There are 1.5 million nonprofit organizations registered in the United States alone. Globally, those numbers increase drastically.
But what actually constitutes a nonprofit organization?
According to Cornell Law, a nonprofit organization is defined as:
A non-profit organization is a group organized for purposes other than generating profit and in which no part of the organization's income is distributed to its members, directors, or officers. Non-profit corporations are often termed "non-stock corporations." They can take the form of a corporation, an individual enterprise (for example, individual charitable contributions), unincorporated association, partnership, foundation (distinguished by its endowment by a founder, it takes the form of a trusteeship), or condominium (joint ownership of common areas by owners of adjacent individual units incorporated under state condominium acts). Non-profit organizations must be designated as nonprofit when created and may only pursue purposes permitted by statutes for non-profit organizations. Non-profit organizations include churches, public schools, public charities, public clinics and hospitals, political organizations, legal aid societies, volunteer services organizations, labor unions, professional associations, research institutes, museums, and some governmental agencies.
In short, nonprofit organizations are created for a specific purpose or goal -- usually social or political in nature. Their main goal isn't to generate a profit, but to achieve a higher, often loftier goal.
But just because these organizations don't work like normal businesses do for the sake of making money, they still need website designs that make and impact. In fact, it could even be argued that nonprofits require even more skill and expertise in the design department in order to open minds, change perspectives and drive change.
Nonprofits need to engage and connect on a personal level. They need to hit you where it hurts. They need to elicit some time of reaction that will push people to act, donate and participate. In web design, there are a number of elements that can help to promote these actions.
From clever animations to seamless navigation, there are aspects of these 10 nonprofit website designs that certainly stand out. If you're wondering what works and what doesn't, use these mission-based sites as your next inspiration.
10 Best Nonprofit Website Designs That Steal The Show
Do Something is an organization that aims to invigorate the youth of the United States and spur them to action. The organization acknowledges how much young people want to fight for social change, and aims to empower them to act.
This nonprofit is geared towards younger generations and that is emulated in the overall design. It's fun, it's exciting and it's different than many other nonprofit website designs that you'll find.
The background is a moody and classy purple. It's a very regal and fun color, and it certainly stands out considering most other designs make use of white and black backgrounds. This is a way of engaging with younger audiences by having more fun and giving off a more playful vibe.
This website is also ar more visually driven. There is some copy in bold, white font, but the majority of this design is made up of images in a very structured and organized layout. You can learn about causes, learn how you can act and see what others have done in the past.
This nonprofit works on a number of different causes and with a wide range of people ready to see change and who are willing to make that change happen. It's a nonprofit that wants to harness the power of younger generations, and their website design emulates that in its bright, colorful and playful tone.
Doctors Without Borders is a nonprofit dedicated to providing emergency medical relief to those in crisis all across the globe. They travel to places that have seen death, destruction and chaos in the form of conflict, epidemic, disaster and lack of healthcare access. These people are true heroes, offering the care and resources that these people need but cannot access.
This group of impassioned medical professionals travel the world to keep people alive, and their website design helps propel this sense of urgency. It plays with the colors black, white and red to make a statement -- one that demands to be seen.
Red is often the color of urgency and emergency, and this design takes full advantage of the feelings it evokes. Red is in the logo, in the typography and used as accents along the website. The black gives the design an overall moody and serious vibe, while the white stands as stark contrast forcing you to really look.
The layout of this site is also extremely powerful and clean. It's broken down into a clear menu bar, the main image that slides offering more information on causes and aid, and blocks below where people can learn more and show their support.
This simple navigation and urgency really make for a website design that pushes people to action and emphasizes their medical relief cause.
Kiva is an international nonprofit that connects lenders and borrowers across the globe. Their goal is to eliminate poverty through this simple lending institution, helping those less fortunate to start businesses and create better lives for their families.
The money lent can do to helping start or operate a business, send someone to school, and access clean energy and resources. And lenders can be sure that the money donated to Kiva goes directly towards these loans that help others grow, succeed and in some cases survive.
The Kiva website puts a profound emphasis on people. It's a personal and emotional website design that shows quite vividly the discrepancies between borrowers and lenders to further promote its goal and mission. Through photographs and bold typography, visitors can see quite clearly where their money is going and who it is helping.
The design also aims to alleviate any worries or concerns you might have. The layout is organized and direct. Numbers and statistics are very clearly displayed so potential users can have full trust and faith in this organization.
