Design tips and insights for nonprofits and social enterprises.

How to Raise More Money Online

Web Design
How to Raise More Money Online

Is your homepage getting in the way of raising money for the impact you desire?
I have something that will help you focus your fundraising and tell your story that is easy to digest and attractive for potential donors.

Here is my 35-Point Fundraising Splash Page Checklist

This checklist has everything you need to know about creating a page dedicated to raising money.

You’ll get:

  • Clear direction about what to put where — from header to footer
  • SEO tips
  • Branding pointers
  • Advice on Forms that make people click DONATE

Is your call for donations working as efficiently as it can be?

Do you have a place dedicated to showing your impact and is easy for the reader to give you money?

And no, I’m not talking about adding a DONATE button to every page. Although that wouldn’t hurt.

My hope is that you find this useful and informative. And that you’re able to increase the good work you do. And if you have any feedback — positive or negative — please let me know.

Click here to learn more.

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The branding secret that will make you more successful

The branding secret that will make you more successful

The keys to a good brand are like costume changes at an award show — there are many.

You know it has to look good and be adaptable, but what makes your brand really work is its connection to your ideal audience. This happens over time as each person sees and interacts with it. But how do you get to that connection in the first place?

It requires a bit of connecting the dots of:
your motivations + actions ——————————————— your ideal audience’s motivations + actions

branding diagram

So, what does this mean in real life?

Let’s take the Girl Scouts brand, which was voted top Youth Non-Profit Brand of the Year by The Harris Poll. (Disclaimer: I have no inside knowledge of the Girl Scouts brand. These notes where simply complied after looking at their online communications.)


Girl Scouts

Motivations: to instill courage, confidence, and character in young girls
Actions: local troops come together for fun activities where girls earn badges, learn and contribute to their communities

Their Audience

Girls’ motivations: they want to take risks, try new things, and make new friends
Girls’ actions: ages 6–17, adventurous, friendly, energetic


So what should this brand look like? I would say that overall the brand needs to be colorful, bold, and energetic.

Now check out a glimpse of their 2010 rebrandFYI — this is on a blog for and by designers so some of the content is very design-geekish.

Can you connect the dots with your own brand? How do they match up? Let me know in the comments

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How to Chose Photos Like a Creative Director

Campaigns | Marketing
How to Chose Photos Like a Creative Director

Your marketing or fundraising campaign needs just the right photo to make an impact. How do you know which one will work? Or which ones to even try?

Whether you’re choosing from stock photography or working with a photographer, the photo selection process is an important step in telling the story of your organization and impact.

Once you know the main goal of the campaign, you’re one step closer to picking a great image to enhance it.

Your campaign needs the right photo to make an impact. Click To Tweet

A good photo usually has these 4 things in common:

1. Good composition
The composition is the arrangement of all the elements in the picture. Background, foreground, shapes, proportion, etc. The photo should feel balanced.

2. Good exposure
Think areas of light and dark. A lot can be done in Adobe Photoshop to fix certain lighting issues, but not always. It’s always best to start with a good image.

3. Emotion
Does it make you feel happy, empathy, or powerless? Be careful about relying too much on “misery” to tell your story.

4. Captures a moment 
Photos that capture a moment in time can be a powerful storyteller. Maybe it’s something small that’s often overlooked, or even a really big moment that usually passes by quickly.

Once you’ve found photos that meet the 4 requirements (or at least 3) narrow down the options by asking yourself these:

  • How many do I need?
  • What size do I need?
  • How will these be used (social media, print, etc.)?
  • Will the text be placed on top, next to, or not at all?

It’s important to choose a few options to test before making the final selection. A good designer can make magic with even “not-so-great” photos, but it’s usually best to start with a variety of images. Lay them out and pick whichever works best for your needs. You could even A/B test two different photos in a campaign and compare results.

What have been your successes or failures when choosing the right photo? Let me know in the comments

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Who is the hero of your fundraising story?

Campaigns | Marketing
Who is the hero of your fundraising story?

Without a hero, stories fall flat. We need someone to root for, hope for, or fight for. Also, without a hero, the story is quickly forgotten.

So, who’s the hero of your nonprofit story? You have 2 choices: your donors or your clients Click To Tweet

What should you write about?
When it comes to writing your story, there is a lot to consider. One is for sure, “We’re great, support us!” shouldn’t be your story.

All stories need to have 3 elements:

  • Hero — give us someone to root for
  • Desire — what does this person want or need
  • Conflict — what’s standing in the way

And don’t forget to make us feel. The best stories involve emotion. Don’t focus on numbers and data at this point. Put us in the hero’s shoes with an emotional connection.

What about an ending?
You actually don’t have to give your story an ending. Let the reader add their ending by enticing them to take action on behalf of the hero.

Which hero should you pick?
If you’re not sure if you should focus on donors or clients, then conduct an A/B test. Your website or social media is the perfect place to test this kind of thing. Create both stories, with similar visuals, and test them to see which one resonates the most with your audience.

Have you created a story focused on a client or donor? I’d love to hear about it.

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