Most of us love a good story. Whether we’re watching our favorite TV series, reading the latest best-seller, or listening to a friend relate a past experience, storytelling engages our emotions in a way that facts can’t do on their own. Stories also tend to stick with us—it’s estimated that stories are 22 times more memorable than simple facts.

For nonprofits, incorporating storytelling into your marketing strategy has a variety of benefits. Stories about your organization’s history and impact can spread awareness about your mission, encourage donors and volunteers to get involved, and recognize the supporters who made your accomplishments possible.

To help your organization start telling meaningful stories, this guide will walk through four top nonprofit storytelling strategies, including how to:

  1. Develop Characters and Conflicts
  2. Support Your Stories With Data and Images
  3. Consider All of the Audiences for Your Stories
  4. Tailor Your Storytelling to Each Marketing Channel

As you start implementing these strategies, ensure all of the stories you tell align with your nonprofit’s brand. According to Loop, nonprofit branding encompasses not only visual elements like logos and font choices, but also messaging guidelines. Effective stories communicate your organization’s overarching brand message and unique position, persuading donors that your mission is worth supporting. Let’s dive in!

1. Develop Characters and Conflicts

Before you start telling your nonprofit’s story, consider the way stories are told in popular media.. Bear in mind that you’ll take a slightly different approach to storytelling because your organization’s stories are true and used for marketing purposes, rather than being fictional and told for entertainment value. However, the basic elements of your story will be similar, including:

  • A compelling main character. In the past, nonprofits would focus their stories on a loyal donor so that their audience could relate to the main character. Most organizations have since found that it’s much more effective to choose someone their nonprofit has helped. These stories pull at the audience’s heartstrings and help them put a name and face to the organization’s mission.
  • A problem that the main character must overcome. It can be tempting to skip to the end of the story to show how your organization helped the main character. But audience members need context to understand the gravity of the main character’s predicament.
  • Specific details about how your nonprofit helped the main character. Once you’ve fully established the main character’s need, showcase how your organization’s initiatives and  hardworking supporters made their happy ending possible.
  • A call to action. Naturally, you’ll end the story with the main character’s problem being resolved. Because your stories are meant to persuade, though, it’s also important to include a call to action to get your audience to take the intended next step.

To see these elements in practice, let’s look at this story an animal shelter might use:

Dante, a four-year-old gray tabby cat, came to our shelter when his previous owner could no longer care for him. During his time here, he was brought up-to-date on vaccinations and underwent a dental procedure to treat advanced gum disease. Our amazing volunteers fed and socialized with Dante every day so he could go to his forever home happy and healthy. If you want to help cats in need like Dante, visit our Volunteer page to apply today!

This story focuses on a named individual who the organization helped—Dante the cat—and quickly establishes why he needed the shelter’s help. Detailing the specific medical and social care Dante received makes the shelter’s impact more concrete, and the last sentence calls upon readers to take action by applying to volunteer on the nonprofit’s website.

2. Support Your Stories With Visuals and Data

Once you’ve developed the basic elements of your story, consider adding different types of visuals that each strengthen nonprofit storytelling. For instance:

  • Photos help audiences visualize the characters and problems you describe.
  • Your nonprofit’s logo demonstrates that the story is true and relevant to your mission.
  • Infographics can display facts related to your story in a digestible format.

Although stories are more memorable than facts alone, connecting the concrete data your nonprofit collects to your stories helps establish your credibility. To return to the animal shelter example, the organization could add a detail before the call to action stating that Dante was just one of 200 cats they had cared for in the past year. This data point helps readers realize that the shelter regularly makes a difference for animals in need, further encouraging them to get involved.

3. Consider All of the Audiences for Your Stories

Most stories have an intended audience. An upcoming movie may appeal to science fiction enthusiasts, or someone might tell a personal story to the friend who would find it most entertaining. But identifying the audience for your nonprofit’s stories is often more challenging because your organization must communicate with a variety of audiences at any given time.

If you understand each of these audiences, you can tell stories that resonate with them and reflect well on your organization. Some common nonprofit audiences to keep in mind include:

  • Supporters. Each of your donors, volunteers, event attendees, and advocates has different motivations and backgrounds that affect how your stories resonate with them. Kwala’s guide to donor communications suggests segmenting your supporters based on shared characteristics so that you can adjust your storytelling strategies for each segment.
  • Individuals your organization serves. You’ll often feature these individuals in your stories, so provide opportunities for them to tell their stories in their own words. Remember to get permission from them before using their names or photos in your marketing materials.
  • Outside stakeholders. Adjust your storytelling to highlight your mission so that corporate sponsors, community decision-makers, and other stakeholders will have an understanding of your organization’s impact before deciding to work with you.

Understanding your nonprofit’s audiences not only helps you tell stories that appeal to each of them, but it also allows you to form stronger relationships with each of these groups that can have long-term benefits for your organization.

4. Tailor Your Storytelling to Each Marketing Channel

Your nonprofit can incorporate stories into any of your marketing materials, but your storytelling will vary based on the channel’s limitations. Consider these common marketing methods:

  • Your website. As storytelling is a nonprofit website best practice, include stories throughout all of your copy, from your about page to your blog. You can also make the visuals and data that accompany your stories more engaging by embedding videos or designing interactive infographics.
  • Email marketing. It’s best to keep emails concise, so you might tell a brief story in the message and then link to the page on your website where supporters can learn more.
  • Social media. Each social media platform requires its own storytelling strategy based on the site’s structure. For example, you might first tell a text-heavy story in a series of tweets and then rework that information into a short video for Instagram and TikTok.
  • Direct mail. Although many nonprofits focus on digital storytelling, direct mail appeals to certain donor segments and supplements your online efforts. Make sure any images you use are printer-friendly, and include a return envelope or QR code to support the story’s call to action.

In these marketing materials and any others your nonprofit uses, experiment with your storytelling techniques to determine which strategy is most effective. Analyze engagement data and consider asking your audience for feedback to improve your storytelling tactics over time.

Nonprofit storytelling can help your organization’s various audiences connect emotionally with your cause and understand your impact more deeply. Think about whether each story you tell would make sense if it were a movie—if it would, you’ve optimized your storytelling efforts. Once you add visuals, incorporate data, and ensure the format works for your chosen marketing channel, you’ll be ready to share your organization’s story!

Growing your nonprofit requires regularly reaching out to your current donors and grabbing the attention of new potential supporters, whether it be to spread awareness about your programs, promote an upcoming event, or request support for an ongoing advocacy campaign. As such, marketing is a core skill for nonprofit professionals, and routinely analyzing and updating your approach is necessary for maintaining high levels of engagement.

Nonprofit marketing has evolved over the last few years, and modern organizations understand the importance of a strong digital strategy. This means knowing what platforms to use, how to grab supporters’ attention online, and which strategies work best for online outreach.

To help your nonprofit improve your digital marketing, this guide will explore four strategies for targeting supporters, spreading awareness, and maintaining an online community.

1. Segment your supporters.

The more closely you can align your messages with your supporters’ interests, the more effective your marketing campaigns will be. Start preparing your marketing campaign by looking at your current supporters’ data. This includes their demographic information, preferred communication channels, and past initiatives and campaigns they’ve engaged with.

Use this information to create supporter segments in your constituent relationship manager (CRM). Some CRMs like Salesforce NPSP are highly customizable, allowing you to make detailed emailing lists based on segments, record data about new supporters in order to place them in the appropriate segment, and create messaging cadences for each segment.

