Check out these effective nonprofit fundraising ideas that don't involve selling.

Fundraising Ideas That Don’t Involve Selling

Every year, nonprofits, faith-based groups, and schools need new fundraising ideas. What’s more, it’s crucial to include fundraising ideas that don’t involve selling.

Let’s face it: donors and families don’t like to sell merchandise on your behalf. Yes, they’ll do it—if they have to—to support your cause, but they don’t like it. In fact, many families don’t like selling so much that they’d rather just donate by buying the merchandise themselves. However, then they’re stuck with items such as chocolates, foods, and useless items they don’t want and will likely throw away.

Discovering alternate fundraising ideas that don’t require selling merchandise is vital to your fundraising strategy. Now, let’s dive into 5 key fundraising ideas that don’t involve selling!

A shoe drive fundraiser is a great fundraising idea that doesn't involve selling.

1) The Top Fundraising Idea: Shoe Drive Fundraiser

The top fundraising idea that doesn’t involve selling is a shoe drive fundraiser! One of the top reasons why it’s the top non-selling fundraising idea is because your community doesn’t have to sell merchandise on your behalf. Plus, they don’t even have to contribute financially.

Also, it’s the most socially responsible fundraiser you can host! When you host a shoe drive fundraiser, all you do is collect gently worn, used and new shoes. In the process, your community will keep shoes from going into landfills, and in turn, you’ll save the environment. Talk about social responsibility!

Once the footwear gets picked up by a well-known shoe drive fundraising company, you receive a check. Simple, right? What happens to the shoes from there is fairly straightforward. They get sent to small business owners in developing countries in need of merchandise to sell so they can escape poverty.

A Grow-A-Beard event is an effective fundraiser idea that doesn't involve selling.

2) Grow-A-Beard Fundraiser

Sure, this grow-a-beard fundraising idea is catered to men, but women can still support them! November is known for the Movember movement, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t ask the men in your community to grow their mustaches and beards for your cause! If they feel connected with your organization, they won’t hesitate to join in.

Also, if your community has a veterans’ group or sports team, you can partner with them. To get started, all you have to do is ask your male supporters to grow their facial hair for a month. As part of the initiative, each participant agrees to help you raise funds. And this is where you can ask women, girls, and boys to join in on the fun!

Your fundraisers have to ask sponsors to support them (and your cause) as they grow their facial hair! Encourage participants to turn to their family and friends for monetary support. By the way, if you get a group of men who work for a business to participate, perhaps it’s something their corporation will also support.

A chef competition is a creative fundraiser that doesn't involve selling.

3) Chef Competition Fundraiser

Are you or people you know foodies? Well, an excellent and tasty fundraising idea is a chef competition! Think of it as your own Master Chef competition.

All you have to do is recruit amateur chefs (and even bakers!). Then, find a venue. Start by considering a school cafeteria or the hall of a church in your community. After securing a venue, invite and promote your chef competition and invite people to attend your event. This fundraising idea will be a lot of fun for your community, because people will actively participate and vote on which chef or team offered the best dishes.

In exchange for a charitable donation, everyone gets to participate, and the experience will be one that will be memorable for your community and your cause!

A film festival is another fundraiser that doesn't involve selling and will bring the community together.

4) Film Festival Fundraiser

Many people love movies, so a film festival is a great fundraising idea. Because of the digital age, almost everyone has a cell phone on them at all times. Due to technology and social media, people already constantly take pictures and shoot videos. So, take advantage of what people already do and ask them to do it for your cause.

Invite your supporters and other community members to enter their films into your amateur film festival. Select a date on your calendar when you can screen the movies. Also, think about different movie themes that might be of interest to your community. Depending on your community and your budget, screen the films at a local hall or auditorium, and charge attendees an admission fee.

Not only is this a great way to raise money, but it also brings the community together through common interests.

A karaoke fundraiser is an effective fundraising idea that doesn't involve selling merchandise.

5) Karaoke Fundraiser

Chances are, you have donors and supporters who love to sing. Plus, thanks to constantly-evolving technology, you no longer need heavy karaoke equipment. All you need is a good mic, an amplifier and a screen to stream lyrics.

