Standing Out from the Crowd



“Your website is your starting point of your online communications and fundraising campaigns.” (Mansfield, 2012) It’s your starting block. The single place that can tell your audience who you are, what you are about, and why they should care. It is crucial to invest thought into how you are going to portray yourself as an organization and tell your story.

There are more websites than we can count and possibly ever visit, but there are qualities about some of the best websites that attract visitors every day through not only their web design, but the photos, videos, and words they use. They are each carefully selected to make the website an experience, not just a place to get information.

In honor of showing rather than telling, here are a few of the best nonprofit websites that captivate telling a story, garnering support, and taking action. They are points of inspiration for you to begin to think about what your site might look like.

  1. Not for Sale “is a movement to end modern-day slavery and human trafficking.”

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 7.46.16 PMWhy their site is awesome: Simple clean navigation allows you to experience why there is a need to end modern-day slavery and human trafficking, what they are doing to make an impact, and how you can support in one single scrolling page. Their visually stunning photos bring you into their world.


  1. Harlem Children’s Zone “has achieved unprecedented success, helping thousands of children and families and disrupting the cycle of generational poverty in Central Harlem through our innovative and effective programs.”

Why their site is awesome: As soon as you land on their front page, you see a video of children Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 7.47.48 PMlaughing, studying, playing music in the context of their school. Harlem Children’s Zone can tell you all about who they are and the impact they have made (which they do as you scroll down), but their use of video captures the essence of what they are all about. While some websites use video and photo horribly, this site has done it extraordinarily well by showing what they are all about in video playing in the background.


  1. Everytown “is a movement of Americans working together to end gun violence and build safer communities.”

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 7.43.05 PMWhy their site is awesome: They have a stellar set-up for making donations. As Mansfield (2012) puts it in Social Media for Social Good, “make the donation process as effortless and clutter-free as possible.” Their attention to the user-experience in making donations allows a potential donor to send funds with ease. Last thing you want to do is put an obstacle in the way of gaining a supporter and they understand that.





While these are just a few of standout nonprofit websites, they show that you can stay true to who you are as a nonprofit, but share who you are and what you are trying to do in creative ways. Your website is truly your starting point and foundation to your online identity. These days it doesn’t take an advanced web designer to develop a beautiful website, but it does take some thought and creativity to capture your audience in a meaningful way.


4 thoughts on “Standing Out from the Crowd

  1. Really great examples of organizational use of website technology to galvanize support and “call to action”. You also related this several times to coursework readings. The other key factor driving the success of website donation campaigns is demonstrated presence in the community and successful results of the campaign. I think the Harlem site does a fine job of demonstrating this. On the other extreme, the trafficking example is one that maybe people know about, but are so far removed from this issue in their community that they might not feel compelled to act.

    The other question I ask myself when I see website campaigns that ask for ongoing contributions, how do they work with root causes to change the issue in an enduring way? Is this an endless process of throwing money at a problem to mitigate downstream issues? How do we know contributions are really reaching the affected population? I worked in Haiti during the earthquake. So much of the contributions raised in the U.S. did not end up benefiting the population there. Within a few months, the world’s attention and money went elsewhere. Today displaced earthquake victims in Haiti are still living in shanty towns and are at risk for cholera.

  2. I can see how this post would be so useful to public health professionals. You covered some great web design tactics that public health organizations would be interested in: such as donation features, news presentation, and video footage from the field. The only suggestion I have is that since the world population is increasingly accessing websites on handheld devices over desktop computers, perhaps readers would want to know do these websites still look good on an iPhone? Accessibility and readability on a smartphone is also a great indicator of a quality website.

  3. Posted examples of best web-sites by non-profit organizations emphasize importance why organizations need to prioritize and invest into online web-page development:
    these webpages make very strong impression and advance organization’s mission and message.
    In one blog that I found interesting, a nonprofit organization is discussing and brainstorming ideas about developing their web-site. The session ends up with question: “what are we capable of building?” while the most important questions, “what users of the website are looking for?” and “what this site will be used for?” were left not addressed.

    In light of this article and post, you would agree that these web-site examples are directly facing supporters with very powerful opening message, they are pure, authentic and direct. There is no ambiguity, their call for action is very simple and clear, and speaks to your heart. Thanks for sharing!

  4. For my own learning style I love the fact that you offer real life examples of websites that effectively meet the criteria you are promoting. As your audience, I can now go visit that site and compare it to my own website if I have any developmental questions. Your post was more about the positives of these sites. It could have helped to add some sites that might not be doing things correctly. For instance, a site that needs a format adjustment or something along those lines.

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