After determining your segments, use them to create personas. Personas are hypothetical individuals that stand in for an entire group of supporters. They are a useful marketing tool as it is generally easier to craft messages that will appeal to one person rather than an entire audience.

Design your personas by examining each of your supporter segments. Determine what their demographic information, motivations, and barriers to give, as well as name, occupation, location, marital status, and any other details that will help your team create marketing messages. From there, use these personas as stand-ins for segments when determining what types of messages will most appeal to them.

2. Launch a multi-channel campaign.

Few supporters will convert and make a donation the first time they see a message from your nonprofit. Attracting new supporters requires building up brand recognition through multiple messages on various platforms. As such, your nonprofit should launch a multi-channel marketing campaign.

Multi-channel campaigns require having a strong understanding of each platform you choose to leverage. This includes understanding who the primary users are, what type of content succeeds, and how to attract attention.

For instance, your email campaigns are an opportunity to provide detailed promotions for your events, blog content, and fundraisers. By contrast, on most social media sites, you will likely have less space to explain your cause. Additionally, consider how you can promote the same opportunity across multiple social media platforms. On Facebook, you might post about an upcoming event by using an eye-catching image and a schedule of your planned activities, but on Instagram or TikTok, you may create a short video instead.

When launching a multi-channel campaign, ensure you have the right tools to help you manage your content and marketing strategy. Assess your current software for tools that that allow you to track online engagement and quickly create professional emails. If your nonprofit lacks tools with needed features, consider asking other professionals in your field for a referral or explore recommendations online. Some nonprofits may need to invest in an entirely new platform, while nonprofits using flexible software like Salesforce and Blackbaud may be able to get the features they need with just a new add-on.

3. Focus on SEO.

Supporters looking for causes to give to will often start by entering a query in a search engine. You can improve the chances that they will discover your nonprofit by focusing on search engine optimization (SEO) for your online resources. SEO marketing takes time to develop, but it can result in increased traffic to your website and help build an online community.

SEO requires developing your website to be search engine friendly. A few ways you can do this include:

  • Choose specific keywords with low competition. Choose keywords that are closely related to your cause and are terms your supporters are likely to search for. Additionally, consider what keywords you have the highest potential to rank for by selecting terms with low competition. Broad keywords such as “wildlife protection” might align with your nonprofit’s cause, but large, established organizations will be challenging to compete with for this competitive term.
  • Create high-quality, keyword optimized content. After selecting your keyword, begin creating content focused on that topic. When writing this content, add the keyword naturally into the headers and body of your content, but avoid keyword stuffing. Keyword stuffing is when websites use the same keyword an unnatural number of times in an attempt to rank for that term. Keyword-stuffed content tends to be low-value and will result in fewer conversations. Additionally, search engines will penalize websites that are reported for keyword stuffing.
  • Post regularly. Websites that regularly post new content are seen by search engines as active organizations that provide new and relevant information. To help your website rank, make an effort to post new content every week or so. This content can include blog posts, research reports, news updates, or any other type of content that your audience will find valuable and interesting.

These tips will help you gain organic traffic—visitors who find your website by clicking on links that appear in their search results. To give your website an immediate boost, you can also explore paid traffic by taking out search engine ads. These are the links at the top of a search results page marked “ad.”

These ads can be expensive, but several search engines offer grant programs for nonprofits. The most popular of these programs is the Google Ad Grant. Double the Donation’s quick guide to the Google Ad Grant explains that one of the first steps to earning a Google Grant is having a high-quality website. This means optimizing your content that focuses on the keywords and topics you will buy search engine page ads for. Essentially, whether you’re interested in pursuing an organic or paid SEO strategy, your first step will be creating valuable content for potential supporters to engage with.

4. Partner with influencers.

Marketing is most effective when it comes from a trusted source. For instance, most people are more likely to consider donating to a nonprofit a friend recommended than one they have only heard about through online ads. As such, you can improve your marketing by partnering with social media influencers who are trusted by large fan base.

There are three main types of nonprofit influencers to consider when determining who to partner with. These types include:

  • Major influencers. Major influencers are celebrities and well known figures with significant follower counts of over 1 million. Given their large fan bases, partnering with these influencers can quickly spread awareness to thousands of people at once. However, they are also often harder to reach due to busy schedules and many other organizations requesting partnerships.
  • Micro-celebrities. Micro-celebrities are social media personalities with 5k-50k followers. With their notable but significantly smaller followings, they have close relationships with their community and are often easier to get in touch with.
  • Superfans. Superfans are individuals in your community who are deeply dedicated to your nonprofit and excited to help you in any way. These individuals tend to be long-term supporters and those who have a personal connection to your target issue. Superfans usually have limited followings, but they are already invested in your cause and willing to reach out to their networks on your behalf.

Keep in mind that when deciding who to partner with, an influencer with a larger audience is not necessarily always the best choice. For example, an influencer with a smaller fan base may be a respected figure in a field that aligns with your nonprofit’s, meaning their followers likely already have an interest in causes like yours. In addition, superfans are the backbone of most marketing efforts, voluntarily spreading your messages and providing positive word-of-mouth marketing.

Effective marketing requires continually reviewing your process, identifying what is working well and improvement opportunities, then taking steps to evolve your strategy. When planning your next outreach campaign, consider your specific audience and where you can reach them, as well as how you can make your website and content more readily available to interested supporters.

When your members joined your sorority or fraternity, they gained many brothers or sisters, both those currently involved and those who had graduated. Leveraging alumni giving is a powerful way to not only raise money for your chapter but also strengthen your community’s bonds across age groups and other demographics.

Paying forward the aid your alumni received when they were in college is a powerful case for support. But you need to do more to convince your graduated members to become loyal, long-term donors. Let’s explore how to reignite your alumni’s passion for philanthropy and, in the process, fortify your familial relationships with your brothers and sisters.

1. Appeal to your alumni’s emotions

Appealing to your donors’ emotions and sense of moral responsibility is an essential fundraising tactic. As a fraternity or sorority leader, you’re in a unique position to conjure powerful emotional memories all of your alumni share: their time spent with your chapter.

One of the best ways you can inspire alumni support is with the “pay it forward” case for support. They might not have known it at the time, but your brothers’ and sisters’ experiences were also fueled by alumni giving.

When communicating with your prospects, reference any chapter traditions or shared experiences your alumni have with current members. Then, tell your alumni that these traditions are fueled by their support, just as when they were in school. To boost your claims, take quotes from your active members about how much their gifts mean to them and how they shape their college experiences. Donors respond well to appeals they can relate to, so evoking a shared memory will tug at their heartstrings.

2. Segment your communication

While appealing to shared experiences is an essential fundraising strategy, your alumni community isn’t a monolith. It’s also helpful to align your asks with specific groups of alumni for a more personalized approach. Create several alumni segments based on demographics such as:

  • Graduation year
  • Major
  • Existing relationship with your chapter
  • Role within the chapter
  • Preferred mode of communication

According to NPOInfo, your segmentation strategy will only work if you keep accurate and organized alumni data. Start by sending out surveys to alumni that sort them into a segment. Then, keep the data in your CRM and update it when necessary. It might take time to build out a comprehensive dataset, but you’ll have a richer and more customized segmentation strategy.

Once you’ve collected your data and determined your segments, craft messages that align with each group’s preferences and interests. Remember to use multiple forms of communication to reach out to your alumni, such as email, letters, phone calls, and text messages.

