I am such a dork that I have created a rubric for reviewing websites… In this rubric, I will list each point, what it means, and which elements of the site I am examining. Can you tell I went to school for education? My degree is NOT wasted after all! 

Category12345
Success Stories / News / BlogThis section exists but is not populated.This section is populated but it’s just a photo gallery or static page.Projects section is populated but it’s just a photo gallery or is not sortable.This section is updateable like a blog but little information is shared per post.This section is updateable like a blog and populated with ample information for each post.This section meets criteria for 4 and is creatively & attractively displayed.
ServicesThe Services page exists but is just a bulleted list.All services are listed and described on one page,or are listed on separate pages but described in less than 200 words.Each service has its own page and around 200 words of content, but do not have added functionality.Services each have their own page, link to related projects, and share who to contact for more information.Services meet criteria for 4 and are creatively and attractively displayed.
Get Involved / Ways to GiveA page exists sharing ways to give or get involved.This is a section of the site with pages dedicated to each of the ways to give or get involved but described in less than 200 words.Each way to get involved has its own page and over 200 words of content including a story and stated specific needs or benefits.Meets all of criteria in 3 and also features a testimonial, video, or photos and a form to allow people to donate or apply.All criteria for 4 are met, plus content is attractively and creatively displayed.
DonateA page exists telling people how to donate.You can donate online but it takes you off the site and it’s not a smooth transition.The page allows seamless branded online donations, shares a story and states specific needs.The page shares a story and specific need, a testimonial, video or photo. It accepts seamless branded online donations.All criteria for 4 are met plus donors can choose how they give – to the general fund, a specific project or recurring.
All content is attractively and creatively displayed.
Ease of UseNavigation exists OR navigation is mobile on desktop display.Mobile menu is reserved for mobile traffic. Dropdown menus enable people to easily jump to pages within a section.All of 2, plus interactive site content is logical to use. Links feel like links, buttons like buttons. Information is logically organized.All items from 2 & 3, plus key items from other sections of the site are used to supplement information throughout.Everything from 2, 3 & 4, plus elements are displayed attractively with creativity.
Creativity & ContentSite looks like someone forgot about all the pages, except for the home page.Some pages are well designed, but not all. Site is composed well, but looks like most other sites. Org purpose is fairly clear.Looks like a website someone cares about on the home page and some other pages. Effort was put into branding the site and org purpose is clear.This is a site someone cares about and each page has thoughtful layout and design. It reflects the organization’s brand, you understand why they do what they do.Looks like someone put some serious time and thought into making this site. It doesn’t look like every other site out there. The viewer is motivated to get involved through stories and other rich content.

Adopt a Love Story

https://www.adoptalovestory.com

Click the box in the lower right to view in full-screen mode.

Highlights

  • This website uses great design techniques and amazing storytelling throughout to motivate people to action. 
  • I love how they use real photos rather than stock photography to tell their story.  
  • Definitely check out the Our Families section of this website as an exemplary illustration of how to use storytelling to generate donations for your nonprofit.
  • I was a little confused about the purpose of the organization at first, but I think this could be cleared up very easily.  
  • The blog hasn’t been updated in quite some time. The design is nice, and the topics are on point.  
  • The donation feature is great; it offers lots of options, keeps me on the site, and doesn’t need a big “ask” on the Donate page itself, because there’s so many other stories throughout the site doing that already.
  • I’m not a huge fan of the little hamburger menu on the side. I’m not sure it was needed, but I can see how their target audience would probably know what to do with it.
  • The site is pretty well optimized; it loads relatively quickly. There are a few improvements they could make, but it’s not bad.

Score

Success Stories / News / Blog


Services


Get Involved / Ways to Give


Donate


Ease of Use


Creativity & Content

FINAL SCORE: 26.5/30

88

%


Awana

https://www.awana.org

Click the box in the lower right to view in full-screen mode.

Highlights

  • This site clearly explains what the organization is all about quickly. I like that I know within a few seconds just what they do.
  • They did a great job putting together the US Ministry pages. I like how they talk about the services or products they offer and then link right over into the blog or the shopping cart to show you things you might be interested in.
  • The shopping cart is easy to use and systemically formatted.
  • I’m not sure I like the way the blog and the contact pages are hidden down in the “More Info” drop-down. I usually like to put those on the main navigation. But maybe they don’t want people to contact them. Who knows?
  • Their blog is active and has lots of good information. It’s a straightforward layout, but the fun pictures keep it interesting.
  • The Donate page needs a story — really, the whole site needs a story. I’d love to see testimonials and people sharing their positive results who have used the products.
  • The site could use some optimization — the load time isn’t terrible, but it has some room for improvement.

Score

Success Stories / News / Blog


Services


Get Involved / Ways to Give


Donate


Ease of Use


Creativity & Content

FINAL SCORE: 27.5/30

92

%


Acumen

https://www.acumen.org

Click the box in the lower right to view in full-screen mode.

