Effective Non-Profit Design: 7 Things to Consider

In our 20+ years as a leading Wisconsin graphic design firm, we have had the privilege to work with a number of amazing nonprofit organizations. Through those experiences we have learned that doing design for charitable groups is a little bit different than working with for-profit businesses. The same rules of visual presentation apply, of course, but the goals and applications are a bit different.

To put it another way, non-profits have to think about design in a unique way. If you’re thinking about revamping the visuals, marketing, or website for your non-profit organization, here are seven things you should consider…

#1 Begin With a Cohesive Brand Strategy

It’s important for any organization to have a messaging and communications plan in place, but it’s particularly crucial for non-profits. That’s because you only have a limited amount of time and exposure with potential donors and volunteers. You want your branding to be as cohesive and memorable as it possibly can be.

#2 Remember That Grabbing Attention is a Top Goal

Good graphic design can be almost interruptive in that it stops the viewer in their tracks and forces them to think about something that wasn’t on their mind before. That’s exactly what you want to accomplish with your non-profit’s marketing, PR, and fundraising messages. Settle for anything less and you’ll be hurting your organization.

#3 Consider Your Audience

The specifics of great design don’t just change with the company or organization being represented – it also matters who you’re trying to appeal to. In other words, having an understanding of what kind of people make up your audience, and what you want them to feel or do, is the basis for any effective nonprofit marketing or promotional piece.

#4 Appeal to Emotion

People don’t usually give time or money because it makes sense to them in a rational way. Instead, they pitch in because they are moved emotionally by a specific cause. You and your design team should always keep that in mind so that any piece you generate will help to inspire feelings of hope and a desire to help others.

#5 Be Versatile With Your Identity

When you get a logo for your nonprofit organization, remember that it will have to play many different roles in the future. It might need to appear on a website, feature in printed ads, show up on business cards, and even be used in signage. If you choose a piece of art that isn’t suited to all of these purposes you might have to replace it later (and lose valuable brand recognition in the process).

#6 Think Ahead to the Future

It goes without saying that a lot of your non-profit’s fundraising and marketing efforts are going to take place over the web. Why not invest in a WordPress website design that’s easy to expand and maintain on your own? That way you’ll get a versatile web presence that you and your staff can use to communicate directly with the public while saving money.

#7 Don’t Make the Classic Non-profit Mistake

Because many non-profits have tight budgets, they can make the mistake of turning to the lowest-cost design firm they can find. Unfortunately, that can lead to underwhelming visuals, a lack of foresight, and shortcomings in fundraising or volunteering goals. Design is important to the success and longevity of your non-profit, so work with the best (here’s a hint: it probably costs less than you think).

At Tingalls Graphic Design in Madison, we have the skills, expertise, and passion needed to help you turn your non-profit’s message into a winning brand and marketing strategy. We even have special rates and packages for charitable groups. Contact us today to learn more and see how we can help!

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