3. Enlist the help of your current members

While your chapter’s leadership team spearheads your fundraisers, they shouldn’t be the only ones contributing to your efforts. Rally your active members to pitch in by offering easy ways to participate. You might make fundraising participation part of their philanthropic responsibilities to your chapter. Or, you can offer perks for joining in, such as free meals or branded merchandise.

Once you’ve rallied your active members, assign them roles based on their skills, interests, and availability. Some ways they could help out include:

  • Running a fundraising booth at a reunion
  • Writing and sending fundraising letters
  • Helping operate fundraising events
  • Posting fundraising appeals and event promotions on social media

Including your current members in alumni outreach is only an effective strategy if you stay organized. According to OmegaFi, sorority and fraternity management software is the best way to keep your members on the same page. It allows you to send messages to your chapter about their responsibilities in executing upcoming events.

4. Offer numerous ways to give

The best way to capture the most potential givers is to offer numerous ways to contribute. For instance, a recently graduated brother or sister might not have the funds to donate right now, but they can give their time as a volunteer for your next philanthropy event. Here are some alternative giving options to offer to your alumni:

  • Volunteering
  • Donating in-kind gifts
  • Providing pro bono services
  • Setting up a planned gift
  • Donating non-cash assets like stocks

Highlight these other ways to give on your fundraising materials so you can capture as much support as possible for your chapter.

5. Educate them about matching gifts

Billions in matching gift revenue go unclaimed each year. This is mainly due to donors’ lack of knowledge of their employees’ matching gift programs. But once a donor knows their gift can be matched, 84% of them are more likely to give. Thus, your nonprofit has a vested interest in educating your alumni about matching gifts and facilitating the giving process for them.

Using a powerful and user-friendly matching gift software solution is the best way to boost your matching gift rate. This software should be able to integrate with your online donation form so your donors can easily check if their company matches gifts while they’re giving. The best software options are those with the auto-submission capability, which allows your alumni to check their company’s matching gift policy and submit the request at the same time. Ensure you’re always mentioning matching gift opportunities to your alumni during fundraisers so they’re more likely to contribute to your chapter.

6. Take their feedback into account

Your alumni outreach efforts are more likely to be effective if you tailor them to your alumni’s preferences. The best way to do this is by asking them directly about their opinions on various topics, such as:

  • Preferred mode of communication
  • Event format (in-person, hybrid, or fully remote)
  • Event theme/type of events desired in the future
  • Fundraising area of focus
  • Type of giving (volunteering, in-kind gifts, or monetary gifts)
  • Interest in future involvement (such as being on a panel or joining the board of your alumni association)

Send surveys throughout the year to gauge your alumni’s interest in these areas. The best time to send out surveys is right after a fundraising event so their feedback is fresh. Then, work with your leaders to determine any patterns in the data and which changes are the most feasible.

7. Say thank you

Once your alumni have participated in fundraising events and campaigns, don’t cease communications yet. Always thank your alumni for any type of engagement, whether that’s filling out a feedback survey, donating, or volunteering. Sending thank you letters is a simple yet powerful way to make your alumni feel valued.

You don’t have to write a novel for each alumni recipient, either. Use a letter template for the body of your letter. For your larger donors, consider including a handwritten component on the letter thanking them personally for their support. This customized outreach shows your alumni that you’re committed to your relationship and that you put in extra work to recognize them.

Wrapping Up

Ultimately, your alumni want to see your chapter succeed. Showing them how they can help and displaying your appreciation when they do are essential to deepening your relationships with them. As long as you put effort into stewarding your alumni, you’ll turn them into passionate donors in no time!

Author: Mathew Tooker

Mathew Tooker is an expert in sales forecasting, analytics, goal-setting, client growth, and business development. With experience serving the Greek life community, nonprofits, and other member-based associations, Mathew is dedicated to providing tremendous value to his clients.

When he’s not moving organizations forward, you can find him on the golf course, spending time with his two dogs, Reagan and Teddy, running marathons, and watching the Atlanta Braves. He’s also a graduate of Auburn University and a part-time MBA student at Florida State University.

What is the Microsoft Ad Grant? What Nonprofits Should Know

When you go to a theater, you naturally pay attention to center stage. In fact, theaters are structured so that center stage can be viewed from almost every seat. The lead actors and actresses are rarely far from this specific location.

Believe it or not, the theater is not that different from the world of digital advertising. Occupying center stage in theater has a similar effect to appearing in the first slot of the search results page – your audience recognizes your unique presence. 

The Microsoft Ad Grant places the advertising spotlight on your nonprofit, so your mission can shine. Through the program, you can promote your organization’s most important web content, effectively driving more donations, volunteer registrations, event attendance, and awareness for your mission. In turn, you’ll forge deeper supporter connections and put your organization on a path toward achieving its goals.

In this article, we will cover all things Microsoft Ad Grant related. For reference, here are the main points we’ll cover:

While the grant can do a lot of good for your cause, know that it takes a considerable amount of work to manage. At any point, you can ease the workload by outsourcing Microsoft Ad Grant management to a professional agency. We recommend partnering with Getting Attention for all of your grant management needs.  

Get started with our recommended Microsoft Ad Grant managers: Getting Attention. Set up a free consultation today.

In the meantime, if you’re ready to harness the power of pay-per-click marketing, let’s dive in!

Here is a general overview of Microsoft Ad Grants.

Microsoft Ad Grants Overview

Also known as the Ads for Social Impact program, the Microsoft Ad Grant is a $3,000 in-kind monthly grant that can be used to create ads that amplify your nonprofit’s web content. Ads can be placed across all Microsoft-owned and operated websites including Bing, Yahoo, AOL,, MSN, and Microsoft Edge. 

Similar to the Google Ad Grant, participants bid on mission-centric keywords and craft ads with compelling ad copy and a landing page. Their ads then have the chance to appear at the top of search engine results for their selected keywords.

The Microsoft Ad Grant became available for qualifying organizations in June 2022. Similar to a coupon, the grant program applies the monthly $3,000 to your existing Microsoft Ads account. Think of it as free advertising cash!

Let's explore the eligibility requirements for the Microsoft Ad Grant.

Microsoft Ad Grant Eligibility

Eligible organizations include nonprofits, public libraries, public museums, and some religious organizations. Universities, healthcare, political, and professional organizations are considered ineligible. 

Here is a list of Microsoft's eligible and ineligible organizations for the ad grant.

If you are a fully registered nonprofit organization, you have already satisfied one of the few eligibility requirements. Microsoft has a few other qualifications that you must meet before applying.

To register for the Microsoft Ad Grant, you must:

  1. Hold 501(c)(3) status, which means you are fully registered as a nonprofit organization and the IRS recognizes you as an official charitable organization and exempts you from tax obligations. 
  2. Adhere to Microsoft’s anti-discrimination policy
  3. Have a mission that benefits the broader community. This includes but is not limited to providing relief to the poor, improving social welfare, or advocating for human rights. 
  4. Only assign grants to eligible staff. This includes paid nonprofit employees and unpaid executive leaders. 
  5. Only use grants for your nonprofit. You are not permitted to share your grant with affiliate or sister organizations.

After you have checked off all of the eligibility criteria, you are ready to apply!

Steps to apply

If you’re familiar with the Google Ad Grants application process, Microsoft’s process shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Lucky for you, the application process is painless. It only contains two significant steps: prequalification steps via Microsoft for Nonprofits and the application for Microsoft Grants. Let’s explore these steps a little further.