Choose a date on your calendar for this engaging fundraising idea, and see if a local restaurant or bar will partner with you. In exchange for providing you with a venue, you need to effectively market the event and get as many people as possible to attend.

Then, the restaurant or bar will either allow you to charge an admission fee or provide you with 5 to 10 percent of the receipts for the evening. To secure even more donations, you can record the event and ask people to donate so that you can send them the MP3 music file.


Kristy Fonterela, the VP Marketing at Funds2Orgs, is the guest author for this post on fundraising ideas that don't involve selling.Author: Kristy Fonterela, VP Marketing, Funds2Orgs. Kristy Fontelera is a creative professional with a background in corporate and nonprofit social media advertising, content creation, and brand strategy. As the VP of Marketing, she works with a suite of global fundraising brands as well as manages national and local social media accounts for clients and entrepreneurs. Kristy enjoys new books, traveling, Fleetwood Mac, and picnics with her pup. Most of all, Kristy is a passionate individual that loves nothing than more than to help others make an impact in their market and the world.

Fundraise Up Transitions to 360MatchPro by Double the Donations as Exclusive Matching Gifts Provider

Fundraise Up Transitions to 360MatchPro by Double the Donation as Exclusive Matching Gifts Provider

Atlanta, GA (October 23, 2019)Fundraise Up is proud to transition its matching gifts integration partnership from Amply to 360MatchPro by Double the Donation, the leading provider of matching gifts and volunteer grant software to nonprofits and educational institutions.

Combined, the two solutions ensure the highest conversion rates and highest return from every donation made. Fundraise Up donation forms are engineered to engage more donors and drive those donations to completion using AI technology and dynamic donor experiences, while 360MatchPro’s powerful matching gift identification and follow-up ensures that each donation has the highest impact possible.

“The transition to Double the Donation was a no-brainer,” said Salvatore Salpietro, Chief Integration Officer at Fundraise Up. “Clients had a loud-and-clear preference in the matching gift provider they wanted as their fundraising partner. And the innovation Double the Donation has demonstrated with their 360MatchPro automation platform goes beyond what anyone else is doing right now. We’re proud to join the Double the Donation partner ecosystem. We even baked it right into our dashboard.”

The 360MatchPro by Double the Donation company name search field is in the Fundraise Up checkout flow.

The 360MatchPro by Double the Donation company name search field is in the Fundraise Up checkout flow.

Each year, $4-7 billion in matching gift revenue goes unclaimed. The gap between potential revenue and claimed revenue can be largely attributed to a gap in donor awareness. When donors don’t know that they’re eligible for matching gifts or how to go about getting their donations matched, billions of potential fundraising dollars never reach nonprofits.

360MatchPro ensures that every matching gift opportunity is identified and followed up on, without adding administrative burden to busy nonprofit teams.

“Partnering with Fundraise Up is a natural fit for 360MatchPro,” said Adam Weinger, President of Double the Donation. “The purpose of matching gift automation is to ensure that no matching gift opportunity goes unnoticed, and Fundraise Up giving forms makes sure that all donor touchpoints are accounted for.”

360MatchPro and Fundraise Up giving forms provide nonprofits and donors with a streamlined, well-engineered donation flow that leaves no dollars on the table.

Learn more about Double the Donation at https://doublethedonation.com/ or schedule a private demo of 360MatchPro at https://www.360matchpro.com/demo-request/.

Learn more about Fundraise Up at https://fundraiseup.com.

Almabase and Double the Donation Announce Integration with 360MatchPro Matching Gift Platform

Almabase and Double the Donation Announce Integration with 360MatchPro Matching Gift Platform

Atlanta, GA (October 2, 2019) — Alumni engagement and online giving expert Almabase has launched a new partnership with Double the Donation, the leading provider of matching gift and volunteer grant solutions to nonprofits and educational institutions. The features a new integration between Almabase online giving pages and 360MatchPro by Double the Donation.

Trusted by hundreds of higher ed and K12 institutions, Almabase is transforming the world of alumni fundraising. With the ability to integrate with various gift processing systems, Almabase provides a one-stop solution for achieving fundraising goals, acquiring new donors, and enhancing the online giving experience for donors.

