Visual Design Ideas and Pointers for Non-profit Organizations

creating branding logo

Non-profit marketing has a vastly different set of challenges compared to marketing regular businesses. While there might be some intersections between the two, non-profit marketing has to spread the message of the institution or the organization, call for volunteers, and seek donations. But more than these short-term goals, non-profit organizations have to get the word out about their causes and ideals, and they are not necessarily trying to sell products and services. The stakes are higher because there are beneficiaries to fight for and a mission to uphold and protect.

Moreover, non-profit organizations need to be on top of the trends if they want to get the word out about their mission. Non-profit marketing done right means having more people getting behind the cause and more people being helped—especially when younger generations, who are known for being passionate about worthwhile causes—are engaged.

Here are some key visual design pointers, ideas, and trends non-profit organizations need to take note of this 2022 if they want to catch the attention and commitment of their target audience.

Establish a Brand Identity

Non-profits may be, by definition, not for profit, but it doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from a strong visual and brand identity. This includes all the visual elements of a particular entity, like the following:

  • Name
  • Logo
  • Fonts
  • The color palette, shapes, and other visual aspects
  • The tone of voice or language
  • How staff members and volunteers interact with external parties

Once a non-profit has all these down pat, they have all the building blocks they need to create the other visual elements of their content—from promotional materials to social media content to website design and others.

Consult With Specialists

designing marketing material

If no one in your team specializes in visual design, consider partnering with a firm that caters to various organizations and institutions. Find firms with a proven track record of working with brands of all sizes and from all industries and a specialization in various fields like government contractor marketing and others. Working with a team that has a wide array of projects under its belt will help you find the best visual identity for your non-profit. They will know how to reach your target audience and bring your vision to life at the same time.

Be Human-centric

Since non-profit organizations are usually all about working with people and for people, a human-centric approach to design is crucial. Here are some examples of how this can manifest:

  • One of the biggest visual design trends of the past few years is 2D sketches of people. One example of a big brand that does this style well is Slack. Another trend worth noting is the company’s inclusive visuals, which prioritize showcasing a diversity of people—meaning individuals of all ages, races, faiths, sizes, and genders are shown in their portraits and contents. If you must opt for this trend, make sure that you are inclusive as well.
  • If you wish to include photos of your beneficiaries, make sure you have their consent to post their pictures online. This is particularly important, especially if you are working with people who have trauma or if your advocacy is sensitive, like providing shelter to domestic abuse survivors. If you work with kids, make sure you have the consent of their legal guardian. But if you’re working with particularly sensitive advocacy, consider hiding or blurring the faces of your beneficiaries. There are ways to present these photos that are still creative and engaging without breaking confidentiality or sacrificing the privacy of the people you’re caring for.

Be Straightforward

As soon as a visitor opens your website, they need to be able to see what your non-profit stands for. For example, if you have an animal shelter, your banner needs to have a picture of the animals you’re caring for and wish to protect. The same is true for your social media channels. As soon as your audience opens your Instagram account, they must have the broad strokes of what you’re trying to achieve.

One organization that does this well is the Philippine-based non-profit organization Rohei Foundation, a child-placement agency that aims to help alleviate the orphan crisis. As soon as you open the group’s website or Instagram account, you will have the broad strokes of their mission through the pictures and visuals they use.

Non-profits need to capitalize on good visuals to get the word out about their mission and advocacy. Marketing is a powerful tool that can help them achieve their goals faster—and it’s worth the investment and effort.

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