their nonprofit website is not just a PR/fundraising tool but actually how their work gets done.

Here’s what their website does well:

  • Navigation is simple, clear, and organized.
  • The large donate button on their homepage takes you directly to their donation form.
  • Impact statistics are prominently featured on the homepage.
  • The bright colorful graphics of the site combined with photos of soldiers’ pets and their stories are upbeat and heartwarming. This provides an immediate emotional incentive to give.


Charity: Water

charity-water fundraising site

Charity: water is a non-profit organization that brings safe, clean drinking water to people in developing countries.

They are among the Top 10 Nonprofits fighting the global water crisis.

Here’s what their website does well:

  • 100% of public donations go to water projects. Private and corporate donors fund all of the operating costs. This and other impact statistics are featured on the homepage.
  • The homepage prioritizes Calls to Action (like joining “The Spring”, a monthly giving community).
  • Colorful graphic elements allow you to easily navigate to sections of interest.
  • The multi-step donation form couldn’t be simpler.
  • The nonprofit website is focused on one thing: converting visitors to donors.


Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA)

DIFFA donate site DIFFA “raises awareness and grants funds to organizations that provide HIV/AIDS awareness, prevention, and direct care.”

Here’s what their website does well:

  • The website’s graphic design is clean and cohesive. The form follows function.
  • All pages feature their striking black, white, and red logo. This color palette extends throughout the site.
  • The site uses lots of white space, which gives it an uncluttered feel.
  • The main design element on the homepage is a revolving series of photo banners with headlines demonstrating impact.
  • The large red Donate button on every page leads you to a straightforward donation form.
  • The navigation features smooth floating menus that drop down when you mouse over a section.
  • The Get Involved section has many ways to participate in the organization including different kinds of volunteering.
  • The Events section calls attention to the social nature of this organization.


Memphis Zoo

Memphis-Zoo donation website The Memphis Zoo

Memphis Zoo is home to more than 4,500 animals. Ranked the “top zoo in the country” by two independent surveys, their mission includes preserving wildlife through education, conservation, and research. Their conservation programs circle the globe – from cooperative programs in China for giant pandas to local efforts to save the Louisiana pine snake.

Here’s what their website does well:

  • The site is eye-catching and designed to be fun to visit. An animated photo of a swimming hippo is the lead element of the homepage.
  • A combination of photos, videos, and live animal cams brings the zoo to life for the web visitor.
  • A “Support the Zoo” button at the top right includes volunteering as well as donating. There’s also a donate link to make getting to the donation form a one-click job.
  • Donors can choose whether to support daily operations, a Building Fund, or the zoo’s endowment fund.
  • All of the learning and visual elements are combined with easily accessible functional information on the homepage for visitors to the zoo. This includes hours, exhibits, events, a map, and information on planning a visit, etc.


World Monuments Fund

world-monuments-fund - Donation software

World Monuments Fund was founded in 1965 by “individuals concerned about the accelerating destruction of important artistic treasures throughout the world.” The World Monuments Watch “aims to identify imperiled cultural heritage sites and direct financial and technical support for their preservation.”

Here’s what their website does well:

  • Their homepage highlights their impact in terms of sites conserved, dollars raised, and the number of local people trained to protect heritage sites.
  • Beautiful photographs on a changing banner illustrate featured projects on the homepage
  • The type in a large, classic italic font is appropriate for the historical subject and easy to read against lots of white space.
  • “Get Involved” offers events, exhibitions, and travel opportunities.
  • The “Give” link highlighted in blue leads to a donation page with lots of ways to support the organization at various levels. Donors can choose to give in support of specific projects that interest them.


Fuel Church

Fuel-church donate website

Fuel Church is a Christian nonprofit in Florida that directs its outreach to young Christians with an unusual and creative website.

Here’s what their website does well:

  • Symbolic spiritual imagery dominates the homepage. The words “Carry the Fire” in large, bold type is overlaid upon a video of a man picking up and carrying a lantern out of the frame.
  • The cinematic narrative of carrying the “fire” of Christ’s love and teachings continues in a video embedded further down. There’s a long, silent video with the theme of spreading God’s word and helping others.
  • The top menu bar includes About, Next Steps, Events, Media and Give. Those clicking through to Give can make an online donation to one of three funds — general operations, church building or Benevolence (helping those in need).
  • Transcripts of sermons are also available on the site.
  • The Fuel Church website is stylish. They make great use of layering text and photos in a way that makes their site feel seamless and makes a powerful first impression.


