Important Web Design Trends for Non-Profit Marketing

nonprofit web design trends

In today’s crowded online landscape, a well-designed website is a huge factor in the overall success of a non-profit.

Laying the foundation for success starts with setting realistic and specific goals for your website. You need to decide upon and map out exactly what you are trying to achieve, such as:

● Increasing donations
● Getting more volunteers
● Creating awareness

Once you have decided on your primary areas of focus, make qualitative goals – i.e. X donations per month. This lets you know how much you need to focus on the different areas, and also makes it much easier to measure and compare your success down the line.

Here are some website design trends to keep in mind to help you meet your goals and serve your cause:

1. Site design that allows visitors to quickly learn about your organization

Have you ever visited a website and struggled to understand what it was really about? Often the core message of a website can get lost in the clutter of widgets, advertisements, and navigation.

There are a couple of different ways you can make sure your mission statement is easily seen:

● Place it directly on the home page
● Have a prominent link to a clear and detailed ‘about us’ page

2. A simple (and mobile-friendly) way to donate

With mobile search traffic on the internet now surpassing desktop traffic, you can’t really ignore it anymore. This is why responsive design (that automatically adapts to device, screen resolution, and more) is the leading standard.

When you get someone on your website that has an interest in donating, it is important to make that a very simple process by removing any extra clicks or steps that are not essential to the donation process. Use helpers such as HTML input types to make filling out fields such as numbers and emails even easier.

3. Social Media that is obvious and easy to use

When it comes to social media, it helps to know your audience. This distills down to age, location, gender, and more. Pew Internet’s Social Media Demographics Study is a great place to start when choosing what networks are relevant for your organization.

According to the 2016 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report Facebook is still considered the number one social media platform for non-profits.

That being said, a non-profit website should integrate seamlessly with the social media platforms that are being used. Content from the site should be able to be easily shared across the main social media sites. The easiest way to handle this is to use a plug-in like AddThis.

4. Email address collection

Building an email list is especially important for non-profits. It is integral to have a simple, easy mailing list signup form with lots of promotion on your website (a sidebar or even the top bar is a good place).

Take time creating your email signup form and try to turn it into something that not only looks good but converts visitors into lifelong supporters.

5. Interactivity

By having some kind of interactive component as part of your web design, engagement will increase.

An example of interactivity is the timeline on the CounterSpill website. By moving the slider around it is easy to see the effect of oil spills on the planet.

Try to think of something interesting you can do for your site that will encourage users to interact with it. This is a great opportunity to show your organization’s impact.

6. Video backgrounds

A recent trend, in the world of websites, is full-screen video backgrounds. To see how effective these can be, have a look at the Invisible Children website.

When done properly, this takes a passive element (your website’s background) and lets you display a short clip highlighting your organization, impact, or even providing a teaser into a longer video on the page.

Putting it all together

By having clear goals and knowing where to concentrate your efforts, you will be well on your way to creating a well-designed website that converts traffic into contributing supporters.

If you have questions about how to better engage your audience using digital marketing, please check out our full list of nonprofit marketing services.

Need help with updating your current website or want to discuss getting a new website for your organization? Request a quote for a new website.

Listowel Golf Club

Listowel Golf Club

Website Design | Website Development | Responsive Design

Listowel Golf Club

Project Summary

Listowel Golf Club turned to Evergreen to assist with redesigning the club’s out of date website. A fresh new design for the club included using brand photography, updated fonts and colours for the site, and a classic feel to match the history and tradition of the club.

With a mobile-friendly design, the new site is easy for club members and the public to navigate the site to find information on golfing,   

Client Details

Golf has been a tradition in Listowel since 1920, when a small group of business owners banded together to establish the Listowel Golf & Country Club Limited. Today, the semi-private club strives to provide a unique and enjoyable experience from the moment you arrive.

Like what you see?

Whether you have a specific project in mind, or would like someone to help you figure out the best solution for your business, we’re here to help you out.

Portfolio Template

Portfolio Template

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growers lane organic gardening

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The Results

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Google Ad Grants New Year’s Resolutions

google ad grants new years resolutions

9 Google Ad Grants New Year’s Resolutions for Nonprofit Communications and Marketing Staff

With a new year freshly underway, now is a great time to set goals and strategies for your Google Ad Grants account. Sticking with your New Year’s resolutions may be tough, but by setting some small goals and objectives you can make the most of your $10,000 per month grant throughout the coming year. To help you see tangible results that are better than the year before, we’ve provided 9 resolutions that if followed can help you improve the performance of your Google Ad Grant. You’ll be more active in your account, you will make the critical changes that can improve your placement and performance on Google, and in turn you will bring more targeted visitors to your site. All of this means that you will be helping more people find the services and programs your organization offers, better connect with the people who care about your cause, and improve your overall digital marketing efforts.

