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:
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.”
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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Is your donation landing page working as well as it could? Here are 6 ways you can increase your results:
- Make sure it’s optimized for mobile
- Donation amounts should be prominent
- Payment options should be easy to understand
- Call to action should be engaging and action oriented
- Tell them how the money will be spent
- Make sure the donate button is visible on every page
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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I’m a supporter of Planned Parenthood and a big fan of how they use design and marketing. Being around 100 years is nothing to sneeze at. They’ve lasted this long because they’re always at the forefront of the reproductive rights movement. One thing is for sure, they know their brand. They are “the cool aunt with expert life advice.” Everything they do gets filtered through that voice.
I’m proud of the work Planned Parenthood does. As a designer, I’m equally impressed by how responsive and innovative they are. Over the years their ads and marketing have utilized everything from infographics to lighthearted illustrations. Check out a few examples over at Fast Company.
Now Planned Parenthood is investing in social media, storytelling, and human-centered design. Their experience design work with Ideo has even won an Innovation by Design Award.
Let Planned Parenthood inspire you
I don’t know about you, but I’m inspired by other people doing great, seemingly impossible, things. Your organization might be brand new or just a few years old, but can you imagine what it will look like in 100 years? Can you set things in motion now to ensure your organization is relevant and essential?
Questions to ask yourself to create a game-changing organization:
- Do you know what your brand is?
- Are you listening to your audience and their values?
- Is your brand aligned with your audience?
- Are you experimenting with current trends in marketing and design?
- Are you adapting as things change?
Is there an organization you admire? I’d love learn about them.
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Does your outside match your inside? Or better yet do your actions and your motivations match? What about your audience? Do you know their outsides and insides, actions and motivations? You know your brand works when all of these are aligned and visualized through the right combination of fonts, color, and imagery.
Does your brand work according to this test?
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I’ve decided to offer free design consultations to potential clients. Why? Helping nonprofit and social-driven leaders use design and creativity to increase their impact lights my fire. I honestly think about it all the time. I also know that setting a budget for some nonprofits and social enterprises can be tough especially if they never invested in design before.
There is a different way of working
I want to show you what thoughtful design can do and how to leverage the resources you have.
You don’t have to invest $$ right away. I believe in sharing knowledge and resources. I believe that with understanding a bit about the problem you’re facing, a solution will be in reach. A solution that allows you to use your existing resources, as well as a big hairy one that makes your heart pound with excitement.
First I’ll ask you to answer a few questions about your organization and the problem you’re facing. This is standard procedure. It helps designers figure out what the actual deliverables might be: a 5-page website, a 20-page annual report, a new identity with a stationary package, etc., etc. It may come as a surprise, but often people say they want one thing, but after a few probing questions it turns out they need a lot more.
Ideas for the taking
After I review your answers, I’ll spend time brainstorming your issue. We’ll schedule a video, or in-person, chat where we can talk about how you might go about designing the social impact you dream of and bounce a few ideas around. What you do afterward is up to you.
You can take the idea and DIY it, hire someone else to do it, or we can begin officially working together to make it happen.
If there was ever a magic potion for picking the brain of a seasoned creative…this is it. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org because I can’t wait to get started.
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