Team Rubicon

Team-Rubicon donation website

Team Rubicon’s “hero message” on their homepage says it plainly: “Disasters are our business. Veterans are our passion.” The organization “unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams during disasters.”

Here’s what their website does well:

  • When you click on “See Our Story”, a pop-up window starts a short video with an audio track that explains what they do and shows scenes of veterans organizing and helping hard-hit areas and people.
  • Volunteers are the lifeblood of the organization, so veterans can sign up to join them through the website.
  • Clicking the red donate button from any page brings up a pop-up window with a simple donation form to give once or monthly. This is the most direct donation method possible.


Uryadi’s Village

Uryadis-Village donation tools

Uryadi’s Village is a smaller nonprofit founded in 2003 to help orphans and struggling families in Ethiopia. Their mission is to “enable the local people to develop orphan villages that are self-sustaining and not dependent on foreign financial aid.”

Here’s what their website does well:

  • Uryadi’s Village site spotlights its impact through beautiful imagery, plus galleries of photos and embedded videos.
  • They offer various options for financial and volunteering support, including child sponsorships.
  • The homepage highlights the organization’s mission and projects. It encourages website users to engage with them through donate buttons or signing up for their newsletter.
  • Annual reports allow potential donors to learn more about how the organization uses its funding.


Galapagos Conservancy

Galapagos-conservancy donation software

Galapagos Conservancy focuses exclusively on Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands. This differs from other international conservation organizations that have programs that change with institutional priorities.

Here’s what their nonprofit site does well:

  • They use a revolving animated banner on their homepage that provides updates to their site and reflects their changing priorities over time.
  • Creative and simplistic home page elements guide the visitors to different website areas.
  • The menus are also very creative with a clear hierarchy.
  • There’s an interesting “Travel” section that offers advice on how to travel sustainably in the Galapagos area. It also provides opportunities for volunteering.
  • Donate buttons and e-Newsletter sign-ups are featured on the homepage.
  • The site also translates into Spanish at the click of a button.


Habitat For Humanity

Habitat-4-Humanity donation sites

Founded in 1976, Habitat for Humanity works in all 50 states in the U.S. and in more than 70 countries. They’ve helped more than 22 million people achieve strength, stability, and independence through safe, decent, and affordable shelter.

Here’s what their online donation site does well:

  • This is a mature nonprofit with a complex website, but it’s well-organized and easy to navigate. This inspires confidence in the organization.
  • The Volunteer menu alone features 20 ways to volunteer, all of which provide FAQ’s, information, links, and forms to pursue further.
  • Information is presented in colorful blocks laid out in a grid format to help make it user-friendly.
  • The homepage has a call to action in the form of a Donate Now message and the donation form is one click away from any page.
  • Links to all the major social media outlets run across the top of each page, allowing visitors to share and engage further.


International Rhino Foundation

Intl-Rhino-Foundation donation site

The International Rhino Foundation is an animal advocacy group committed to supporting the endangered rhinoceros population worldwide.

Here’s what their nonprofit website does well:

  • Their mission is obvious since images of Rhinos are front-and-center.
  • A call to action link compelling visitors to support the animals is positioned in the center of the homepage banner image.
  • The majority of their projects have urgent fundraising goals. The website is designed to drive users toward donating.
  • Their donation form offers a variety of gift option suggestion. It’s well-branded to their mission, making it easy for prospective donors to take action to give.
  • From the homepage, visitors can easily click to find web pages that describe the organization’s successful track record, learn more about rhinos, or get involved in their global research.


Project Callisto

project-callisto great donation website

Sexual assault is very common but often never reported. According to Project Callisto’s website, “The process of reporting can feel isolating—or worse, retraumatizing. Reporting also comes with personal and professional risks.” This project is a unique tech start-up that attempts to change this by creating technology that combats sexual assault, supports survivors, and advances justice.

With one of their products, Callisto Campus, students at participating colleges can log into the site to record details of an assault anonymously. The site saves and time-stamps those records. That allows students to decide later whether they want to formally file reports with their schools or download their information and take it directly to the police.

