A nonprofit organization’s website is vital for raising donations, signing up volunteers, raising awareness, and more. Because a website is so important, it needs to be optimized for visitors and easy for employees/volunteers to update. The WordPress CMS gets you half of the way there as an affordable and easy to use option. The next thing to consider is the theme you use with WordPress.
One of the most powerful features that make WordPress stand out is the array of customization options. You can customize the look and feel of your WordPress site with code if you want. But it’s more popular to use plugins to add individual bells and whistles and themes to change the layout and content areas.
It’s not always enough to just dive in with the default WordPress theme. A site meant for a targeted purpose – like a charity organization or nonprofit website, for example – should utilize a targeted theme. It’s much less work to build out a site if the theme is already optimized for the types of content you need.
What Makes A WordPress Theme Best for NonProfit Organizations?
Giving online is only getting more and more popular as time goes on. Online giving made up 15% of overall fundraising in 2019. This number increased to 23% in 2020.1 This means that your nonprofit’s website needs to be donation ready. Some of the most important things to look for when shopping for a WordPress theme for nonprofit organizations are:
Premade Templates and Layouts
Unless you have a designer and/or developer on hand to create your site from scratch, premade page templates will be an important thing to look for. Many themes include a library of templates that you can choose from which are optimized for nonprofit websites. These can include mission pages, donation pages, landing pages, and more. Just choose one that works, tweak it to fit your needs, add your content, and hit publish!
Design customization options
The emotional connection website visitors feel toward your charity is a large reason why they choose to donate or get involved. The theme you pick should feature color customization options and a font library. That way you can make sure the site matches the emotional tone and existing branding associated with your nonprofit. The consistency of your visual brand will help you create a spot in your donor’s hearts and minds.
Speed and Performance Metrics
Did you know that 1 in 4 visitors would give up on a site that takes more than 4 seconds to load?2 That may not sound like much, but that could be a quarter of all your donations lost! A good WordPress theme will be fast and not slow down your site. The code should be lean and it’s features shouldn’t be so complex that they bog down page load times.
We all know that the world is now in our pockets via our smartphones. Therefore it’s important to take time to consider your donor’s mobile experience.
- Mobile users made up 33% of online donation transactions in 2019.
- In 2020, online donation pages on mobile devices converted 8% of the time.
- Traffic to nonprofit websites in 2020 came from mobile and tablet devices 50% of the time.
- In the same year, donations made via mobile increased by 50%, and desktop donations decreased by 10%.3
All of this basically means that a good WordPress theme will need to look good and work well on mobile devices. A great theme will require little to no effort on your part to accomplish this.
Now that we know exactly why it’s important to choose the right theme, let’s take a look at 7 of the most popular WordPress themes for nonprofit organizations. We’ll compare their features and by the end, you should know which theme will fit in perfectly with your website project!
While the free version is limited compared to the Pro version, the Astra free is incredibly robust and comes with a ton of features. You can begin with the free version, and upgrade when you want to in order to get even more features and support out of the theme. There are 100+ templates to choose from once you start using Astra. If your team needs some help, there is tech support and training available right away. If you have more than one website for your organization, you can use Astra on an unlimited number of websites when you purchase their most basic plan.
Zeko was designed specifically with nonprofits in mind. It’s design and layouts prioritize mobile-readiness. One of the stand-out features about Zeko is the fact that it comes with a suite of features that are beneficial for nonprofits – it integrates beautifully with the GiveWP donation plugin, you can sell merchandise with WooCommerce, newsletter subscription options are included, and Peepso and BuddyPress integrations mean you can build a social network right on your site. Their six pre-built page templates are perfect for about, project, cause, stories, and staff pages.
The Grassroots theme is a great option if you’re looking for a theme that is ready-made for nonprofit organizations. Images and video play a huge role in making an emotional connection with your audience. Grassroots features a hero section at the top of the page where you can feature a full-size video or image. It comes with the WooCommerce Campaign Extension plugin which you can use to fundraise directly on the site. Because the design is not dependent on screen size, you can expect each page to be fully responsive. Unique sections come prepackaged, like a sponsors section and staff area so you can highlight the people who make your organization run.