Step 1: Apply for Microsoft for Nonprofits.

You will first need to apply for Microsoft for Nonprofits. Visit the Microsoft for Nonprofits application where you’ll complete these four steps: 

  1. Welcome and Policies
  2. Organization Information
  3. Verifying Phone Number
  4. Account Creation 

These steps should take around 10 minutes to complete. Microsoft should get back to you about your acceptance into the Microsoft for Nonprofits program within 24 hours after your submission. 

Step 2: Complete the Microsoft Ad Grants Application.

After Microsoft approves your application, you can now apply for the Microsoft Ad Grant itself. 

This step includes providing additional organization information and information related to your position at your nonprofit. Microsoft requires that only current users within your nonprofit apply. The grant application should take even less time than Step 1 to fill out. Confirmation of your Ad Grant status should appear within 10 business days.

The application for Microsoft Ad Grants is composed of two easy steps: applying to Microsoft for Nonprofits and completing the Microsoft Ad Grants application.

Here are some best practices for how to optimize your Microsoft Ad Grant campaigns.

Optimizing Your Microsoft Ad Grant Campaigns

If leveraged effectively, the Microsoft Ad Grant can give your nonprofit center stage on the search engine results page. Once you occupy this coveted position, there are some best practices to help you maintain your lead role.

From keywords to landing page optimization, there’s a lot you can do to make your nonprofit stand out through the program. Let’s explore our recommended tips further!

Choose the right keywords.

To properly optimize your website for your Microsoft Ads, it’s important to have an understanding of search engine optimization (SEO) basics. SEO refers to tactics that help your nonprofit rank highly on search engines such as Yahoo, MSN, and Google. It’s the behind-the-scenes work necessary to increase your nonprofit’s visibility online.

Driving more traffic to your site is the end goal of every SEO strategy. One of the best ways to strengthen your SEO strategy is by targeting the right keywords for your organization. Competition for keyword targeting can be stiff, so it’s important to tailor your keywords to your specific content and audience. 

High-authority websites have dominance over certain keywords. For example, including the keyword, “Twitter” for a social media fundraising campaign is not specific enough to your content and audience. Instead, including specifics like location can help you refine your keyword selection. 

For instance, let’s say you work at a environmental nonprofit that wants to drive more traffic to your fundraising campaign to fight climate change. In this case, you might target terms like: 

  • Donate to prevent climate change
  • Give to stop global warming
  • How to stop climate change

Then, you’d link to your specific campaign page, urging people to give. Choosing specific keywords for your mission and campaigns will help you put your content directly in front of individuals most likely to get involved.

Select compelling imagery.

With the right keywords in place, it’s time to make your landing pages stand out with some dazzling images. Often, images communicate messages that words cannot fully convey. Logos, infographics, and edited organization photos should all consistently align with your brand’s message.

Picking the perfect visual can be tricky. Here are some pointers to reference when selecting images:

    • Loads quickly. Lag time matters. If an image takes too long to load, the likelihood of user page abandonment drastically increases. The best way to avoid this pitfall is to resize and compress all images on your site. By doing this, users stay on your site instead of exploring other comparable options. 
    • High quality. When resizing and compressing images, sometimes image quality is sacrificed. Review your images to avoid overly-pixelated or blurry visuals. If you design graphics for your site, it’s best to avoid fine lines and other indistinguishable elements. 
    • Informative. Is your image telling the right story? Select infographics that are up-to-date with your nonprofit’s goals and mission. Be sure your photos accurately reflect your organization’s values. If an infographic becomes overly complicated, look for ways to delete any unnecessary icons or text.  
    • Emotionally-charged. Photographs are digital snapshots of your mission in action. When you use a photo to highlight the passion you feel for your community, it strengthens your mission’s authenticity. 
    • Well-placed. A beautiful photo placed on the wrong page is a missed opportunity. Well-placed images aid in explaining the related written information on your web page. Be sure that your images and text are playing nice with one another. For example, a registration or information page about your volunteer program is the perfect place to feature images of your volunteers hard at work.

As you start choosing and redesigning your graphics, make sure they embody these common qualities. Whenever a user clicks one of your Microsoft Ads, your website will catch their eye, communicate professionality, and ultimately reel them into your content.

Types of Images

There are several types of images you can use to spice up your site. It can be tempting to find one image type and stick with it. However, having image variety provides a full picture of your nonprofit.

Here are some common image types to consider when reworking your site for Microsoft Ad Grants:

  • Infographics. Infographics are a great option to streamline educational information. Maybe you have an engaging concept for a fundraising campaign. Using an infographic to describe your fundraising goals, progress, and how to enter is a great way to educate your users. 
  • Photographs of those you serve. Putting a face to your cause helps users identify who they are benefitting when they give to your nonprofit. Because humans are relational creatures emotional photographs function as a visual connection between your users and your mission. 
  • Photographs of your staff.  Your employees, volunteers, and leadership act as unofficial nonprofit brand representatives. Their smiling faces also tell a story about your mission’s impact. Helping others can be contagious, and an engaging photograph of your staff motivates users to join your cause. 
  • Your logo. As the king of visual cues, your logo is crucial to your online identity. All reputable nonprofits have distinct, unique logos as a part of their branding. Make sure you keep your nonprofit’s logo design minimalistic to maintain quick recognition, and aim to create a design that communicates trustworthiness. Then, feature it prominently on the web content you promote through Microsoft Ad Grants, such as in your navigation bar.


Now that you have your visuals in place, let’s examine why you should optimize your landing pages. 

Ensure your landing page is informative

As a general guideline, you want your users to find their desired search information as quickly as possible. Using Microsoft Ads to lead users to your homepage is inefficient and unproductive. It’s better to direct them to a specific landing page that includes just one or two calls to action. 

For instance, maybe your landing page is dedicated to providing volunteer information. To maintain user interest, it’s essential that this landing page is neatly arranged and full of relevant content. Volunteer testimonials, high-quality photos of volunteers, and a call-to-action link like “volunteer today” would be great additions.

As you evaluate your landing pages, ask yourself these key questions:

  • Is my landing page well-structured for a positive user experience? (Does it load quickly? Do all of my links work?)
  • Is the content on my landing page relevant?
  • Do I use eye-catching and informative imagery?
  • Is there at least one call to action on my landing page?

 If you answer yes to these questions, you are good to go! If not, you should re-evaluate your landing pages before promoting it with the Microsoft Ad Grant. For more advice on advertising campaign optimization, check out Getting Attention. 

Get started with our recommended Microsoft Ad Grant managers: Getting Attention. Set up a free consultation today.

Feeling overwhelmed from juggling your marketing campaigns? Let's explore the benefits of working with a Microsoft Ad Grants. agency.

Working With a Microsoft Ad Grants Agency

Perfecting an actionable SEO strategy and cleaning up your website can feel like hefty tasks. Don’t sweat if your team is not full of tech-savvy individuals. Managing your digital presence is time-consuming, so maybe a more efficient use of your time would be found working with an external partner.

Professionals trained in Microsoft Ad Grant management exist to help you take full advantage of your advertising budget. If you are considering working with an agency to increase capacity, let’s answer some questions you might have.

What are the advantages of working with an agency?

