How color impacts online donors as well as your direct mail packages [INFOGRAPHIC]

January 3, 2012

How important is color? Can it possibly impact how much people donate? Or how much they respond to any call-to-action?

The answer is an emphatic YES!

Although I’m not a graphic designer, I study research on how color affects the choices people make. And people are people so even if the research is related to consumer products or business-to-business (B2B), it carries over into the nonprofit sector.

Whether it’s the color of your carrier envelope, the color of your donate button, the color of your join button, or the color scheme of your entire website (and your “brand” image) … color plays a pivotal role in how people respond.

But don’t get carried away!

Too much visual overload (e.g., too many bright colors, buttons and images) confuses the eye and depresses response. This is because people can’t discern what is MOST important. Visual overload on nonprofit websites is an all too common problem.

The infographic below relates to how consumers respond to color and visual appearance.

And beneath the infographic I called out a few points I believe you ought to consider with your nonprofit website, emails, or direct mail packages.

But don’t limit your considerations to these points – study ALL the stats and data on the graphic because they are all factors in how donors, members, advocates, etc. respond to your messaging.

Points in the infographic I don’t want you to miss:

Color and Marketing: Visual appearance plays a key role in getting their initial attention (e.g., color on your carrier envelope). But reader-centric messaging (copy), readability, etc. are what “close the deal.”

Color and Consumer: The influence that color has varies by country. So if you have an international audience, bear this in mind.

Other Influences: “Convenience” highlights the importance of making your website – including the donation or join process – as simple and visitor friendly as possible.

Overall Design: For visitors to your website, poor navigation and poor overall design (from THEIR point of view) drives them away. In other words, they don’t stay on your site as long nor do they respond to your calls-to-action.

The stakes are high so this is a vital design issue for your site. It’s worth testing with donors and members who are unfamiliar with your organization.

The Element of Time: Do you like flash? Do you like tons of photos and graphics all over your website?

Milliseconds are literally costing your nonprofit money. Many people won’t stick around waiting for your site to load.

Power Words: What are the power words for your nonprofit? What phrases evoke the right emotion in your supporters?

And how are you reassuring them that supporting your organization is “safe” for them to do – that donors and members can trust your nonprofit? This relates to the importance of a guarantee on consumer sites. What proof do you offer that your nonprofit is honest; that your board members are credible; and that you have a system for auditing your accounts and screening employees and board members?

In addition, associations could offer a type of guarantee to members.

I’ve written about it on this blog numerous times: Studying how people behave in the consumer and B2B markets benefits your nonprofit. We don’t behave one way as a consumer and then do a 180 when we consider donating to a charity or joining an association.

Consider color and visual appearance when creating your nonprofit direct mail packages and your website. Use it to help you influence the desired response in your supporters.

One more thing: My best to you for a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

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