What to consider when choosing a WordPress theme for a nonprofit.
Today’s nonprofit can no longer depend on generous donors to send money because of the quality or depth of the mission. In a tight economy, nonprofits need to act like businesses – adopting business principles and strategy in order to stay competitive. One major component of a competitive nonprofit is a powerful and dynamic web presence.
Because this new reality for nonprofits and non-governmental organizations requires an intentional focus on their website and design, and WordPress is miles above the competition when it comes to building a community online, I thought it important to look at what makes a good nonprofit WordPress theme.
First, how these themes were rated.
1) A good nonprofit WordPress theme must be easy to navigate for non-tech savvy visitors.
2) A good nonprofit WordPress theme incorporates multiple avenues for converting visitors to participants.
3) A good nonprofit WordPress theme is stylish but professional.
I examined each of these three factors, along with basic standards for usability, good design principles and quality coding. The following are standout themes that would be good for virtually any nonprofit.
A fixed layout, 3-column theme with lots of social media engagement for potential donors or volunteers. Comes with a slick portfolio feature too.
A 2-column business theme with striking color contrast and up-top social links.
An easy to implement branding platform (like – just upload your logo easy) and an integrated events calendar make this a great option for nonprofits.
It is what it says, a simple nonprofit theme with a header menu to highlight what’s important. A clean blog and latest news function round out this nonprofit theme.
More striking contrast to make the theme pop off the page. Above the fold social links and easy navigation.
A truly simple design with the old school menu header. This theme is super free (full GPL) because it’s found in the WordPress theme depository.
It’s right in the name: “simple”. A smooth, clean design but a pretty powerful back end with a complete administrator panel.
Responsive is the key phrase here. With more people accessing the web via mobile devices than ever before, this theme will set up your organization to catch people wherever they are, and in the future as more and more people use mobile web.
One of the very few themes out there specifically designed for nonprofits. Foundation theme is from a small (2-theme) shop so who knows about support or consistency. But the theme looks pretty tight and clean.
Some nonprofits generate some great images as part of their work. Panoramica would be a good theme for them because it is built to showcase powerful images.
Again, built to rotate great images, Simple n’ Bright also has some beautiful built-in photography that can make the visitor feel all warm-and-fuzzy and maybe a little open-the-wallety.
Another theme with rotating imagery. Boldy is put together by Site5 hosting as a “free premium” theme. Lots of social integration and a clean column look make this theme a winner.
Generating lots of written content? This theme is the one for your group. A very clean, professional look with sutle vertical lines make the user feel like they’re sitting in grandma’s living room (in a good way).
OK, the “thank you” isn’t meant for your donors, it’s meant for Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress. But it could be customized to provide a very nice message to your visitors.
Yep, I really dig the simple themes. Most themes today only look good with amazing, popping images and we don’t all have those accessible and appropriate for our site. Simplo is super simple and super easy to navigate. Two great design principles.
A very professional looking design, obviously targeted toward universities. With universities comes instant “cred” so tap into that if possible.
Nice, calming but exciting blue permeates this design. Great for kids charities or other child-focused agencies. The navigation is simple, but the layout doesn’t allow for much content above the fold.
One of my favorites on this list, Respo is clean but really professional. The menu is boring, but the rest of the design is simple in a nice, clean and usable way.
One of my other favorites on this list, I think it’s the subtle vertical lines and the off-black menu. I love how this theme draws your attention immediately to the name, then the content.
This one is modern in terms of design style. The static image background, overlaying screening, and round social buttons are all “design-forward”. If your nonprofit is progressive, this may be the design for you.
Rounding out my list of favorites among favorites, tint has a cool, retro color bar at the top that serves no function other than to make me happy. The user is drawn to the content of your message or mission right away.
Not my favorite design, can’t really explain why. But it has all the right components. Maybe it’s my hatred of the color teal. Yes, that’s it. Otherwise, Quintel might work perfectly for your nonprofit.
A simple and straightforward nonprofit theme. If you care most about your content and images, this might be your theme. It doesn’t distract with flashy features, just clean lines.
Rolex is nice because it has front page widgets you can use to highlight your work with nice icons. Plus the images are nicely displayed above the fold.
I liked faith because it has an elegant quote or statistic spot at the top. Highlight a fact about what your organization does, or some inspiring word of wisdom.