The 360MatchPro platform actively identifies donors who are eligible for employer matching gift programs, provides their company’s specific matching gift next steps, and then follows up with them automatically to drive additional revenue to nonprofits. The integration with Almabase automatically adds an employer field onto online giving forms, jumpstarting the matching gift process.

The 360MatchPro by Double the Donation company search field appears on Almabase donation forms.

“The schools fundraising through Almabase are all in a unique position to take advantage of employer matching gift programs,” said Kalyan Varma, Co-founder and CEO of Almabase. “Integrating with 360MatchPro allows those schools to automate their matching gift opportunity identification and outreach. This is a huge value-add for schools without adding time-intensive administrative efforts.”

Setup of the integration is easy and only needs to be completed once. After setup is complete, schools have the capability to customize the matching gift follow-up that donors receive.

“Lack of donor awareness is the main contributing factor to schools falling short of their matching gift fundraising potential,” said Adam Weinger, President of Double the Donation. “Using 360MatchPro, schools start to close the $4-7 billion gap in matching gifts left on the table each year.”

360MatchPro identifies more matching gift opportunities than schools could do so manually, then actively and automatically follows up with them to drive a higher percentage of matches to completion than possible with manual outreach. Connecting 360MatchPro to Almabase giving forms ensures that no matching gift opportunity goes unclaimed.

Learn more about Double the Donation at https://doublethedonation.com/ or schedule a private demo of 360MatchPro at https://www.360matchpro.com/demo-request/.

Learn more about Almabase at https://www.almabase.com/.

CharityEngine exclusively partners with 360MatchPro by Double the Donation matching gifts platform.

CharityEngine Exclusively Partners with 360MatchPro by Double the Donation Matching Gifts Platform

Atlanta, GA (September 26, 2019)CharityEngine is excited to help nonprofits take full advantage of their fundraising potential through a new exclusive partnership with Double the Donation. The 360MatchPro automation matching gift solution by Double the Donation automatically identifies donors who are eligible for employer matching gift programs, then follows up with them to drive matches to completion.

CharityEngine online fundraising can now be integrated with 360MatchPro in minutes. After implementation, nonprofits will instantly begin receiving highly detailed analytics about their donors’ employment, matching gift eligibility, and matching gift submission status.

“The value of this integration to our nonprofit clients are two-fold,” said Leigh Kessler, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for CharityEngine. “First, we’re able to drive increased revenue without donors increasing their donations through employer matching gift programs. But even more exciting is that our nonprofit clients can add an entirely new dimension to their fundraising strategy via insights into where their donors work.”

Nonprofits are currently leaving $4-7 billion in matching gifts on the table, largely because of a lack of donor awareness. The 360MatchPro integration with CharityEngine addresses this gap in donor knowledge of matching gift programs by delivering next steps directly to match-eligible donors on the confirmation page and in follow-up emails.

CharityEngine exclusively partners with 360MatchPro by Double the Donation matching gifts platform.

“Once the matching gift submission process is demystified, donors take advantage of their employer’s programs in huge numbers,” said Adam Weinger, President of Double the Donation. “360MatchPro provides the jump start that donors need after making a donation through CharityEngine forms.”

Specifically, donors receive their next steps at the time of their donation, while they are most actively engaged in supporting their chosen cause and organization. At the time of checkout, donors are presented with the opportunity to search for their employer’s matching gift program details. The name of their company is saved, and they are presented with all the instructions and links they need to get their gift matched.

Learn more about Double the Donation at https://doublethedonation.com/ or schedule a private demo of 360MatchPro at https://www.360matchpro.com/demo-request/.

Learn more about CharityEngine at https://charityengine.net/.

GiveGab chooses Double the Donation for matching gifts integration.

GiveGab Chooses Double the Donation for Matching Gifts Integration

Atlanta, GA (September 9, 2019) — In an exciting move, Double the Donation is proud to announce that GiveGab has released a new integration with 360MatchPro by Double the Donation, the leading provider of matching gifts and volunteer grant software to nonprofits and educational institutions.