Here’s what their donation website does well:

  • This very simple site is beautifully designed using a “less is more” color scheme of black, white, and blue. White text is used over black and white images of people’s faces.
  • Right under the homepage banner image are links to press clips about Callisto in prominent publications, offering social proof for the project. These articles also enable visitors to learn more from outside sources.
  • In very few words, the homepage text covers the problem, the solution, and their impact statistics.
  • Donate links in the main menu and on the homepage and donation page take you to the donation form.
  • A newsletter sign-up box is at the bottom of every page.


Shanti Bhavan

shanti-bhavan Great donation website

The Shanti Bhavan School in Tamil Nadu, India, was founded with one mission — to take India’s most deprived children and prove that if you give them access to the same technology and education that have enabled other Indians to thrive in globalization, they can too. The children come from families that make less than $2/day, mostly the “untouchables” (Dalit) caste who are denied education. Shanti Bhavan is the subject of the documentary film, Daughters of Destiny.

Here’s what their donation site does well:

  • This site is a spin-off website designed to raise funds for their second school. It is designed for that purpose alone — nothing other than this goal is included.
  • The homepage headline overlaid on a looping video banner makes the mission clear in 2 sentences.
  • Right under the banner video is a fundraising Goal Meter.
  • When you click on the Netflix link, you are taken to Netflix which starts playing the documentary. The YouTube trailer for the documentary is embedded in the homepage.
  • Clicking on “Learn More” takes you to a page with detailed information on the building project. This includes a 5-year timeline, architectural designs and a link to request a blueprint or line-item budget.
  • You can choose to donate to many designated purposes (vans, furniture, etc.) or donate an entire classroom that comes with naming rights.


The Pad Project

the-pad-project - Great nonprofit website

When adolescent girls start their periods in many rural and impoverished areas they often drop out of school due to a lack of feminine hygiene products as well as stigma and ignorance around menstruation. The Pad Project raises money to give women in deprived communities pad-making machines. They’re trained in how to make and sell reusable sanitary pads to their community. Their Oscar-nominated short film, Period. End of Sentence takes viewers inside the start of a local sanitary pad factory and sheds light on global acceptance of menstruation.

Here’s what their online site does well:

  • This is a small site that is organized and cleanly designed.
  • Right under the homepage title is a blue Donate button that takes you to a donation page.
  • To navigate the site you can click on the links or just scroll down the page to view all of the site pages in a sequence.
  • Under “The Documentary” there’s a description of the film with its colorful poster and a link to view the trailer on Vimeo.


The New Zealand Public Television Trust

new-zealand Donation website The New Zealand Public Television Trust is a public programming hub where film and television makers from New Zealand can screen NZ-oriented content. With their help, New Zealanders and others around the globe can find and watch programs for free.

Here’s what their website does well:

  • Programs are presented Netflix-style in colorful image squares filling the homepage. When you mouse over a square, a box pops up with more information about the program. It also includes the show’s run-time.
  • Visitors can click on a program to watch it directly from the site.
  • The Donate link takes visitors to an online donation page to support their operation.
  • The About page clearly explains what they do, why, and how.
  • The site seeks additional programming via its “Submit a Programme” link.

Some Honorable Mentions:


Conclusion

Some of these online donation websites obviously have bigger budgets than others, but they all manage to do an excellent job of promoting their organizations online. Whatever the budget, the keys to an effective and stunning website are the same:

  • Simple layout with easy navigation
  • Powerful images and graphics
  • Clear messaging and calls-to-action

The examples above are very diverse, but a few points of similarity stand out as worth considering when designing a nonprofit website:

  • Use a combination of media. These sites blend animation, photography, video, text, and graphic design to engage users in diverse ways and tell motivating stories.
  • Avoid clutter. Open any of these sites, and you’ll almost always see a large banner image with some overlaid text. A single image, video, or animation grabs the spotlight — and also makes it easier to resize the website for different screen sizes.
  • Make high-priority information easily accessible. While the banner images or videos are typically used to grab users’ attention, the more practical content doesn’t require much searching to find.

You may not have the budget to do everything these organizations are doing, but considering the attributes they share can help you stay focused on what makes a great nonprofit website with an emphasis on online fundraising.

Raviraj heads the sales and marketing team at Donorbox. His growth-hacking abilities have helped Donorbox boost fundraising efforts for thousands of nonprofit organizations.

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