Design tips and insights for nonprofits and social enterprises.

How I created an authentic website that reflected my goals

Web Design
06.26.17
How I created an authentic website that reflected my goals

I’m so excited that I feel like shouting from the rooftops, “I have a new website!!”

After being in business for 1 year I knew that my website had to reflect the goals I wanted to achieve. It was time to update my website to really show how design can improve the impactful work you do.

Your website should reflect your goals
If you don’t remember my site before, it was a simple one-pager and it wasn’t really doing anything to help you or me. I needed something more robust and I didn’t want to do it completely on my own, so I hired a writer. I’m pretty confident in my writing ability, but honestly, I was going to design and program it and I just didn’t want to do everything. Besides, sometimes an outside voice — who is an expert in their field — can make a big difference.

The truth about most designer’s websites
Most designer/agency sites are really about the portfolio—with good reason. But they also mainly focus on showing how “cool” they are. I wanted a site that spoke directly to you. I wanted you to see yourself and your organization reflected in the language and visuals and to give you some inspiration on how design should multiply your hard work, not distract from it.

Websites need to change regularly
I believe all websites should be living things that are constantly changing. I still have a few things to add to my site. Primarily examples of recent projects, like the killer brochures I recently did for the Human Rights Foundation.

So head over to Studio Civico and check it out. I’d love to hear your feedback.

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The design secret to increase email open rates

Design | Marketing
06.09.17
The design secret to increase email open rates

The key to a successful email is hierarchy. Why? It helps the reader skim, read, and understand the content, makes it more visually appealing, and increases click-through rates. And that’s really want we want, right?

If you’re not sure how to add hierarchy to your email here is a handy list:

3 steps to better emailers

1. Get your content together

  • You content first and foremost, so get your draft together. This may consist of a brain dump and just putting it all on paper, or collecting content from team members. Either way, gather everything you want and need to say in your emailer.
  • Edit, check for grammar, on-brand language, links, etc., etc.

2. Review your template and edit content accordingly

  • Next step is to look at your template and reorganize and edit the content to fit. Start thinking about the headlines, subheads, links, etc.
  • If your copy is missing some of these, add them in.
  • This works both ways. Sometimes your template will have to be tweaked to accommodate your content.

3. Use font size and style to make it interesting

Most people will see the larger, bolder, and colored items first. This is what tells them what they should pay attention to first, second and third. The sizes below are only guidelines. Depending on the font used, color, whether it’s bold or normal, etc., you can maybe go a bit smaller or larger.

  • Stick to 1-2 different fonts.
  • Large headlines should have a font size of 26-36px, depending on its length.
  • Subheads are used to break up large amounts of text, differentiate content and add visual interest. They should have a font size of 20-26px.
  • Body copy should consist of short blurbs of 1-3 sentences and should be 14-16px. Break up long content with subheads and images.
  • Also, mix up the bolds, color, italic to help as needed. But don’t go crazy. Think about how it supports the content and hierarchy.

People have more than enough to read in their inbox, so make sure your emailers get the attention they deserve by making them easy to read and visually appealing.

Got any other ideas on how to make emails better?

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What to do in 2017 to increase your impact

Campaigns
01.04.17
What to do in 2017 to increase your impact

What does nonprofit design have in store this new year? Here’s my a list of what we have to look forward to and be ready for:

Authentic stories
Storytelling is no industry secret. Emotions drive all our decisions, whether it’s to cut our hair, buy a house, or donate money to a cause. How you tell your story is up to you, but don’t forget the human element. Include photos and stories of real people that have benefited from your mission, or someone on your team that is dedicated to making a difference. Make it personal.

This is what I’ll be working on this year. Telling my story, why I do what I do, and why I believe design can change the world.

Mobile, Mobile, Mobile
We do everything on their phones, from reading and talking to buying and donating. Make sure your site looks good and works well on a phone and tablet. And make sure donating is easy to do. Make use of the latest technology like the new apps Social Give and Givelify which are changing how people donate.

Networks and Movements
The complex problems we’re trying to solve need solutions and resources from everywhere. We can’t do it alone. Join forces with like-minded people, nonprofits, businesses, and governments. As the saying goes “there is no silver bullet, only silver buckshot.”

User-Generated Content
Everyone’s doing it and it’s really just the beginning of user generated content. Not sure if it matters to your organization? Remember the ALS ice bucket challenge? was under generated and raised $115 million in 2014. Make it fun, easy to do, and make sure what you get can be repurposed.

I’m sure you already have a to-do list a mile long for 2017, I know I do. So start small if need be. You can always build on small wins and incorporate more down the line. What are you working on this year?

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3 steps to better marketing goals for 2017

Design | Marketing
12.08.16
3 steps to better marketing goals for 2017

Do you hold onto things that are no longer useful? I do. I recently found 10-year-old art supplies that I’ve kept for some insane reason.  Well, now they’re out. Letting go can be hard, but we have to do it to make room for new and better things.

With the new year around the corner now is the perfect time to figure out how to be more efficient and effective. Better design can help.

How to take stock, assess, and reach your marketing goals in the new year:

Step 1
Review the past year’s campaigns, marketing, brand, etc. Did the brand feel cohesive? Was your audience uninterested in the marketing? Ask your team to participate. See what worked well, or not, ask questions and listen.

Step 2
Set some goals based on your findings from Step 1. This can be done individually and as a group. Think both short-term (1 year) and long-term (2–5 years). Examples might be: More funding for a new brand; change your annual report from a printed piece into a microsite.

Step 3
Develop a game plan for moving forward. Prioritize and set timelines to hold yourself, and others, accountable. Start looking for resources and services to improve your design, marketing, and funding.

I know this is easier said than done. But it’s necessary if you want to reach those big, hairy goals, not to mention, change the world.

Are you doing any goal-setting for the new year? I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours. 

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6 ways to increase online donations

Web Design
11.15.16
6 ways to increase online donations

Is your donation landing page working as well as it could? Here are 6 ways you can increase your results:

  1. Make sure it’s optimized for mobile
  2. Donation amounts should be prominent
  3. Payment options should be easy to understand
  4. Call to action should be engaging and action oriented
  5. Tell them how the money will be spent
  6. Make sure the donate button is visible on every page

Lastly…
Don’t forget to say thank you. The thank you page is often overlooked and not given its due. It’s another way to engage with your donors, so don’t skimp on this experience. Think about how you can make it better. It could be fun, heartfelt, or interactive. Maybe it’s video from one of the clients that the money will support, or from the executive director. Really the goal to try something new, and treat the donor interaction as something special.

I personally love the idea of tagging donations to actions. If, for example, someone donates $50 to buy school books. Once those books have been bought, let the donor know. Send them a text or email about it.

Have you updated your donation page with any of these ideas? What were the results?

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