Of people’s first impressions of Web sites, 94% relate to design. You might write compelling copy, blog posts, or social-media content, but what grabs people’s attention most are the visuals on your site. For-profit corporations invest heavily in branding and design, but nonprofit organizations must also pay attention to branding and visual design.
Your nonprofit’s mission—the cause that you’re passionate about—plays an important role in encouraging people to engage with your Web site. But creating aesthetically pleasing designs can leave a lasting impression and make your organization look more reliable and professional.
While several tools are available for creating graphics and images from scratch, using these tools requires some fundamental knowledge and years of practice. Unfortunately, most nonprofits run short of budget for hiring experienced graphic designers to create eye-catching designs for their Web sites and fundraising campaigns.
So this article provides a list of free design resources that can help your nonprofit raise its design game and describes how you can use them to make a lasting impression on the people who visit your Web site.
7 Free Design Tools for Nonprofits
The optimal design tools for your nonprofit organization should enable you to quickly customize or create visually appealing images for your Web site and fundraising campaigns without spending a fortune.
However, with the host of options on the market, finding the tools that fit your business needs can be tough. Therefore, you should choose your tools according to your graphic-design abilities and potential use cases. For example, if you have no experience using design tools, look for one that does most of the work for you and doesn’t require much know-how. Let’s look at some free design tools that can meet the needs of nonprofits.
My #1 pick for a design tool for nonprofits is Infogram, and more than 30,000 businesses use Infogram. This tool can help you to create eye-catching infographics and boost audience engagement. Data is crucial to your nonprofit. Why? Because presenting facts that are backed up by data attracts more people to support your cause. Using slide templates from Infogram lets you present ideas and showcase your organization’s data in a slide format.
Nonprofits often promote their fundraising campaigns on social media. This tool can help you create stunning visuals for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. With Infogram, you don’t have to create designs from scratch. Instead, you can choose a ready-to-use template. You can customize these templates to match your brand, colors, and fonts and incorporate your logo. Infogram is a one-stop shop for producing visually appealing content that impresses and informs your audience.
According to recent statistics, more than 250,000 nonprofit organizations use Canva. You might also have used Canva to design content for your nonprofit. But if you haven’t tried Canva yet, now is the time to do it.
Canva is a favorite design tool among nonprofits because of its drag-and-drop functionality. Even if you are not a designer, you can use this feature to create professional graphics that convey your nonprofit organization’s vision and message. You might need visuals for your social media, blog posts, or fundraising initiatives. Using Canva, you can choose free photos and templates from a collection of thousands, then edit them to meet your nonprofit’s needs.
Plus, you can use Canva to make infographics, business cards, posters, thumbnail images, and other materials for your nonprofit organization. If your organization qualifies as a nonprofit, you can access Canva for Teams for free as part of the Canva for Nonprofits program.
3. Design Wizard
Another popular, free graphic-design tool for nonprofits is Design Wizard. This tool is free to use, and you can add your own fonts, logos, and photos to the tool and create custom color palettes. By choosing design elements from a database of one million images, thousands of videos, illustrations, and graphics, you can create stunning designs for your nonprofit.
When you choose stock photos from other Web sites, the most common challenge is their copyright issues. However, the fact that every video and image on Design Wizard is licensed for commercial use means copyright issues are no longer a concern. Design Wizard provides a free tool that is simple to use for graphic-design beginners. But nonprofits might also consider using a paid subscription to explore its more robust features.
4. Adobe Express
An excellent alternative for nonprofits who do not want to pay for Adobe Illustrator is Adobe Express. You can use this simple tool and its many free templates to meet the graphic-design needs of your nonprofit organization. Express can help you quickly create posters and videos for your fundraising campaigns.
However, this tool’s main drawback is that its functionality is limited. While it’s a wonderful place to start for new users, it’s less helpful for nonprofits who are looking for in-depth functionality. The tool’s best feature is its availability for both online and mobile use, which means you can create while on the go. With Adobe Express, sharing your logo, fonts, and other branding elements with your team is simple, and the tool supports seamless communication.
A next-generation, vector-graphics application, Lunacy is a free tool for user-interface (UI) and Web design. If you’re a nonprofit with a team of UI or UX designers who are looking for an affordable graphic-design application, consider this tool. The software enables you to design in real time, share documents with 100 team members, and supports more than 18 languages. Because of this, Lunacy is a great collaboration tool for nonprofit teams working on graphic-design projects.
Lunacy includes various robust tools that provide in-depth, advanced features such as an eyedropper tool, a pen, a ready-to-use UI kit, and more. You can download Lunacy for Windows, macOS, or Linux.
Gravit is a powerful graphic-design tool for nonprofits and provides a host of solutions that have helped it earn a special place among nonprofit organizations. Your nonprofit might currently be using nonprofit membership software to acquire new members, collect the necessary contact information, and market to certain member groups. However, with the help of Gravit, you can establish a database of volunteers and their skillsets, then track their availability, which can help you maximize your nonprofit’s efforts. It can also help you build custom tools that let you send personalized messages to your donors, convey your mission to potential donors, and seek assistance from your volunteers.
Gravit gives you the power, accuracy, and flexibility to unleash your creativity whether you’re designing visuals for your Web site, user interface, presentations, or social media. Gravit offers both free and paid plans. While the free plan is enough for beginners, you might need Gravit Designer Pro if you’re looking for more features such as unlimited cloud storage, working offline, and support for touch screens.
Pixlr is quite similar to Photoshop, but has fewer features. Therefore, it is easier for nonprofits with little or no graphic-design expertise to use. If you’ve used Photoshop in the past and are seeking something that offers comparable features, take a look at Pixlr. It’s available online, so you need not download any software, but the Pixlr desktop version lets users do offline editing, and it’s compatible with MacOS and Windows.
Pixlr has a steep learning curve if you’ve never used Photoshop before, so it might be best to start using Pixlr X. It offers slick design templates, ready-made collage layouts, and easy tools and lets you edit your work quickly.
The free plan gives you access to Pixlr X and E and basic editing tools. You can get all of the application’s features, including templates, better image resolution, AI tools, and more, with Pixlr Premium, at $4.90/month, or the Pixlr Creative Pack, at $14.99/month.
Not all nonprofits are capable of creating high-quality graphics on their own. But, if you’re working for a nonprofit organization that lacks the budget to hire any graphic-design professionals or is just short on time, take a look at the applications I’ve described in this article. While there are free versions of all of these tools, some offer only limited features in the free version. If necessary, you could upgrade your plan. But using the free versions of these tools can help you determine whether a tool meets your nonprofit’s needs before paying for a plan.
Pragati is an expert content creator who serves various clients’ outreach and content-marketing activities. She has been delivering content for over ten years, in the form of informative, easy-to-understand articles. Her areas of expertise include the SaaS industry, digital marketing, and information technology. She earned a Bachelor’s of Science as a Professional Certified Marketer (PCM) from P.G. College Jhabua and an MBA in Ecommerce / Electronic Commerce from the Institute of Management Studies. Read More