It's organized, clean and clear thanks to its layout, typography and imagery.
But the colors used also standout. The main color in this design is a bright green which is fitting for a site and organization that deals mainly with funds. The green runs along the menu bar and is used in the copy. It's a cute way to further drive its point home.
The Kiva website makes use of a colorful and clean design that emphasizes the personal struggles of its users. It's emotionally engaging, powerful and compelling.
The World Wildlife Fund's mission is simple: to conserve nature, save animals' lives, and eliminate the threats to our earth and its inhabitants.
The WWF is probably one of the most well-known nonprofits that exists today. They are a global organization dedicated to reducing human threats and saving endangered species. Their logo is iconic -- the playful and strong panda bear that has for years been an endangered species.
The organization works on providing feed to those that need it, working towards climate change initiatives, cleaning water and providing fresh water to communities that don't have access to it, conserving wildlife, preserving forests and saving our oceans.
That's a hefty list of causes to fight for, but this organization has the drive, the passion and the resources to tackle each and every one. And considering saving the planet is a task that is very difficult to fight on your own, it's important they can get their message out there to spur more action and participation from others.
This is an emotional undertaking, and their website is an impactful design that showcases their causes.
This is a moody and enlightening design, with simple colors and an organized layout that takes users on a journey. The helpful menu bar allows users to see the work they've done and the areas in which they specialize to get a better understanding of the problems our planet is facing and what initiatives they're taking to fix them.
Imagery is powerful and strong here, with photographs and bold copy taking up the majority of the homepage. Images are arranged in interesting shapes and layouts to draw your attention and pull you in.
It's emotionally compelling and informative. There's a lot of information on this website and the team wants you to absorb it all, so they created a user experience that was creative, simple and seamless.
The American Association For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Animals, otherwise known as the ASPCA, is a nonprofit that tugs on everyone's heartstrings. You've probably seen the commercials, and you've probably shed a tear or two. This organization is dedicated to keeping animals safe and taking them out of harm's way. They work to prevent animal homelessness and put an end to animal cruelty.
Our organization was founded on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected under the law. Headquartered in New York City, the ASPCA maintains a strong local presence, and with programs that extend our anti-cruelty mission across the country, we are recognized as a national animal welfare organization. We are a privately funded 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, and are proud to boast more than 2 million supporters across the country.
This organization sees these animals as beings with thoughts, feelings and emotions -- as they are. They are passionate about animal rights and are determined to make sure all animals have a home and are loved.
As a result, their website design is focused on the animals that they aim to protect. The imagery is powerful and takes up the entire screen. You see faces of dogs, cats and other cute little animals that need your help.
The bright orange coloring that lines the menu, sits in the logo makes up the CTA buttons urges action and creates a sense of urgency. It's bright and bold and in your face and it makes you feel like you have to do something right this very second.
The overall layout is simple and clean. Semi-transparent information bubbles lie on images and CTAs are clear and cleanly organized along the page. All the information you need is right at your fingertips. All you have to do is make up your mind to act.
The Metropolitan Museum Of Art, known colloquially as The Met by New Yorkers, is one of the most famous art museums in the world. It hosts collections from famous artists that have made an impact on the history of art as a whole. This powerful organization takes art seriously, and is also in the business of educating the masses on art history, art technique and art preservation.
The Met showcases over 5,000 years of art in its exhibition halls across three New York City locations. From paintings to sculptures and everything in between, The Met has it all and provides access to these works of art to everyone who wants a peak.
The Met was founded in 1870 with a mission to preserve and collect valuable pieces of art for future generations. This art serves as a learning tool for future societies, as well as a marker for where we've come, what we've achieved and what we've learned from past mistakes. The Met aims to connect people, places and cultures across time and space in order to create a society that is informed, enlightened and engaged.
Their website promotes this education and enlightenment as well, putting the art on full display.
The Met website design is clean, light and bright. There's a lot of white space, vivid photography and bright pops of color that add an exciting and engaging layer to the design. You can almost reach out and touch these pieces through your screen, which makes you want to hop on the subway and get down to Fifth Ave to seem them for yourself.
The design is creative yet simple. The typography is a bold color and a simple font. Drop down menus are seamless and clear. There are movement and color changes as you scroll, hover and click.
For a museum, this website design is simply stunning. And for a nonprofit, this design certainly takes your breath away.
