Having trouble keeping up with all the features you could put on your new non-profit web presence?  Stressed about what you should focus on in order to reach the most potential donors and turn them into advocates?  No doubt, there is a myriad of different options.  Besides picking branding, colors, fonts and icons, you’ve got to keep a mind on how your site visitors are going to flow through your site and get to the point where they take action.

Never fear, we’re here to help you.  As we get ready to move from 2018 to 2019, we’ve made a list of the top five non-profit web design focus trends to keep you on track.

Mobile First

While designing non-profit websites so that they appear nicely on mobile devices isn’t a new trend, designing for mobile devices as a priority over desktop and laptop devices is.  It used to be that new websites layouts and design were created around a larger screen size.  Once the “big picture” was put together, the tablet and mobile versions were added as “responsive design.”  The mobile first trend means that designers will begin to look at how a non-profit website appears on a mobile device first, ensuring that it’s as user-friendly and interactive as possible; adding a laptop and larger screen viewing as a secondary priority.

What does this mean for you?  Make sure when you’re providing your organization’s web designer with samples of designs you like, you include looking through the mobile version and basing some, if not a large chunk, of your choices on how the site renders on small screens.


Gone are the days of gathering a pile of stock photographs and deciding what you’d like in your website design.  As more and more organizations move their primary presence and locations online, more has to be done to stand out from the noise.  Original photos of your location, your mission, your service outcomes, your happy volunteers and your staff need to bring your potential donors, clients and volunteers website visitors into the heart of your nonprofit even though they are not physically visiting.

If you’re currently using stock photographs on your site, make sure that your budget for a professional photographer for your marketing or work to create a base of volunteer photographers.  Not only do your online photos need to be original, they need to be done well.  There’s a huge difference between photographs produced by your front desk volunteer (unless she doubles as a professional photographer) and a professional that has experience and training in staging and posing photos for ONLINE use.

Video Continues Rising

According to YouTube, users watch hundreds of millions of hours of video on the site every day.  As video becomes more and more integrated into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and everywhere across the web it, like original photography, becomes an essential part of promoting your message and building your community online. It’s been said that you gain donors based not on what you know…but whom.  Humans long for connection and with the rise of the internet and online communication we’ve been pushed out of the face-to-face communication we’ve enjoyed for thousands of years.  Our innate needs to connect are leaving us longing for ways to bring the connection into technology. Donors (whether individuals or corporate), want to know you and your nonprofit organization. They want to bring you into the community with them and feel as if they know you and determine they can trust you before they will support you.  Video allows your personality and idiosyncrasies to shine through the internet mask removing the barrier between you and your community.  As you look to how to move forward online, make sure you consider and include video.   Community, client and beneficiary testimonials are a great way to do this.

Bold and Courageous Colors

In another attempt to make technology into tangible reality, color trends online are moving from more flat design and muted colors to big and bold options.  Mixing opposing colors such as bright green and pink or deep blue and orange with a pop of green along with sharp geometric shapes and tiles are taking the forefront.  Our design preferences change rather rapidly (remember the avocado green of the 70’s that somehow is coming around as muted green…yet again?).  Your brand colors can be changed and muted or brightened as the years go forward.  Keeping your regular palette of colors and changing one or adding another complimentary color to your existing website can be a good way to change things up without a full site re-design.  Try something bold and courageous.


Last but not least on our list of the top five website design trends and focus is storytelling.  You may sense a theme here. Just as original photographs and video are needed because they help to allow your site visitors and potential community members to experience your cause, message, and proven outcomes without visiting your location, storytelling puts the icing on the cake.  When someone visits your location or meets your volunteers and staff in person, everything they experience tells them who you are, you brand and messaging and if they want to be a part of that.  

Telling your story, whether that is the story of your organization, your services or volunteer community in a way that makes the them the star character, highly increases the chance that they will connect with you and commit to donating.  Learning how to tell the story of your non-profit organization will increase your donation rate all around.  In fact, storytelling is so important that building a “customer journey” is a key part of our process whenever we partner with our non-profit clients to build their sites.

That about sums it up; the top five website and non-profit website & online design focus for 2019.