Charity Foundation was created specifically for nonprofits, crowd-funding campaigns, fundraisers, churches and other charities. One of the most appealing features of this theme is the suite of plugins and tools it includes – like Events Calendar Pro and WooCommerce. It even comes with a PayPal ready payment system so you can start taking donations much more quickly. There is plenty of room to grow with Charity Foundations add-ons which can help you build custom post types for individual causes. The theme also boasts quick speeds, SEO ready code, and a live customizer.
The Benevolent theme is another one of those great WordPress themes that offers both a free and premium version. That way you can get started with no up-front cost and graduate to more features if you want to. The free version comes with free support, is fully responsive, allows for custom CSS, is translation ready, and is optimized for search engines. The premium version takes things a step further with more design customization options, multiple header layouts, priority support, and plenty of page layouts. It’s a great option if you need to start with the basics and take the next step later on down the road.
Chariti – like the name says – has been designed specifically for the needs of charity websites. This theme does not hold back when it comes to features. This is probably hte most unique theme in the list, as it comes with a full membership system. This is where users can get access to a dashboard directly through the website. They can view their donation activities, edit their profile, view project wish lists, view transaction receipts, and more. You as the site admin can view donation histories in the backend of the site as well. The Chariti themes comes with a complementary page builder that allows you to drag and drop your page content and view page designs in real time. Overall, the donation and membership features of this theme really make it stand out.
The Alone theme is a top-selling nonprofit theme. It includes demos and over 100 page styles that you can use to get a head start on your designs. All demos and page designs are completely geared toward nonprofits, churchs, political campaigns, fundraisers, etc. The theme boasts high performance metrics, SEO friendly code, and responsive designs out of the box. As you get started, support is available to help you achieve the look and feel you are after. One of the most appealing things about this theme is that it includes free and premium themes, like Visual Composer, Slider Revolution, and Essential Grid.
I know we said 7, but here’s a bonus recommendation! If you would like to invest in a page builder rather than a theme, Beaver Builder is a hugely popular option. Tara Claeys of Design TLC lauds it as her favorite page builder for nonprofits. All packages come with unlimited licenses to use on as many sites as you want, 1 year of support, and a library of premium modules and templates. Here is why Tara loves using Beaver Builder for her NGO clients:
“I have tried a lot of WordPress themes. […] I settled on the Beaver Builder theme, the companion child theme and the Beaver Themer theme builder. I like using this combination for nonprofits, as it is lightweight, and does not rely on its own separate set of Customizer options. […] For nonprofits, who need to access their own website to make edits and updates, the Beaver Builder suite is super easy to learn and understand. I have also done some page speed tests on different themes and the Beaver Builder theme performs well, so I know I can trust it for my nonprofit clients who need fast-loading sites.”
If you’re looking for an expert opinion, this is one to consider!
Compare All Themes
So now that we know why these themes are great, let’s see how they stack up against each other. If there are specific options or non-negotiables you have on your theme wishlist, this chart can help you narrow your search.
|Free option||Includes NGO templates||Includes NGO content sections||Unlimited site usage||Page builder support||Training and support included||Mobile-friendly||Get started for $50 or less|
How do I know which nonprofit theme is perfect for my nonprofit?
After reviewing the themes above, you may still be torn between two or three options. It’s useful to consider the following questions when narrowing down your search:
- How recently has this theme been updated?
- Is this theme compatible with the newest version of WordPress?
- Does this theme come with enough documentation for me to feel comfortable learning how to use it?
- Is support (free or priority) included with the theme?
- Is support only available for a limited time?
- Are there public reviews available for this theme and if so, what do they say?
- Can I view a demo of this theme and what do I think of it visually?
After asking yourself these questions, it should be apparent which theme is the winner!
Once you’ve chosen the perfect theme, it’s important to make sure to protect that investment. The hosting you choose can ensure that your fast and optimized theme remains fast and optimized.
Cloud22 managed WordPress hosting checks every box. We manage your updates – making sure that when your theme developer releases an update or patch, you get it right away. We back up your site, just in case you make a wrong move in your theme settings. Our servers are integrated with LiteSpeed cache and Cloudflare CDN, so the beautiful design you used your theme to build is served to visitors quickly.