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5 Nonprofit Website Design Tips for Arts Organizations

5 min read
January 26, 2023
Shannon Whitehead headshot
Shannon Whitehead
Content Strategist, Neon One

A well-designed website is a valuable tool for nonprofits to share their mission online in a visually appealing way. For arts organizations in particular, their website is the perfect opportunity to lean into and express their creativity.

Nonprofit website design matters for many pivotal reasons. Websites are …

  • The cornerstone of an organization’s entire online presence
  • A space for organizations to illustrate their mission and share it world wide
  • A hub for donors, members, volunteers, and anyone curious about an organization’s mission to find the information they need

While websites can maximize a nonprofit’s reach and help raise more funds, this doesn’t automatically happen without intentionally taking time to plan the most important elements of the website’s design. Here’s what we believe those nonprofit website design elements are for arts organizations and a few tips to make them the best they can be.

1. Create a Visually Interesting Homepage

Your organization’s website homepage is the front door that many potential donors use to learn more about your mission for the first time. It’s also a chance to make a great first impression! 

Make it count by featuring photography and video to illustrate your nonprofit’s mission in action. High-quality visuals set you apart and help website visitors connect with your work.

The Gateway Regional Arts Center (GRAC) has a lively homepage that fully utilizes captivating photos and videos to share their work and mission.

2. Prioritize Accessibility

Many arts organizations exist to make the arts accessible to everyone. Your website should do the same! Web accessibility means that your nonprofit website design is inclusive and that there is nothing preventing visitors with disabilities from accessing or interacting with it.

For example, a few ways you can design a more inclusive website include …

  • Adding captions and alt text for images so that visitors who access your content with screen readers and other tools can still interpret and interact with those images
  • Skipping or modifying website carousels to make them usable for people using screen readers or keyboards to navigate your website
  • Using high-contrast with text colors so that website visitors with visual impairments or colorblindness can read the text

An accessibility checker is a great tool to help you determine if your nonprofit website design is ADA compliant and find out what to fix.

3. Build In an Events Highlight Section

Incorporating an engaging section for upcoming events into your nonprofit website design is especially essential for arts organizations. With much of your fundraising dependent on ticket sales, member participation in events, or other funding generated by any other event activities, it’s important to showcase events front and center on your website.

We love the way Blue Line Arts (pictured below) features upcoming events on their homepage. It’s an inspiring example of an upcoming events section that easily captures a website visitor’s attention.

Blue Line Arts does a great job featuring their organization’s events in an eye-catching way.

4. Incorporate a Blog to Tell Stories

Adding a blog to your nonprofit website’s design might seem like a lot of extra work, but it doesn’t have to be. Nonprofit organizations utilize storytelling all the time in email newsletters and reports, on social media, etc.—a blog is another place to share the same content! You don’t have to duplicate your efforts and you don’t always need to create something new for each channel.

Blog post topics for arts organizations could include …

  • Event recaps
  • Program updates
  • Breakdowns of impact numbers
  • Interviews and profiles of staff, volunteers, clients, or donors
  • Announcements (annual report release, campaign launch, etc.)
  • Educational articles about your cause

Blogs can deliver a significant return on your time and effort investment with website traffic boosts and increased SEO credibility, making it easier for potential donors and event attendees to find your website through search engines.

Check out Fiber Arts Alliance for an example of an arts organization putting their blog to good use. They designed their site with Neon Websites and regularly use the blog section to post their latest news, updates, and stories.

5. Feature Key Actions and Information

When someone visits your website, what are they looking for? The answers to this question will help you decide what should be clearly displayed in your website’s navigation and homepage. 

When you’re an arts organization, people might come to your website to find event information or learn how to become a member. You’ll want to ensure they have a good experience by making that information easy to find.

It’s also helpful to prominently display your mission statement and brief points that explain what your organization does, as Sweetwater Center for the Arts does on their homepage (pictured below). This gives new visitors an overview of your cause and seizes limited attention spans to get essential information in front of them quickly.

This is a great example of using site design to communicate important information right away.

Nonprofit Website Design that Matches Your Mission

Are you planning to redesign your organization’s website? You can see how your plan stacks up against industry best practices by taking our Website Optimization Assessment quiz and hone your redesign by following our Website Optimization Action Plan.

When the time comes to select a website builder for your nonprofit’s new site, you should consider Neon Websites!

Neon Websites makes it easy for nonprofits to build unique websites that showcase their mission in style. With sector-specific templates, tools to customize your nonprofit website design, and hundreds of built-in widgets, it’s never been simpler to design a website that drives results.

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