Working with a professional Microsoft Ad Grants manager empowers your team to take full advantage of the program. By partnering with an agency, you can expect:

    • Expert advice. When working with an agency, you take the guesswork out of SEO strategy. Agency experts know which strategies deliver the best results, so you don’t have to waste your time experimenting. 
    • Full-time monitoring. Agencies can help you set reachable goals and track your progress. Having eyes on your online marketing status means that an agency can make quick and meaningful adjustments when needed. 
    • More time to focus on your cause. Running a nonprofit means you have a lot of different aspects to manage. Hiring an agency can take one more item off of your to-do list. That way, when more traffic appears on your site, you’ll be ready for it. 

Depending on the exact agency you partner with, the benefits might run deeper than this. These are just some of the most common ones you may encounter.

What should I be looking for in an agency? 

Each nonprofit’s needs will vary when it comes to managing the Microsoft Ad Grant. Depending on how much of the account maintenance you want to outsource, look for these core services:

  • Ad campaign formulation and maintenance. Juggling several campaigns at one time can be demanding work. Look for an agency that can create new online content while actively monitoring your campaign performance. 
  • Website optimization. Search for a Microsoft Ad Grant agency that knows website optimization ins and outs. From website design to SEO, the right agency will be able to make meaningful improvements and create new pages where needed. 
  • Account hygiene. Outdated and unnecessary data can clutter your site and hinder your load times. A detail-oriented agency will help you sort out any account management issues, monitor performance, and adjust your ads to generate the best results.
  • Grant reactivation. Sometimes unexpected things happen and you lose your grant status. That’s okay. Agencies are there to help you get back on your feet.
  • Keyword research. Keyword research can be tricky business. Look for an agency that specializes in keyword research so you can take full advantage of the Microsoft Ad Grant’s benefits. 

As our recommended agency, the experts at Getting Attention are trained in Microsoft Ad Grant management. This means they are pros at creating impactful online strategies and know what it takes to stand out on search engines. With extensive nonprofit experience, they know how to initiate and maintain a valuable search engine marketing plan.

Here are some additional resources to consider to learn more about the Microsoft Ad Grant.

Conclusion and Additional Resources

When used productively, the Microsoft Ad Grant gives your nonprofit center stage in digital marketing. A well-branded online identity, refined keyword selection, and efficient landing pages should be top of mind during your ad grant journey. 

Searching for more digital marketing tips? Here are some of our recommended resources for grant management, logo creation, and employer appends: 

Start leveraging Microsoft Ad Grants with our recommended agency: Getting Attention.


What’s the first thing you think of when you hear “the golden arches?” Whatever image your brain conjures, one thing’s certain: you associate McDonald’s with this phrase. This nickname stems from the chain’s iconic logo, one of the most recognizable in the world. Logos have the potential to associate favorable qualities with your brands, such as McDonalds’ salty fries or crispy chicken nuggets. 

Though logo creation is usually associated with the for-profit sector, your nonprofit can benefit from strong branding as well. If your organization hasn’t created a logo yet, you’re missing out on the valuable prospect of brand recognition. This guide will help you make a nonprofit logo that stands the test of time and cements your presence in your community. 

Table of contents:

Nonprofit Logo FAQ

Before we discuss tools to build your nonprofit’s logo, let’s answer some of the questions you may have about the purpose of nonprofit branding and logo creation. 

What is nonprofit branding?

While nonprofits have many differences from for-profits, the importance of their brand is a significant similarity. Your brand is your nonprofit’s identity that you showcase to set you apart. It represents a variety of messages, including your mission statement, vision statement,  story, and initiatives. 

Your branding also includes aesthetic elements like your logos, graphic designs, colors, and fonts. It should be attractive and inviting to your viewer. It should be simple and meaningful so that anyone can pick up your organization’s spirit.

You should be purposeful about your organization’s branding strategy and prioritize certain traits. Here are some of the characteristics that should come across in your branding:

  • Professional
  • Personable
  • Reputable
  • Reliable
  • Trustworthy
  • Grateful
  • Selfless

This is only a handful of the attributes that you can capture with your branding. Whatever you choose to channel, ensure that it’s a holistic representation of your organization’s values, personality, and professionalism.

What’s the difference between a logo and branding?

Having a strong and cohesive brand is necessary to forge a positive initial reaction from your viewer. Moreover, all the human brain takes is a tenth of a second to form its first impression, so you have little room for error. Your logo is a part of your overall branding strategy, but it’s extra important because of how many eyes are on it. Logos use aspects of your branding like font and color scheme to establish a strong connection to your organization as soon as your viewer takes in your logo.

Think of your branding as your outward composure, and all of your viewers are strangers meeting you for the first time. In many instances, your logo functions as a greeting, the first hint of your brand your viewer gets.

What is graphic design?

Nonprofit graphic design is the combination of text and pictures to convey information or branding. According to Top Nonprofits, “images are powerful because they can communicate what words cannot. They can not only fortify your brand identity, but they can also communicate to your audience in a meaningful way.” You can use graphic design to transcend language barriers and catalyze audience growth.

You’ll need to use graphic design concepts to develop your logo. If you aren’t a design professional, don’t worry, you aren’t alone. The tools in this article will help you build a logo, no matter your previous experience with graphics.

What’s the purpose of your nonprofit logo?

What would the American Red Cross be without its eponymous emblem or the World Wildlife Fund without that cute panda? Logos are bite-sized symbols of your organization meant to leave your footprint across both the internet and your physical community.

As such, logos are a core part of every nonprofit’s branding strategy and are essential for building up recognition and trust. Plus, logos can be used to build cohesive marketing campaigns, even when you’re communicating with supporters are multiple, disparate platforms. For instance, they can be used to bring your unique presence to materials, such as: 

  • Websites
  • Blogs
  • Signs
  • Letters
  • Emails
  • Social media profiles
  • Promotional merchandise

All of the world’s top nonprofits have recognizable logos, which has helped them spread their reach on a global scale. It’s a versatile marketing tool that you must have in your arsenal to make your organization a thought leader in your space and beyond.

Nonprofit Logo Examples

Let’s take a look at some effective nonprofit logos to give you an idea of what to prioritize.

This is the New York Peace Institute nonprofit logo. It showcases two overlapping speech bubbles. This is a great nonprofit logo because it’s memorable and related to their brand of promoting peaceful discourse.

Why we love this logo: The New York Peace Institute’s logo reflects its mission perfectly. The overlapping speech bubbles represent the amicable discourse that the NYPI champions. The white bubble in the center represents a middle ground where the two opposing sides can understand each other.

this is the Mentoring Project’s nonprofit logo. It showcases two overlapping elephants, one smaller than the other, following in the larger one’s shadow. This is a great nonprofit logo because it’s unique and visually conveys what the nonprofit does.

Why we love this logo: What’s not to love about this logo? The bigger elephant is shown guiding the smaller elephant, which encompasses the mentoring project’s mission of supporting young people through tumultuous times. The design is simple and easily comprehensible. Plus, look how adorable those elephants are! 

this is the National Wildlife Federation’s nonprofit logo. It showcases a raccoon’s silhouette in a forest wearing a ranger hat. This is a great nonprofit logo because it’s memorable and visually brings together rangers and animals, which is what the nonprofit does.

Why we love this logo: This logo for the national wildlife federation is another great example of nonprofit branding. It’s shaped like a governmental seal, which implicitly establishes the organization’s credibility. The inclusion of the ranger’s hat on the raccoon hints at a deep connection between humans and animals that the federation advocates for.

this is United Way’s nonprofit logo. It showcases open hands holding a stick figure with their arms outstretched. This is a great nonprofit logo because it’s striking, warm, and visually shows the organization supporting the individual, which is what the nonprofit does every day.

