Charity Website Design Case Study

This case study explores the process of creating an effective charity website design whilst maintaining an existing website presence.

The Access Project is a UK charity working with students from disadvantaged backgrounds in order to help them gain access to top universities. Utilising volunteer tutors, the charity helps students in overcoming the main barriers to access. This includes helping them achieve the grades they need, make a competitive application and ultimately empowering them to believe that university is a real option for them.

At the time of writing, I have been working closely with The Access Project, providing professional services for nearly four years. They are a fantastic charitable organisation that I am proud to support.


First and foremost, the client, as a voluntary organisation wanted help to build a more effective means of gaining volunteer enquiries. Their website would be at the heart of any internet marketing solution. The existing website was not designed for this purpose (as is the same for many charitable causes). It needed to be re-designed to promote volunteer opportunities and gain leads from their target market.

The charity was also in the middle of a brand refresh and needed the website to fit with its new brand guidelines. The existing website needed modernising, it was very informative but busy and hard to navigate. Although technically ‘mobile ready’, the website was difficult for visitors to navigate and consume its content. Importantly, it lacked visual appeal, especially for encouraging volunteering.

For staff updating their website with their content creation efforts and new layouts was an issue. Because of the way that the website had been built, we were also unable to make updates to the design on their current online platform. Adding future functionality, e.g. fundraising tools to the website for the charity would have meant needing costly custom web development.

Furthermore, although Google Analytics was set up, it was not actively being utilised to improve the website’s performance. Providing this support would be essential for gaining volunteer enquiries at scale.


As the need for volunteers was the first priority, and the charity’s rebrand was not yet complete; a two-phase approach was decided upon:

Phase 1 (Volunteering)

While the new charity website design was underway, we created a temporary microsite on a subdomain. Using the existing branding and visuals, we linked the subdomain to the main site’s webpage navigation bar. This allowed the charity to have the volunteer area they urgently needed without the restrictions of the existing website.

Phase 2 (Charity Website Design)

We created a new modern website that was fit for purpose, providing the following services:

  • Consultation services and expert advice
  • Graphic design that both modernised the non-profit and fitted with their new brand guidelines
  • Website layouts that were responsive on mobile devices – This is still an issue with non-profit website designs I often see
  • Website development on a platform that allowed for functionality to be added in the future as required
  • Landing page design to convert visitors into volunteer leads
  • An easy to use and secure content management system for staff to update their website
  • Tracking setup to measure website performance
  • Training on how to use the website
  • Managed hosting, regular backups and software updates
  • SSL certificate
  • Ongoing support with content amends and online tools
  • Ongoing support with interpreting analytical data.

Best of all, next time the website design needs to be updated, the content will not be lost or need to be transferred. This is a consideration often overlooked when non-profits outsource their web design.


The new website was launched and received excellent feedback from all stakeholders, including staff and service users. Since launching, further functionality has been added including the ability to accept charitable donations from fundraising campaigns and visitors being able to complete the volunteer application form directly on the website.

“Paul and his team have worked with us to design and build a new website and have delivered two successful Facebook campaigns to attract new volunteers. In addition, they have supported us to improve our volunteer registration platform to ensure we are making it as easy as possible for those who care about our mission and want to help to join up and do so.” – The Access Project.