Here are 9 Resolutions that will help you get the most out of your Google Grant:

I will actively log into my AdWords account at least once per week.

  • The most common issue we see in Google Grants management is that non-profit staff do not consistently log in to their accounts.
  • You can start small. Commit to logging into your account once a week and spending 15 to 30 minutes managing your campaigns, ads, and keywords. If you are serious about improving your understanding of AdWords this is the minimum commitment you should make.

I will connect my AdWords account to Google Analytics.

  • You can’t manage what you don’t measure. This is an old management adage that holds true for digital marketing and specifically AdWords. Analytics is where you can set goals and conversions for AdWords so you can measure the impact of your efforts.
  • The good news is that Google makes this a very easy step for you to take. Just follow the instructions in their help article titled: Link Google Analytics and AdWords.

I will set goals for my Google Ad Grants account.

  • Having meaningful goals for your AdWords account is imperative if you want to improve upon your previous year’s successes and failures.
  • Some examples of goals you can track newsletter sign-ups, online donations, or something as simple as new visitors to your website.

I will A/B test my ad copy.

  • Don’t assume you are able to write a perfect ad the first time. Instead, run two ads concurrently with slight variations in the ad copy and see which ad performs better.
  • Testing ad copy and making small improvements to your click through rates can give you significant yields over the course of a year and will also help you understand the language that connects with your audience.

I will add negative keywords to my campaigns.

  • Negative keywords allow you to exclude search terms from your campaigns. This feature can help you focus on the keywords that matter to the people searching for your programs and services.
  • Not using negative keywords can mean the difference between your ads showing up for a query of “homeless shelter” vs “animal shelter” – make sure your ads are shown to the right audience.

I will remove or improve low scoring keywords.

  • Keywords score poorly for a few reasons, but the main reason being that the keyword you’ve selected doesn’t line up well with your ad and landing page.
  • Review your keywords with a score of 3 or lower. These keywords should be deleted or added to a new ad group which is better aligned with the keyword to improve the score.

I will review my landing pages for relevance.

  • It is important that you make the best effort to get people to the right page on your website. If a user is taken to a page that doesn’t quickly speak to their search query there is a good chance they will leave your site and may not come back.
  • A common error we see is that ads send people to the organization’s home page. Take the opportunity to send donors to your donate page, and people searching for programs and services to the corresponding pages on your site – your visitors will thank you for it.

I will set geographic targeting for my campaigns.

  • Geographic targeting allows you to restrict the area that your ads are shown in – by country, region, city, or postal code. Make sure your ads are being shown to people that you serve or offer relevant information to.
  • If your organization has a walk-in program in a specific city there is not point in showing those ads to people across the country. An added benefit of having a tight geographic focus is that you’ll have a better understanding of how many people in your area are searching for your programs or services online.

I will add sitelinks to my campaigns.

  • Sitelinks give you an added opportunity to include more context and information below your text ads with links that point to internal pages of your website. For example, you could include a sitelink for “Donate Today” that points back to your donation page.
  • Sitelinks will also help you dominate the search results page as they take up a lot of space when they are shown below your ads.
By committing to these 9 Google Ad Grants New Year’s resolutions, you are taking the first step to an improved impact for your organization in 2017!

Do you not have enough time in your day to actively manage your Google Ad Grant account?

The reality is that a lot of nonprofit staff do not have enough time in their schedules to actively log in and manage their accounts. If this is your situation, don’t miss out on making an impact for your organization. We offer Google Ad Grants management packages specifically tailored to nonprofit and charitable organizations. If you would like to learn more about our work with nonprofit organizations and how we can help you get the most out of your Google Grant, please contact us.

7 Benefits of Google Ad Grants

benefits of google ad grants

Show Up First on Google

Google Ad Grants is one of the products offered by Google for Nonprofits. Ad Grants are the nonprofit extension of Google AdWords, and provides approved charities and nonprofits with up to $10,000 per month of in-kind AdWords advertising. This allows organizations to promote their organization on Google through text ads.

To learn more about Google Ad Grants, check out our series on Getting the Most Out of Your Google Grant.

Here’s a shortlist of benefits of Google Ad Grants that can be realized by charities and nonprofits.

  1. Bid on your branded keywords.

    • Branded ads will help you control the top of Google’s search results page.
    • Your ad, plus your organic search results, plus your organization listing on the right side of the page will leave little to no room for your competitors to show up when users search for your organization by name.
  2. Select your own keywords.

    • In organic search results, Google will determine which keywords will trigger your search results listings to show.
    • Using your Google Ad Grant allows you to determine which keywords are relevant to your goals and objectives to bring users to your website.
  3. Choose your destination pages

    • You choose which pages people will be sent to when clicking your ads.
    • While Google may choose to send the majority of users to your homepage, with Ad Grants you are able to send them to your highest converting pages.
  4. Determine your message.