Why we love this logo: If you’re in the nonprofit sector, you’re probably already familiar with this iconic logo. United Way is one of the foremost nonprofit organizations in the United States, and its branding lends to its success. Though there are hundreds of chapters across the country, their branding is consistent and identifiable. The logo itself is colorful and welcoming, conveying a sense of warmth to people who know nothing about the organization.

Now that you understand the importance of branding and creating a powerful logo, it’s time to get creative!

Tools to Create Your Nonprofit Logo

The process of creating visual branding like logos can be an intimidating undertaking, especially if you aren’t experienced in digital design. Thankfully, there are thousands of graphic design services available to help you make a fantastic logo. Plus, if you’re creating it yourself, you’ll find that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel; 95% of leading brand logos only have one or two colors in their logo. We’ll discuss what makes each platform unique so that you can decide which is best for you. 

Tool #1: Kwala

Kwala nonprofit logo

Overview: Kwala’s an all-in-one platform that specializes in all things nonprofit graphic design. Unlike many for-profit design platforms, Kwala specifically targets nonprofit organizations. This service will put your nonprofit in contact with a graphic designer. Once you’ve determined they’re a good fit, they’ll provide comprehensive graphic design services on a monthly basis with unlimited edits.

What it specializes in: Kwala creates designs for many parts of the nonprofit branding process. Beyond creating logos, they make designs for multiple products, such as t-shirts, flyers, table runners, yard signs, stickers, and posters. They also have an educational blog so that you can learn more about the importance of graphic design.

Why we love this provider: Kwala isn’t just another graphic design platform: this team believes in the nonprofit sector’s power to change the world. Kwala acknowledges that many nonprofits don’t have the time or resources to afford quality graphic design services despite their utility. The Kwala team understands just how much time and effort goes into running a nonprofit, so their process is streamlined to help you achieve your mission and broaden your audience. 

Kwala understands the power of graphic design logos and the value of showcasing your work in a clean, artistic way to appeal to donors. The team advocates for small businesses and nonprofits by providing them with excellent graphics to compete with larger competitors. Because of their experience in the nonprofit industry, they know which designs appeal to donors.

If your nonprofit is looking for a logo provider with a personalized and professional approach, Kwala is your graphic design solution. 

Tool #2: Canva

Canva nonprofit logo

Overview: If you’ve ever looked into design apps for social media posts, chances are you’ve heard of this platform. Canva is a popular graphic design service that has over 60 million users across the world. It provides premade templates alongside the capability to make graphics from scratch.

What it specializes in: The majority of Canva users use it for creating social media content. They offer templates for numerous types of content, such as infographics and event flyers. Plus, you can resize the templates to be optimized for any social media platform or post types, like stories or feed updates.

In recent years, Canva expanded its offerings to cover many parts of the branding process. Here are some materials that you can make on the platform:

  • Logos
  • Flyers
  • Banners
  • Posters
  • Resumes
  • Invitations
  • Business cards
  • Collages
  • Graphs

As you can see, Canva is a one-stop shop for your self-created graphic design needs. 

Why we love this service: Canva is a great logo maker because it’s so accessible, no matter your career or expertise. It appeals to a range of skill sets by supplying multiple levels of graphic design services. Additionally, it offers several tiers of advanced tools via different levels of payment plans. 

As for logo making itself, Canva has little to no barriers to entry. The platform has a community tab where you can view what other users have created, which is a great place to draw inspiration from nonprofits that you admire. It also has a specific tool to guide you through the logo creation process. This tool makes it simple to channel your brand identity into an impressive logo.

Though the service doesn’t cater specifically to nonprofits, the Canva team still understands the need for graphic design in the nonprofit sector. It wants to reward nonprofits by offering their pro features for free. Consider taking advantage of this discount to access all of the tools Canva has to offer. 

Tool #3: DesignMantic

designmantic nonprofit logo

Overview: DesignMantic is a graphic design platform that allows you to create a logo design. The platform will automatically generate logo designs based on your organization’s name and focus area, and you can change the design until you’re happy with it. Plus, you can request as many logos as you want until you’ve found the right one. Once you’ve decided which design you want, you pay a fee for complete ownership of the logo.

What it specializes in: DesignMantic is primarily a logo-generating service, but it also creates templates for t-shirts, flyers, and websites. 

Why we love this service: This service is great because of how accessible, fast, and user-friendly it is. The only information you need to provide is your nonprofit’s name and focus area, and it will instantly provide hundreds of contenders. This system ensures that your logo will be relevant to your nonprofit’s area of expertise. 

Like Canva, this platform isn’t tailored around nonprofit needs, but it still offers them valuable deals. If your organization applies to DesignMantic in advance, you can keep your favorite logo without paying the ownership fee. So, if your organization is on the go and looking for an inexpensive and quick logo solution, DesignMantic is your best bet!

Tool #4: Adobe Express

adobe express nonprofit logo

Overview: If you haven’t heard of any other services on this list, you probably at least know this one. The Adobe Creative Cloud is a juggernaut in the digital creation space, boasting over 26 million paid users around the world. While many Adobe programs are known (and, in some circles, infamous) for their complexity and priciness, there’s an answer for less tech-savvy users who still want to take advantage of industry-grade tools. 

Adobe Express is perfect for beginner graphic designers who don’t need all the bells and whistles. It’s a web and mobile app that allows you to create a myriad of graphics and other branded elements. It brings together the best features of other Adobe products such as Photoshop, Premiere, and Acrobat and streamlines the design process.

What it specializes in: Despite its name, Adobe Express is anything but hasty. The platform includes templates for nearly any purpose or event, and logos are no exception! It gives you access to millions of stock photos, thousands of fonts, and integration with other Creative Cloud products. Similar to Canva, Express offers a custom logo creator as one of its features. Best of all, this powerful tool fits in the palm of your hand with its mobile accessibility.

Why we love this service: Adobe products are the gold standard for digital design, and Express opens these tools to a wider user base. From its mobile-friendliness to its ready-to-use templates, this platform is highly accessible but still robust enough to enhance your digital design portfolio. 

If your nonprofit wants more features than what Adobe Express offers, you’re in luck: nonprofits can apply for a discount on all Adobe paid products. If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and explore this expansive logo solution, now’s the time!

The Bottom Line

Now that some of your questions are answered and you have logo design options to pursue, you should confer with your team to decide which solution best fits your branding needs. If you need further information to help you choose, explore the service’s website or speak to a representative. You can even look at other examples of nonprofit graphic design to jumpstart your creative process. 

Whichever branding you develop and the platform you pick, always allow your mission, vision, and values to inform your decisions. Likewise, if you work with an external graphic designer, ensure that they have a firm grasp of what makes your organization tick so that they can best represent your interests. With a cohesive brand identity and logo design, your organization will not only be seen but recognized and appreciated, which is exactly what it deserves.

Additional Resources

Do you want to learn more about nonprofit branding strategies, graphic design, and visual communication? Check out some of these resources to deepen your understanding of these concepts.

Consider this question: Would you want to participate in your organization’s volunteer opportunities? Take a moment to think about it, and be honest with yourself. If the answer is yes, you’re probably doing a great job of making your volunteer opportunities enticing and engaging. But if the answer is no, you likely have some work to do to make your volunteer program more appealing.

That might sound like a challenging task, but making your volunteer program more attractive to prospective supporters is simpler than you might think. It starts with creating an open line of communication with volunteers, listening to their feedback, and planning opportunities that align with their preferences and interests.

