Charities exist for a different reason from businesses; they exist for the public benefit. Good design should not only be aesthetically pleasing, but also help to achieve a goal. It follows that charity websites should have a subtly different approach to design.
Charities are not selling a product or a service; charities work in a variety of ways to benefit the public. They are driven not by sales and profit margins but by voluntary donations, funding grants and volunteer support. For this reason, design for charities must take into account a diversity of purposes and resist the temptation of the ‘hard sell’.
Charities are uniquely accountable. Due to their status they are put under scrutiny by the Charities Commission and are expected to adopt an attitude of openness in their communications. Rhetoric will not suffice. When designing for charities, website designers must work to ensure that openness and accountability flow through the look, feel and usability of the website.
Good charities acknowledge that although they do not have to ‘make money’, professionalism is crucial. When it comes to design, ‘professional’ is not an empty adjective. Professionalism consists of strategic action, attention to detail and thoroughness. Each should be clearly reflected in charity-specific design work.