The Conservation International Foundation is another nonprofit dedicated to conserving the planet and its resources. This organization focuses on nature protection and conservation -- from protecting our forests to our oceans.
They understand that nature is the backbone of our species and society. Without it, we will all be negatively impactful. We will all feel the consequences of climate change one way or another.
But people often forget about the importance of our trees and our deserts, so this organization created a website that would make an impact.
The Conservation International Foundation website design is clean, crisp and full of depth. With impactful photography taking up the entire homepage, you almost get lost in the splendor of these images. You see this beauty in nature, and it compels you to action to keep it from being lost forever.
The organization also makes it easy to learn, discover and act. The menu bar at the top has a few, simple CTAs and options to navigate throughout the site. They sit in the background with tiny, almost invisible font and coloring. The main CTA is the "Act Now" CTA on the screen that urges you to stop the threats to our planet.
This design was created with a purpose -- to get people engaged. And it works.
The National Aubudon Society works to protect one of the creatures we often take for granted: birds.
The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization.
They take the protection and conservation of our flying friends very seriously. And after scrolling through the website, you get a better understanding of how big of an impact birds have on our environment and the overall cycle of life.
But it's still, somewhat, of a hard social endeavor to sell. That's why their website puts the birds on display in a stunning and exciting way.
This website is extremely moody and deep. The dark background lets the photography pop, and the shaping is truly exquisite. You feel like you're invading their space almost as you watch these birds sit in all of their glory and majesty. It's an array of compelling images that turn birds into animals with thoughts, feelings and purpose.
The semi-transparent pop-ups provide in-depth information and insights into how these birds live and interact. And a clear list of options line the top of the page allowing you to learn more, take action and join the fight.
This is a very in-depth design that puts the animals first, much like the organization itself.
Mercy Corps hopes to end suffering on a variety of different fronts. From the effects of climate change to poverty, Mercy Corps is working to end it all. Their mission is to "alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities."
And their organization was built on a few core beliefs -- the value of human life, the right of all people to meet basic needs and the right of all people to live in safe, secure and peaceful communities.
The Mercy Corps philosophy is simple: if you can act, you should act because everyone deserves to live happily, peacefully and healthily regardless of who they are, where they're from or what circumstances were done onto them.
This is an organization that cares about people and does everything in its power to ensure that people are offered everything that they deserve.
To emphasize this determination, their website makes use of clear CTAs, impactful imagery and color and text overlays to draw eyes and grab attention.
The homepage is made up of an image of a poverty-ridden village. Over it, there is a powerful statement on the state of affairs followed by a strong CTA in a bold red color. Scrolling through, you're met with illustrative animations and icons that add a personality and a friendliness to this design.
It's approachable and informative without being too technical and dry.
This organization wants you to care like they do, so they use their design and specific design elements to inspire, engage and enlighten.
Invisible Children was founded in 2004 with the goal of increasing awareness about the atrocities going on in the Lord's Resistance Arms (LRA) in central Africa. Their goals have expanded and evolved since, with the hope of saving lives and making communities in these areas safer for all.
Our programs focus on four essential areas (connection, violence prevention, resilience, and effective policies) that are needed to save lives and resolve the root issues that prevent communities from having the safety they need and deserve.
The team has signed multiple bills into law to protect these children and communities, raised for that $30 million in foreign assistance and connected with groups across the globe to expand their efforts and increase their impact.
This goal is on full display in this web design, which opens up with a dynamic video of these communities. Overlaid is text that depicts their fight and their story in bold, white font.
CTAs are clear and bright. Information is well presented and organized. Animations and illustrations are friendly and approachable. Overall, this is a very user-friendly design that makes an impact.
The Importance Of Website Design For Nonprofit Organizations
Nonprofit organizations can greatly benefit from stunning website designs. They engage, inspire and promote action. And there are a variety of design elements that can help these organizations improve their own designs in order to succeed.
Staying on top of design trends is a great way for any business to stay fresh, modern and fun. Minimalism, color gradients and movement are just a few of the design elements that stick with people and help them connect on a personal level.
And these 10 nonprofit website designs certainly take advantage of evolving trends, captivating audiences and propelling them into action.
From stunning video to eye-catching photography, the social causes take center stage in many of these designs. There is also clever use of color, typography and white space. These designs are fun, clean and intuitive. They get their message across in a captivating way that makes them extremely hard to ignore.
No matter what industry you're in, though, these 10 examples are the perfect web design inspiration.