The integration connects 360MatchPro to GiveGab Enterprise, GiveGab’s year-round giving solution. GiveGab users can easily integrate 360MatchPro’s automated matching gift identification and follow-up tools into their GiveGab Enterprise online donation forms.

“GiveGab places a high importance on flexible and seamless solutions for busy nonprofits,” said Charlie Mulligan, CEO of GiveGab. “360MatchPro delivers on both. Double the Donation is able to identify more matching gift opportunities and actively follow up on them with personalized outreach to donors, all without disrupting the donation process.”

As donors progress through an GiveGab Enterprise online donation form integrated with 360MatchPro, the system goes to work matching donors with the corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs they’re eligible for. 360MatchPro then guides donors through the matching gift submission process.

The 360MatchPro by Double the Donation integration with GiveGab Enterprise guides donors through the matching gift process.

Setup takes minutes, and once the integration is established, nonprofits will immediately begin automatically identifying more matching gift-eligible donors who give.

“Nonprofits are leaving $4-7 million in matching gift revenue on the table every year,” said Adam Weinger, President of Double the Donation. “360MatchPro and GiveGab Enterprise are able to help nonprofits close that gap by addressing donor awareness surrounding these matching gift programs.”

The integration doesn’t just boost nonprofits’ matching gift revenue. The joint solution also opens up other fundraising avenues by delivering actionable statistics and reports back to nonprofits. 360MatchPro will help nonprofits identify their strongest corporate supporters, filterable by characteristics of their matching gift programs and by their percentage representation within the donor base.

With this information and step-by-step reporting of each individual donor’s journey through the matching gift process, 360MatchPro and GiveGab Enterprise greatly enhance nonprofits’ overall fundraising strategy.

Learn more about Double the Donation at https://doublethedonation.com/ or schedule a private demo of 360MatchPro at https://www.360matchpro.com/demo-request/.

Learn more about GiveGab at https://www.givegab.com/.

RaiseDonors selects Double the Donation as exclusive matching gifts provider.

RaiseDonors Selects Double the Donation as Exclusive Matching Gifts Provider

Atlanta, GA (August 28, 2019) — Double the Donation is excited to share the news of a new matching gifts integration with RaiseDonors and 360MatchPro by Double the Donation, the leading provider of matching gifts and volunteer grant software to nonprofits and educational institutions.

360MatchPro is the industry-leading matching gift automation tool for nonprofits ready to take their matching gift revenue to the next level. When integrated with RaiseDonors online fundraising forms, 360MatchPro automatically identifies and follows up with matching gift-eligible donors without requiring any additional action from nonprofits stretched for time.

“Nonprofits are missing out on millions in matching gift revenue every year, and we wanted to do something about it,” said Stephen Boudreau, Co-Founder of RaiseDonors. “360MatchPro by Double the Donation is the solution to increase fundraising revenue without any coding or lengthy setup — just one click.”

Adding the 360MatchPro streamlined company name search field to RaiseDonors online fundraising forms allows nonprofits to capture donor matching gift eligibility, then automatically present matching gift next steps on the confirmation page and in follow-up email messaging.

Add the 360MatchPro by Double the Donation streamlined employer search field to your RaiseDonors online donation forms.

Add the 360MatchPro by Double the Donation streamlined employer search field to your RaiseDonors online donation forms.

“The key to increasing matching gift revenue is to address the lack of donor awareness about matching gift and volunteer grant programs,” said Adam Weinger, President of Double the Donation. “The 360MatchPro integration with RaiseDonors online fundraising forms automatically identifies matching gift opportunities even donors had no idea they were eligible for, then guides them through their company’s specific process to get their gift matched.”

Each company with a matching gift program has different program requirements and processes for employees to take to get their gift matched. And with 65% of Fortune 500 companies and many others offering these programs, there are a lot of forms and guidelines to keep track of. Double the Donation’s database of matching gift companies takes the guesswork and time out of the matching gift process, leaving nonprofits time to focus on top opportunities.

Nonprofits can take advantage of this vast database of matching gift programs automatically in the donation process with the integration between RaiseDonors and 360MatchPro by Double the Donation.

Learn more about Double the Donation at https://doublethedonation.com/ or schedule a private demo of 360MatchPro at https://360matchpro.com/demo-request/.

