Designing for impact: how to amplify your organisation’s mission - Bright - A design agency for nonprofits

Designing for impact: how to amplify your organisation’s mission

February 2023

Written by Mica Valentin, Project Manager at Bright

Your mission is the core reason why your organisation exists. It underpins who you are, what you do, and why you do it.
You understand the importance of getting your mission out there and into the world. It’s how you get people on board with what you’re trying to achieve.

Maximising the impact of your mission though, is crucial for your organisation’s success – and one of the best ways to make it as impactful as possible is by nailing your design elements.

Easier said than done when considering the added complication of designing for impact amongst the chaos that’s ensued since 2020. With the pandemic, natural disasters, and everything else that’s going on in the world, purpose-driven and service-based entities like yours have undoubtedly carried the weight of the world on their shoulders. Amongst all this noise it feels like you’re shouting into the void trying to get your message out there.

Despite these setbacks, the challenging times we’ve experienced have highlighted the need for intervention, advocacy, and support delivered by non-profits across many sectors. Here at Bright, we know just how important getting your message across is – which is why we’ve compiled this list of tips to help you design for impact in 2023.

Audience-first web design

In this current climate, effective web design is paramount to the success of your organisation. Your website is the first port of call for everyone who comes into contact with your organisation, so it’s vital for your web design to take an audience-first approach. Whether that visitor is looking for support, considering making a donation, or simply searching for information about your available services, you want your web design to create a seamless user experience.

Good web design makes the all-important first impression on your site’s visitors and can be the make or break in inspiring them to take action following the information you provide. Keeping the following nuances in mind will help you attract, and hold, the attention of your site’s visitors.

Audience-first approach

Understanding your audience is the key to speaking to them in a way that makes sense to them, that impacts them, and ultimately inspires them to take action. Who, exactly, are you supporting? What do you know about them? How can you reach them, appeal to their values, and engage meaningfully with them?

Once you’ve answered those questions, it’s time to start building on strategy, concept, and design execution – all with your audience in mind.

Attractive and engaging design

An important aspect of effective web design is ensuring the design elements are attractive, engaging, and showcase your organisation’s unique personality. All the finer details such as colour palettes, typefaces, imagery, icons, and illustrations contribute to the overall impact you want your design to have. For example, at Bright we developed a new website for Mental Health Coordinating Council (MHCC) using a custom-built full page modular system that allows them to create pages with engaging content and visuals.

Another consideration is ensuring your web design is compatible across all devices. Whether that be desktops, tablets, or mobile phones, you should aim to ensure the user experience remains the same. As around 60% of website traffic comes from mobile devices, you’ll likely want to place a lot of emphasis on fine-tuning the mobile version of your website for it to run as smoothly as possible.

Inclusive and accessible

Amongst non-profits, promoting equality and social awareness are values we all embody. Designing your website so that everyone can access, read, and understand your organisation’s content ensures alignment with the inclusivity paradigm, and is becoming a global standard.

Many factors come into play while considering your website’s accessibility, such as content and imagery. Throughout the design process, building in some key functions will ensure anyone can navigate your website with ease. These functions might include text size, colour-altering, keyboard shortcuts, and text-to-speech, all of which make accessing your information easy regardless of the platform or your visitor’s physical abilities. Ensuring accessibility will ultimately broaden your mission’ search, helping you get the word out there to as many people as possible. Take a look at Youth Solution’s website to see how accessibility functions work by clicking the button at the top left corner.

Informational and easy to navigate

When you’ve got lots of important information to share with your audience it can be tempting to show them as much as possible as soon as possible. However, when it comes to designing your website, simplicity should be the main goal. This is where an understanding of your target audience will be invaluable to helping you lay out a roadmap for them to follow to the information they need – whether that’s to donate, volunteer, or just learn more about your organisation’s services or mission.

An organised and logical sitemap makes your site easy to navigate, ensuring people can get where they want to go and aren’t deterred by a messy layout. The layout of your website’s pages, the names of buttons and submenus, and the location of CTA’s all contribute to making your website easy to navigate.

Consistent branding

At first glance, the concept of branding mightn’t seem to marry up with the purpose of not-for-profit organisations. However, branding isn’t just sales-driven marketing aimed at extracting every possible dollar from the consumer. Rather, it’s a way of encompassing what your organisation fundamentally is. Branding is a powerful tool you can harness to ensure your target audience knows exactly what your organisation is, what it stands for, and what its goals are.

Not-for-profit logo

Your organisation’s logo is essentially the face of your organisation. It’s the most instantly recognisable aspect of your branding, and so one of the most important. Think logos such as a red cross, a panda, or a candle wrapped around barbed wire which instantly bring to mind some of the world-famous non-profits. Designing an effective logo will depend upon your organisation and what it stands for, but ensuring it’s simple, adaptable, timeless, and aesthetically pleasing will help it to wordlessly communicate your organisation’s key message. For example, check out how Australia’s Mental Health Think Tank mission to stimulate bold thinking can be expressed into a bold design.


Your brand’s tone will depend on your target audience, and how you can best communicate with them. You might choose a tone that’s formal, empathetic, empowering, or inspirational; whichever it is, it needs to remain consistent. A consistent tone sets a strong brand personality and assures stakeholders that the organisation is true to its beliefs and its mission. Your tone should guide content development and overall storytelling for future campaigns.


Imagery is a powerful tool to use that can instantly show an organisation’s mission, as well as bring people closer to the cause without needing lots of text. Photography and other visual aids have become an essential aspect of developing online content. It can be strategically used to solidify your brand and show your organisation’s mission through another medium, alongside written content. Butterfly’s candid imagery is a great reference to understand how a humanizing approach can  show the real-life, real-people part of their missions that can’t easily be expressed through words


Your organisation’s personality is a combination of all the above-mentioned elements – logo, tone, and images – alongside all the subtle details of your design, like colours and typography. Conveying your brand’s personality sets your organisation apart and allows it to stake claim to its position in the sector. A brand persona will help people connect to a service on a deeper level, inspiring emotional engagement and loyalty.

In summary

Good design has an impact on nearly every level of an organisation, from fundraising to supporter engagement to PR. It’s more than just making things look good – it also influences branding, campaign pages, and your digital presence. It has a direct influence on your organisation’s success.

2022 has pushed purpose-driven organisations into participating in the race for digital transformation. Branding, websites, and other digital tools are now imperative for their survival, relevance, and growth. Social impact organisations need the backing of good design to provide a user experience that’s true to their mission, values, and purpose. Good design build trust, encourages engagement, and fosters long-lasting relationships. At Bright, we believe it’s the ultimate tool for amplifying purpose.

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