Highlights

  • This website is beautiful, it has a ton of variation in design and packs in a lot of functionality.
  • I’m not a fan of how the navigation changes when you get to the book purchase page, or of the hamburger navigation in the upper right corner. Navigation should stay the same throughout. I’m not sure the things in the hamburger navigation couldn’t just be added to the main navigation menu.
  • The success stories on this website, AKA Companies, are great — they’re short, to-the-point, and they give you the challenge as well as how they overcame it.
  • The blog is well-updated. The formatting is really cool, not the same layout you see on every other site.
  • The Donate section is lacking — it doesn’t tell the story of why I should donate or even what my funds would be used for. I’m also taken to another site to fill out a form, which, for a form as simple as this, could have stayed on the main website.
  • The content on this website is written for a pretty high reading level — someone who is used to dealing with financial terms. I feel like it could be made a bit simpler to understand for the general consumer.
  • The website is loading really slowly and could use some optimization.

Score

Success Stories / News / Blog


Services


Get Involved / Ways to Give


Donate


Ease of Use


Creativity & Content

FINAL SCORE: 27/30

90

%


Coyote Hill

https://www.coyotehill.org

Click the box in the lower right to view in full-screen mode.

Highlights

  • This is a great example of a local nonprofit who has all the right components in their website. Yes, there is certainly room for improvements in some places, but overall they have all the right stuff.
  • Their homepage shows tells you right away what they do and why their mission important.
  • They do a good job of thanking their sponsors front-and-center.
  • Their Events pages are consistent year after year, and they have lots of great photos to show you how much fun it is to attend.
  • They do a good job explaining their services, but I wish they would pull some of their success stories into the actual Services pages so people can see the impact they’re making right away without having to dig through the site.
  • High-quality, original imagery is used throughout.
  • The Donate page is less than perfect. It goes to an external site that’s not very branded. While it does have their logo, it doesn’t look very polished, which makes it not feel very trustworthy.

Scores

Success Stories / News / Blog


Services


Get Involved / Ways to Give


Donate


Ease of Use


Creativity & Content

FINAL SCORE: 22/30

73

%


Nashville Zoo

https://www.nashvillezoo.org

Click the box in the lower right to view in full-screen mode.

Highlights

  • The most important information is front and center.
  • There’s a good pop-up on entry — however, I would only show it once per visitor.
  • Great pictures of animals are used throughout the website. I would like to see more pictures of people enjoying the zoo incorporated, though.
  • Navigation is easy to use and features breadcrumbs and sub navigation well.
  • Internal pages, while well-designed, begin to feel repetitive after a while.
  • Even though the blog page link is hidden in the footer (Why?? 🙀), the blog is regularly updated and filled with lots of fun content.
  • I wish they would have used more video and other types of content within the website.
  • The donation section could use more of an appeal, and the donation forms need to stay in the main website.
  • The site is slow loading, which impacts the likelihood of people staying on the site as well as how Google serves the site in search rankings. It scores a 47% on GT Metrics, so there’s lots of room for improvement! 

Score

Success Stories / News / Blog


Services


Get Involved / Ways to Give


Donate


Ease of Use


Creativity & Content

FINAL SCORE: 24/30

80

%


Room to Read

https://www.roomtoread.org

Click the box in the lower right to view in full-screen mode.

Highlights

  • You can quickly and easily understand the mission of this organization even from just a few sentences on the homepage.
  • They have creatively displayed content in what some might call “tabs” and others might call expand-and-collapse formatting to keep the pages shorter. This method of content organization lets people click on the things they want to read about and works well on desktop, but it did not translate well into mobile.  
  • They do a good job of sharing the work they’re doing with an interactive map and infographic. The information is easy to consume and interesting to look at.
  • I like that they ask for donations and include an easy-to-use form at the bottom of every page.
  •  I wish they would have shared more stories of the people they help. I want to meet these children and see how this program has impacted their lives!
  • They have lots of easy-to-consume short videos about the program you can watch if you’re not much of a reader.
  • The blog page layout is tough to read and probably would not reach ADA compliance standards. But with a few revisions it could be much more user-friendly.
  • I would open all links to new sites in a new window so you don’t take them away from your site to read related news.
  • It’s awesome that they have a matching donor and that they clearly talked about it the top of the donation form.
  • The site has an okay load time, but with a few optimizations, it could load much faster.

Score

Success Stories / News / Blog


Services


Get Involved / Ways to Give


Donate


Ease of Use


Creativity & Content

FINAL SCORE: 22/30

73

%

What Do You Think?

Tell us what you think about these sites, and we’d love to have you submit your own site for review!

More about the Author

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Monica Pitts

Monica is the creative force and founder of MayeCreate. She has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with an emphasis in Economics, Education and Plant Science from the University of Missouri. Monica possesses a rare combination of design savvy and technological know-how. Her clients know this quite well. Her passion for making friends and helping businesses grow gives her the skills she needs to make sure that each client, or friend, gets the attention and service he or she deserves.

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