Specifically, we’ll take a closer look at four effective ways to make your volunteer program more appealing for current and prospective volunteers:

  1. Match volunteers with their preferred roles.
  2. Design an engaging orientation process.
  3. Plan virtual volunteer opportunities.
  4. Offer exciting appreciation initiatives.

InitLive’s volunteer engagement guide says it best: “Keeping your volunteers happy, motivated, and engaged in your organization’s mission is a key part of longer-term volunteer retention and program success.” These strategies are intended to keep volunteers engaged in your mission by offering unique, convenient, interesting volunteer opportunities that volunteers won’t experience at any other organization. Let’s dive in!

1. Match volunteers with their preferred roles.

Picture this: A new volunteer registers for an upcoming volunteer opportunity, eager to put their skills to work to help further their favorite nonprofit’s mission. The reason they signed up is that they noticed one of the volunteer roles matches their skills and interests.

However, on the day of the volunteer opportunity, the volunteer is assigned a different role. They’re still willing to help out, but disappointed that they didn’t get the opportunity to leverage their unique skill set.

What happened here? The organization didn’t have a plan in place for matching volunteers with their preferred roles. If your organization is in a similar situation, you might be bypassing an opportunity to engage volunteers more deeply in your work. Plus, you could be missing out on the ability to capitalize on volunteers’ unique skills, which can allow them to contribute more productively to your goals.

So, how can you ensure you’re appealing to volunteers’ preferences and making the most of their engagement? Use this three-step process, with the help of your volunteer management system and communication tools:

  1. When volunteers register, ask them to fill out a quick survey with their skills, interests, and shift preferences.
  2. Store this information using your volunteer management software and leverage it to match volunteers with the right roles. Robust volunteer management software will handle role-matching automatically using the information stored in volunteers’ profiles.
  3. Send email communications highlighting upcoming opportunities that align with volunteers’ interests and availability.

Volunteers will appreciate your efforts to go above and beyond to offer them experiences that align with their preferences. This can help increase both volunteer engagement and volunteer retention, enabling you to continue to get to know volunteers, build long-term relationships with them, and cater to their needs.

And, when everyone’s participating in a role that suits them best, your volunteer program will function more smoothly and productively.

2. Design an engaging orientation process.

Put yourself in your new volunteers’ shoes and consider how they might feel after registering for a volunteer opportunity. They’re completely new to your program and mission, and may not be familiar with what the opportunity will entail or what’s expected of them. This can be pretty intimidating for first-time participants!

That’s why it’s important to put new volunteers at ease with a thorough, hands-on orientation and training process. Your training program should set volunteers up for success so that they feel completely comfortable engaging in your opportunities.

Whether your training program is a quick one-on-one orientation at the start of each opportunity or a full-fledged onboarding session, you should use the time to equip volunteers with everything they need to know to be successful. Incorporate these key elements into your training program:

  • Host fun icebreaker activities to get to know volunteers and allow them to meet one another. This helps volunteers feel welcomed and can lead to greater camaraderie and teamwork among participants.
  • Provide a thorough overview of your roles and associated tasks. Describe each volunteer position and what it entails, including any equipment volunteers will use or individuals they’ll be interacting with (such as fellow volunteers, your program coordinator, shift leader, etc.).
  • Allow volunteers to participate in hands-on activities to get familiar with your equipment or processes. For instance, introduce them to your online environmental-tracking database and practice data-entry procedures, or allow them to practice proper painting techniques so they can help construct a new house for a community member.
  • Review your volunteer policies and handbook. Ensure all volunteers are clear on various policies such as your screening policy, code of conduct, and dismissal policy.
  • Provide contact information for the person volunteers can go to with questions. Equip your volunteers with your contact information or the information for the individual they should get in touch with if they have questions before or during the volunteer opportunity.

When volunteers know exactly what they should be doing and how to carry out their assigned tasks, they’ll feel more comfortable in your program, encouraging them to continue engaging in your opportunities. Plus, they may even talk with their family members and friends about their positive training experiences, contributing to more volunteer recruitment for your program.

3. Plan virtual volunteer opportunities.

One of the most common reasons why volunteers lapse is because they simply don’t have enough room in their schedules to add additional responsibilities to the list. By making your volunteer opportunities more convenient, you can subsequently make them more appealing to prospective and current participants.

One of the most effective ways to increase the convenience of your volunteer program is to offer a variety of virtual volunteer opportunities. Virtual volunteering allows your volunteers to cut out the commute, saving them time. They can participate in these opportunities on their own time and make their own schedules.

Plus, virtual volunteer opportunities make your program more accessible for volunteers who might have transportation or mobility restrictions.

Here are a few examples of virtual volunteer opportunities you might offer supporters:

  • Peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising opportunities. Encourage volunteers to create their own peer-to-peer fundraising pages and gather donations from family members and friends to support your volunteer program. You might launch your P2P initiative alongside a social media challenge to engage participants and encourage them to get their loved ones involved. This can help increase awareness of your volunteer program while giving supporters a chance to deepen their involvement.
  • Virtual helpline. If your organization operates a virtual helpline for community members, get your volunteers involved to help out. After properly training volunteers on communication best practices and what to do in different situations, create ongoing shifts for them to manage the helpline.
  • Web design. If you’re thinking about updating your volunteer program’s website, your volunteers themselves can help the process along. After all, they’re your website’s main audience, so their opinions and feedback can play a major role in shaping your web design. Ask volunteers to fill out a survey providing feedback on everything from the site’s branding to its functionality. You can even engage digitally-savvy volunteers to help complete the updates if you don’t have a dedicated web designer on staff.
  • Virtual events. Perhaps your organization hosts annual virtual events such as an online auction or live-streamed concert. Your volunteers can lend a hand by helping to keep track of bids, run the event livestream, or design and spread your event marketing materials.

Volunteers will appreciate having the ability to help out from the comfort of home. What’s more appealing than being able to participate in volunteer activities while wearing your pajamas?

However, volunteers might be less familiar with the concept of virtual volunteering, so it’s important to clearly communicate what each opportunity will entail. Double the Donation’s volunteer management guide recommends highlighting the baseline tasks for each role as well as the ideal outcomes that volunteers will achieve.

For instance, if your volunteers are participating in a virtual phone bank to help raise funding for your program, you should explain exactly how they’ll connect with prospective donors (such as via phone or text), provide them with a script, and let them know what the specific fundraising goal is (i.e. $10,000).

This ensures that volunteers feel completely comfortable in their roles, even when they aren’t participating or receiving training in person. Plus, they’ll be able to understand the bigger picture of how their actions help progress your organization’s mission.

4. Offer exciting appreciation initiatives.

People volunteer because they believe in an organization’s mission and want to demonstrate their support. Most don’t expect anything in return, but that doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate the occasional gesture of gratitude.

When you offer volunteers heartfelt messages and tokens of appreciation, they feel acknowledged and appreciated for the hard work they contributed. This makes your program more appealing and encourages volunteers to continue engaging and putting their best foot forward during volunteer events.

Just as you thank your donors, corporate sponsors, and other stakeholders, you should create a dedicated strategy for expressing appreciation to volunteers. Offer these tokens of gratitude to your volunteers:

  • Handwritten letters from community members.
  • Tangible appreciation gifts, such as branded T-shirts, water bottles, or tote bags.
  • Gift cards or free event tickets.
  • Regular impact reports that show the positive impact of volunteer work on your mission.
  • Endorsements for professional opportunities.
  • Access to networking opportunities or professional introductions.