Learn more about RaiseDonors at https://raisedonors.com/.

360MatchPro by Double the Donation now integrates with Ellucian CRM Advance.

360MatchPro by Double the Donation Joins the Ellucian Partner Community with Ethos Connectivity

Atlanta, GA (August 20, 2019) — As school year preparations begin, Double the Donation is proud to join Ellucian, the leading provider of software and services built to power higher education, in partnership to offer a new technical integration. The integration connects Ellucian CRM Advance with 360MatchPro by Double the Donation, the industry-leading matching gift automation tool for nonprofits and educational institutions.

Corporate matching gifts are an underutilized source of fundraising for institutions of higher education. Although 15-19 million individuals in the United States are eligible for matching gift programs, $4-7 billion in matching gift revenue goes unclaimed each year. The joint solution of 360MatchPro and CRM Advance addresses this gap in client potential to turn match eligibility into matched donations.

“When searching for a partner in the matching gift space, we knew that we needed an experienced company focused on technical innovation,” said Kim Coelho, Director of Product Management for the Advancement Solutions Portfolio at Ellucian. “Double the Donation brings a wealth of experience and a forward-thinking technological approach from the greater philanthropy world to our advancement solutions.”

360MatchPro by Double the Donation now integrates with Ellucian CRM Advance.

When connected to CRM Advance, 360MatchPro automatically scans gift records for matching gift eligibility. The system then delivers the right forms and instructions to each donor, following up appropriately to drive matches to completion. Thanks to Ellucian Ethos integration, this powerful automation can be activated within minutes, allowing institutions to begin doubling their fundraising revenue instantly.

Since 360MatchPro handles this matching gift identification and follow-up automatically, gift officers and advancement offices can dedicate their valuable time to top opportunities instead of manual outreach.

“Time-saving automation is the key to the value of this joint solution,” said Adam Weinger, President of Double the Donation. “360MatchPro shoulders the burden of research, outreach, and reporting that our clients were doing manually. That leaves time for advanced reporting and targeting manual communications to top matching gift opportunities.”

Learn more about Double the Donation at https://doublethedonation.com/ or schedule a private demo of 360MatchPro at https://360matchpro.com/demo-request/.

To learn more about Ellucian and CRM advance, visit https://www.ellucian.com/solutions/ellucian-crm-advance.

Double the Donation Announces Matching Gifts Integration with OneCause Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Platform

OneCause Announces Double the Donation Matching Gifts Integration with Peer-to-Peer Fundraising Platform

Atlanta, GA (July 30, 2019) — Double the Donation is proud to bring OneCause, a leader in mobile and social fundraising, into the 360MatchPro partnership ecosystem with an integration to the OneCause Peer-to-Peer Fundraising solution.

With the combined power of the integration, nonprofits can activate and manage their matching gift efforts with ease without even leaving the OneCause Peer-to-Peer Fundraising platform.

“An essential feature of the new OneCause integration is the match forecast,” said Adam Weinger, President of Double the Donation. “With this integration, donors see the highlights of their match expectancy before they donate, which encourages them to take advantage of the matching gift process. Then, 360MatchPro delivers their forms and instructions right to their inbox.”

A match-eligible donor making a contribution through an integrated 360MatchPro-OneCause Peer-to-Peer Fundraising form will know before they even check out whether their gift is eligible to be matched. 360MatchPro’s signature streamlined employer search field prompts the donor to search for their company’s name, then automatically calculates and presents their match expectancy.

360MatchPro by Double the Donation estimates corporate match amount on OneCause peer-to-peer fundraising forms.

360MatchPro by Double the Donation estimates corporate match amount on OneCause peer-to-peer fundraising forms.

“We’re excited to partner with Double the Donation and provide our nonprofit customers a new way to raise additional funds with their peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns,” said Dan Gross, Senior Director of Partnerships for OneCause. “Together we’re committed to improving the giving experience for donors with a more seamless way to increase their impact with a corporate matching gift.”

The 360MatchPro integration tackles the most substantial obstacle standing between nonprofits and their potential matching gift revenue: donor awareness. Even though 15-19 million individuals in the United States are eligible employee matching gifts, $4-7 billion in matching gift revenue does unclaimed annually.

