Is your nonprofit website just a pretty face?

I was advising an organization on their website, and one of the things I advised was this:

Make your DONATE button a contrasting color from the rest of the page. Make it the easiest thing on the page to find.

The web designer flipped his stylish lid. “That would be a disaster, he said. “It would undermine the entire color palette!”

The conversation went downhill from there.

This often comes up in discussions with designers, brand cops, and keepers of visual identity systems. They really stand up for those color palettes. They see them as paramount to the integrity of their designs. Straying from the palette to create contrast? That would be like slapping a barcode across the face of the Mona Lisa! A disaster!

Okay, it would be a disaster indeed if the entire purpose of the website were to have a perfectly congruent color palette. But that’s not the goal of any nonprofit website I’ve ever heard of. The real goal is something a little more action-oriented. Like producing donation revenue.

Or it would be a disaster if a perfectly congruent color palette were necessary to produce donation revenue. Except it isn’t. Go ahead and test it for yourself, but calls to action in contrasting colors are clearly the way to go. If you want people to act on your calls to action.

The people who insist on perfect color palettes and other forms of brand consistency that depress fundraising results are choosing aesthetic satisfaction over funding their own mission.

Beauty matters. But I think most people would agree a well-funded organization with lots of supporters is a higher form of beauty than a nice color palette.


Comments

4 responses to “Is your nonprofit website just a pretty face?”

  1. Laura Avatar

    Interesting. We theorized that a contrasting button would get more conversions as well. But when we did multivariate testing, the blue button (same color as our branding) outperformed yellow, red and green…by a statistical advantage.
    But I agree with you that results should trump perfect color palettes. But test into it.

  2. Laura Avatar

    Interesting. We theorized that a contrasting button would get more conversions as well. But when we did multivariate testing, the blue button (same color as our branding) outperformed yellow, red and green…by a statistical advantage.
    But I agree with you that results should trump perfect color palettes. But test into it.

  3. Hadn’t thought about a barcode across the face of the Mona Lisa, but maybe we should try it!

  4. Hadn’t thought about a barcode across the face of the Mona Lisa, but maybe we should try it!

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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff BrooksJeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 35 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com. More.


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The future of fundraising is not about social media, online video, or SEM. It’s not about any technology, medium, or technique. It’s about donors. If you need to raise funds from donors, you need to study them, respect them, and build everything you do around them. And the future? It’s already here. More.

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Jeff Brooks has been serving the nonprofit community for more than 30 years and blogging about it since 2005. He considers fundraising the most noble of pursuits and hopes you’ll join him in that opinion. You can reach him at jeff [at] jeff-brooks [dot] com.

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