A strong appreciation strategy allows you to continue engaging volunteers over time, ensuring you’re investing in long-term relationships with volunteers. Volunteers will feel the warm and fuzzy feeling of knowing that their efforts are appreciated by your organization and that they make a real difference.

Plus, volunteers who have worked with your organization for a long period of time may be able to help you out even more with corporate volunteer grants. Essentially, corporate volunteer grants are donations your volunteers’ employers will make after their employees work a certain number of hours and submit a grant application form. This means volunteers you have a long-term relationship with and want to help your nonprofit however they can have one more method to do so, earning your nonprofit free revenue.

If you’re not interested in participating in your volunteer opportunities, how can you expect your supporters to be? By making your volunteer opportunities more relevant, convenient, and rewarding for participants, you can increase their interest in your program and ensure their long-term engagement. Good luck!

Your nonprofit’s website is the hub of your organization’s online presence. This is where you host important information about your mission and programming, promote your fundraisers, post involvement opportunities, collect donations, and more. 

Clearly, your website is a critical tool for marketing your mission and connecting with your supporters, whether they’ve just heard of your organization and want to learn more or are regular visitors checking for updates on your work. 

But is your website optimized so that users of all abilities can use it? In other words, is your website ADA compliant? 

This is a critical question to reflect on because web accessibility isn’t just a nice bonus feature on a website that complements a beautiful logo or smooth navigation. In fact, it has increasingly become one of the most important elements of a showstopping nonprofit website.  

In this guide, we’ll cover three frequently asked questions about nonprofit website compliance and accessibility: 

  1. What are nonprofit ADA compliance and web accessibility? 
  2. Why is full nonprofit web compliance and accessibility important? 
  3. What are some quick ways you can optimize your website for accessibility?

Making your website available to all possible visitors allows you to expand your nonprofit’s reach, bolster your reputation, and ultimately pull in more support for your cause, so it’s more than worth the effort to learn about and implement! Let’s begin. 

1. What are nonprofit ADA compliance and web accessibility? 

Put simply, web accessibility is the idea that the internet should be usable by all people, no matter their location, device, or ability. This includes more than just user-friendliness and clear navigation. If the internet (and your website) is fully accessible, then people all over the online world with diverse abilities and devices should be able to engage with it. 

If you want to ensure your own website is accessible, you must consider the needs of all types of visitors, as well as make sure that your site is built with nonprofit web compliance best practices in mind. Nonprofit web compliance ensures that organizations and their websites are aware of and comply with relevant laws—in this case, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities and requires all public accommodations to be fully accessible. Physical offices and facilities of nonprofits that serve the public fall under this category, but legal cases have increasingly considered websites to be public accommodations, too. In fact, as explained in this recap from Venable, in 2019 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals stated that some websites (including nonprofits) may actually violate the ADA if they are not accessible to people who have visual, auditory, and other disabilities. 

It’s imperative that your nonprofit and website keep the ADA in mind when designing or updating your website. If your nonprofit’s website is brought under scrutiny and is found to violate the ADA, you may even face large fines and legal action. 

To ensure your own website is ADA compliant, look to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), a set of usability standards developed by the World Wide Web Consortium.  With three levels of compliance (A, AA, and AAA), your website needs to adhere at least to the AA level to be considered legally acceptable.

2. Why is full nonprofit web compliance and accessibility important? 

Besides the fact that a fully compliant website could be legally required for your nonprofit in some circumstances, there is another key reason that accessibility matters. Without accessibility in mind, websites and other online apps can inadvertently exclude entire populations. Consider a nonprofit website that offers training videos for new volunteers but doesn’t offer any text elements alongside those videos. The videos aren’t fully accessible to people who are hearing impaired. To increase accessibility so that hearing-impaired visitors can get the information from those videos, the nonprofit would need to offer subtitles or a transcript of each video. 

On top of making your nonprofit more inclusive, ensuring your website is accessible can provide numerous additional benefits to your nonprofit. Full web compliance: 

  • Makes your website usable on all devices. The best nonprofit websites ensure that anyone can easily engage with them, no matter what device they use. After all, how your content is displayed can chage a lot depending on screen size and light settings. And with 85% of Americans owning a smartphone and over half of all web traffic stemming from mobile users, your website should definitely be usable on mobile screens.
  • Promotes a user-friendly experience. When your website is easy to use and engage with, people will associate it with a pleasant experience. They’ll keep coming back once they know that your website is effectively serving their needs. 
  • Minimizes loss of website visitors. Furthermore, if your website is hard to use and otherwise inaccessible, you’ll likely see a decrease in online engagement. Fewer people will refer to your website and your bounce rate will rise.
  • Improves search engine ranking. A fully compliant and accessible website can also boost your nonprofit’s search engine optimization (SEO) because search engines will have an easier time reading an accessible site. This can in turn increase your search engine results page rankings and increase the number of visitors to your nonprofit’s website.
  • Boosts engagement and fundraising success. The more people access and interact with your website, the stronger their relationship with your mission becomes, which makes it easier to conduct outreach for your fundraising campaigns.

Taking the time to make your website accessible to all truly benefits your nonprofit’s entire community and beyond. By creating a more inclusive online community, you’ll be able to expand your nonprofit’s audience and see more overall success!

3. What are some quick ways you can optimize your website for accessibility? 

In order to determine if your own website is fully compliant and accessible, let’s review the WCAG’s core principles of accessible design:

  • Perceivable information and intuitive user interface
  • Operable UI (user interface) and navigation
  • Understandable information and UI
  • Robust content and reliable interpretation

Considering these WCAG core principles, your top priority should be improving user experience. Consider the following quick ways you can prioritize user experience to improve your nonprofit website’s accessibility:

  • Make sure that all non-written content also comes with a text alternative. This applies to graphics, images, videos, and audio components of your website.
  • Avoid using sensory characteristics to relay important nonprofit content. For instance, if a field on your donation form is required but only designated as such by the color of the text, usually red, that has the potential to be an accessibility issue for colorblind users. Make sure to also indicate any important content or instructions with text as well.
  • Don’t use any graphics or videos with flashes and other bright lights. This can cause problems for those who are seizure-prone. If you really want to incorporate this type of content, make sure to include a clear warning.
  • Ensure that all page titles are clear and entry fields include the necessary instructions. You want to make your nonprofit website as easy to use as possible for your supporters. They should know exactly how to find your online donation page and should be able to fill out the giving form with ease. 
  • Design an intuitive and easily navigable menu. This is a great place to organize all of your most popular landing pages so that users can quickly access the content they want. 
  • Incorporate key calls-to-action (CTA) throughout your website. Make it easy for supporters to access the page they want by adding a link or button CTAs directing to it. This is especially useful for your online donation form and event registration forms. 

As you leverage these tips, rely on Google Lighthouse to give you an idea of how accessible your web pages are. Lighthouse will give your page an accessibility score out of 100 and then highlight opportunities for you to improve your page’s accessibility. 

Having an accessible and ADA-compliant website should be a priority for every nonprofit. After all, as you use tools like your website to connect with more and more supporters, you’re laying the groundwork for long-term relationships and sustained support for your mission. 

Use what you’ve learned from these FAQs to start improving your website’s accessibility today. You can also work with a nonprofit web design company to hone your website’s accessibility. According to Cornershop Creative, the right partner will understand your nonprofit’s needs, including accessibility and inclusivity, and empower you to make your website a useful resource for your entire community.