    • In organic listings, Google will pull your page’s meta description to use in the search results which could result in missed opportunities.
    • With Google Ad Grants you can write your own copy for your text ads to ensure that your message best lines up with the keywords you’ve chosen and the action you want users to take.
  5. Bid on your competitors’ keywords.

    • Under organic search results, it is very unlikely that you will show up when people search for similar organizations by name.
    • With Ad Grants, you are able to bid on your competitors’ branded keywords so your ads can show up alongside their listings.
  6. Bid on actionable keywords.

    • Showing up organically on action-based keywords is very competitive and quite difficult.
    • Ad Grants allows you to bid on these keywords and show relevant ads with links to your chosen pages.
  7. Reach a broader audience.

    • People may be searching for keywords that are relevant to your organization, but not able to find you organically as that is dependent on Google’s search results page algorithms.
    • Ad Grants allows you to expand your reach by using keywords that are broader-based, but still relevant to your organization’s goals.

If you have further questions about how to get started with Google Ad Grants, or how the program can make an impact on your organization, please contact us.

Facebook Organic Reach is Dead, Long Live Facebook Ads!

facebook ads

The King is dead, long live The King!

This was the first thing that popped into my mind when I read about Facebook’s latest update to their News Feed on The Verge.

Organic reach has long been the king of Facebook marketing for small businesses and charitable organizations. But this morning’s announcement from the Facebook newsroom could mark the effective death of organic reach for marketers on the social media giant’s platform.

In their words from the Facebook newsroom:

“Our top priority is keeping you connected to the people, places and things you want to be connected to — starting with the people you are friends with on Facebook. That’s why today, we’re announcing an upcoming change to News Feed ranking to help make sure you don’t miss stories from your friends.”

In a move towards better user experience, Facebook is putting the focus back on stories from our friends and families. This will be accomplished by pushing posts from businesses and charities further down the News Feed.

This change comes as a direct response to the growing crush of content marketing from Facebook organizational pages that can bog down a user’s News Feed and cause us to miss important posts from the people we care about.

So as a marketer, how do I reach my audience on Facebook now?

Long Live Paid Advertising on Facebook

The item that was most noticeable in its absence from the announcement was any reference to paid advertising on Facebook. Advertising is how Facebook monetizes its platform, so why did they not mention it? Could it be that this algorithm update is really a move to force us to pay for reach in the News Feed?

Out of curiosity, I did a quick scan of the first 10 posts in my News Feed. What showed up was 2 sponsored posts plus 2 additional ads in the sidebar. In other words, I saw 8 posts from friends and family, and 4 highly targeted ads, meaning that 33% of the News Feed and sidebar space is advertising.

Will these ads disappear along with the organic posts from pages in the future? I doubt it.

And herein lies the opportunity for owners of pages who want to continue to reach their target audience via Facebook. As organic reach drops for pages, our ads should stand out more in a sea of posts about people’s vacations, pictures of their kids, and videos of their pets doing funny things.

But Do Facebook Ads Work?

Facebook ads can be highly effective if planned and executed properly. This is accomplished by having clear goals for your campaigns, initiating a strong call to action, and only paying to show your ads to the right audience.

A few items to consider when advertising on Facebook:

If you decide to pay to regain visibility on Facebook for your business or organization, there are a few key items to keep in mind when setting up your ads or boosting your posts.

Geographic targeting – the easiest way to waste your advertising money is to pay to show your ads to people that aren’t in your geographic area. There is a zero percent chance of converting someone into a client or customer if you don’t offer your product or service where they live.

Interests – Facebook has a lot of data on its users, and they aren’t shy about helping you reach people that are interested in your offerings. It is up to you to decide how broad or specific you want to be in selecting interests.

Demographics – age, education, gender and more. The more you understand your audience, the better you’ll be able to target your ads directly to them on Facebook. Facebook has a great deal of information about people, so take advantage of that and be specific in who sees your ads as it costs you money.

Should I Advertise on Facebook?

Facebook continues to make updates to the News Feed and other aspects of the platform on a regular basis. And they are quick to revert back to old standards if updates to their algorithm are not well received.

One thing that won’t change for Facebook is that quality content will still be the key to any level of success, paid or organic. If your content engages your audience, your reach should continue to outperform content that isn’t relevant or that people don’t connect with.

With all of this in mind, it will be up to us as marketers to pay close attention to our numbers in the coming weeks and decide if we need to add some advertising dollars in order to continue to reach our audience on Facebook.

If you have questions about how Facebook advertising could work for you, please contact us.