The integration already has traction with users of both Double the Donation and OneCause’s services. Susan G. Komen Greater New York City has implemented the 360MatchPro integration for Komen Greater NYC Race for the Cure, which launched earlier this year.

“We’re longtime 360MatchPro users, and when we made the move to OneCause Peer-to-Peer, we knew that 360MatchPro was the missing piece,” said Glen Peck, Senior Director of Digital Communications at Susan G. Komen Greater New York City. “We loved how fast the integration process was, and we were kept in the loop along the way.”

360MatchPro by Double the Donation can be activated from within the OneCause peer-to-peer fundraising platform.

360MatchPro by Double the Donation can be activated from within the OneCause peer-to-peer fundraising platform.

Any organization accepting donations through OneCause Peer-to-Peer Fundraising can now activate the 360MatchPro integration and instantly begin doubling their contributions. Simply contact your Double the Donation or OneCause account representative for setup information— or, if you’re not already a 360MatchPro client, reach out at https://www.360matchpro.com/demo-request/ to get started.

Learn more about Double the Donation at https://doublethedonation.com/ or schedule a private demo of 360MatchPro at https://www.360matchpro.com/demo-request/.

Learn more about OneCause at https://www.onecause.com/.

Arreva Chooses Double the Donation for Integrated Matching Gifts Provider

Arreva Chooses Double the Donation for Integrated Matching Gifts Provider

Atlanta, GA (July 24, 2019) — Double the Donation is proud to announce a new strategic partnership with Arreva, trusted leader in fully integrated online fundraising and donor relationship management software.

Arreva clients may now activate matching gift functionality directly from Arreva’s fundraising software and include a streamlined matching gift search tool with the click of a button through 360MatchPro by Double the Donation, a robust, fully-automated matching gifts platform.

Following the transaction, donors will receive their matching gift next steps directly on the donation confirmation screen and in automated follow-up email messaging. This streamlined, frictionless experience ensures that donors take advantage of the matching gift programs for which they’re eligible, helping nonprofit organizations maximize their fundraising opportunities. 360MatchPro synthesizes all the organization’s matching gift data and presents actionable insights that can be used to even further enhance their matching gift efforts.

Arreva partners with Double the Donation for matching gifts.

Donors can submit their matching gift request from the Arreva confirmation page. Note: Matching gift information abridged in image.

“We’re thrilled to bring yet another incredibly valuable integration to our clients through our fully integrated online fundraising and donor relationship management software,” said David Blyer, CEO of Arreva.

Susan Packard Orr, chairman of Arreva adds “Arreva is dedicated to our clients’ success by helping them optimize their fundraising through best-in-class technology and fundraising best practices. With 360MatchPro, Arreva clients now have a powerful new tool to increase average donation size and volume without asking more from donors. The streamlined integrated donor experience helps nonprofit organizations run successful matching gift programs with much less effort and greater results.”

Donors giving through the Arreva online fundraising form, integrated with 360MatchPro, will be automatically screened for matching gift eligibility and their transaction and employer information will be recorded in the Arreva platform. 360MatchPro synthesizes all of the organization’s matching gift data and presents actionable insights that can be used to enhance their matching gift efforts.

Arreva partners with Double the Donation for matching gifts.

The Arreva form builder makes it easy to prompt donors to get their donations matched.

“Lack of donor awareness is the number one reason for the $4-7 billion in matching gift revenue left on the table every year,” said Adam Weinger, President of Double the Donation. “We are delighted to be working with Arreva and their many clients. Our strategic partnership with Arreva and integration of 360MatchPro with their fundraising platform closes the donor awareness gap for organizations, allowing them to significantly increase their matching gift revenue using Arreva’s robust software.”

Learn more about Arreva at https://www.arreva.com/ or schedule a private demo of Arreva’s fully integrated online fundraising and donor relationship management software at https://go.arreva.com/schedule-demo/.

Learn more more about Double the Donation at https://doublethedonation.com/ or schedule a private demo of 360MatchPro at https://www.360matchpro.com/demo-request/.

Check out how you can make your website more accessible!

8 Ways to Make Your Nonprofit Website More Accessible

This post was contributed by Elevation and written by Lauren Uhl.

Today in the United States, all those with disabilities are entitled to equal access in public facilities. This means building ramps and elevators, accommodating bathrooms with handicapped stalls, sectioning off one/two parking spots in the front, and more. Think of the internet and your website this same way: you have to intentionally consider those with disabilities when creating and maintaining your website. Such actions should not be considered laborious favor: they are, in fact, legally required. Those who proactively consider accessibility measures on their website will allow all types of users to partake in their online experience, whilst avoiding potential lawsuits. Check out these 8 ways to make your website more accessible. 

Download this information in a handy infographic here

What is Website Accessibility?

Let’s backup a little bit: what is website accessibility all about? Similar to accessibility in the real world, website accessibility is designed to accommodate diverse users on the internet. This includes those with auditory, visual, neurological, physical, and speech special needs, as well as those with old age and slow internet. Nonprofit website designers must consider ways their color layouts, text content, and overall structure can reach these diverse populations. 

Accompany color indicated text with additional indicating text/images

We use color indications in many places around the world: with stoplights, warning signs, and more. While it may feel natural to change content colors based on connotations (i.e. red means stop/important, green means good/safe…) those maintaining and designing websites should keep colorblind, visually impaired, and epileptic populations in mind. Of course, you can change the text color for meaning, but that should not be the only indication of meaning. This means (for example) marking important content in red AND accompanying it with additional text that reinforces the text’s importance. 

Use appropriate contrast on text and images

It’s also important to color contrast on your website. According to Web Accessibility In Mind, texts and images should maintain a contrast ratio of 4:5. While larger text requires a contrast of at least 3:1, smaller text, images, and logotypes, in general, are exempt from such requirement. You can check your color contrast here for more information.

Use a minimum font size of 16

The bread and butter of your nonprofit website is (most likely) the text content. Therefore, it’s absolutely essential that the text is accessible. 

The first and probably easiest fix is making all text a minimum size of 16. Of course, you can make the text bigger, but any smaller may result in a legal issue.  

Add closed captions and/or transcripts for videos 

Next, ensure that all videos have closed captions and a manuscript to accompany it. That way, those with hearing impairments/faulty computers can still access information shared in the video. 

Use Alt-text on all images 

Check that images have a descriptive blurb, or alt-text. While every content management system is slightly different, they all should have a way to add alt-text to your images. 

Allow flexible navigation time-limits 

While seamless navigation is already a strong priority for user experience, it also helps those in underdeveloped areas and those with faulty service access the website contents. 

Website designers should allow users flexible time limits. Some websites force users to log back into the website after a given time period: such improves security, but it also can hurt those with slow internet. Be sure to add flexibility into time-sensitive areas in your website so you can maintain some level of security while also accommodating users with slower service. Whether you add warning messages on time limits or some other indicating method, this will improve both user experience and accessibility in developing areas. 

Allow full website navigation via keyboard actions

The website should be completed navigable through keyboard actions. That way, users without a computer mouse can still be able to jump around the website. Elevation Web uses the wordpress plugin from userway.org

Add concise text for error messages

Finally, when coding error messages, be sure to make them concise. Simply displaying an icon (i.e. red exclamation point) may mean “warning” to someone from western cultures, however, such may confuse other demographics. If you want to include some image/icon with a warning message, be sure to accompany it with a concise explanation for the error. 

Software Help in Accessibility 

To be safe, website maintenance staff should assess the website’s accessibility bimonthly or more. Below are some helpful resources for accessibility assessments:

  1. Google Lighthouse
  2. Userway.org
  3. WordPress accessibility tools and alt text finder identifies 

This post was contributed by Lauren Uhl at Elevation.

Lauren Uhl is a copywriter at Elevation, a full-service nonprofit web design agency. Lauren earned her B.A. in English Literature, Secondary Education, and Philosophy from Gonzaga University and is currently studying for her M.Ed. at the University of Portland. Lauren believes writing can change the world: that’s why she teaches middle-schoolers Language Arts and History through a social justice lens. More than anything, she hopes that she can find the right words when people need it the most.