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10 Most Effective WordPress Themes for Nonprofits in 2020

Louisa McGrath
October 04, 2020

Over on the WordPress.com theme store, there’s no category for nonprofits. So your options may seem limited at first. But a lot of these themes are actually ideal. The hard part is actually going through each and every one to figure out which could work – luckily, I’ve done it for you!

I’ve selected a handful of themes with the features nonprofits need most. Think members-only areas, recurring donations, events calendars, blogs, social media buttons, and accessible design. Because you’re probably trying to minimize costs, I’ve also been mindful of the price tag.

WordPress.com has almost 200 themes to choose from, so it took me a lot of (wo)man hours to put this list together. You can rest assured that any of the themes below will allow you to build an on-brand, on-message, fundraising website in no time at all!

For extra brownie points, I’ve also highlighted a couple of themes to avoid, as well as some of the best options from Wix as well as a few independent themes you can on WordPress.

WordPress Themes That’ll Impress Your Donors 

Nonprofit themes available from WordPress.com's theme store
Entering terms like ‘nonprofit’ and ‘charity’ in the search box will narrow your options.

Whatever plan you’re using, essential SEO, advanced image galleries, social media share buttons, form builders, and email subscription buttons all come as standard. So do certain event widgets, like Eventbrite and Google Calendar. You won’t even need to install them.

Premium plans and up also get automatic access to video uploads, Google Analytics, and a CSS editor. While Business subscribers benefit from advanced SEO tools. Of course, WordPress.com offers lots of other third-party plugins too. But you’ll need a Business plan to take advantage of them.

With these must-have features checked off your list, let’s take a look at some designs that look great and offer even more perks for nonprofits.

Alves

A home page demo of the WordPress Alves theme.
This free theme features an impressive home page, as well as basic Contact, About, and Donation pages. There’s a section for your nonprofit’s Board of Trustees too.

Inclusivity is a priority for many nonprofits, so the fact that Alves adheres to accessibility best practices may appeal to you. It enables keyboard navigation and allows the visually impaired to navigate your website.

The theme also features step-by-step instructions, which are interspersed with helpful support videos. This makes it easy to get started. From adding your own logo to creating each block of text, it’s all there in the theme’s overview. So Alves is ideal if a complete beginner is in charge of your project.

But you should know that this theme’s design relies on strong images. If your nonprofit has some, Alves will definitely work for you. Otherwise, you should check out WordPress’s Free Photo Library before getting started.

As it’s completely free, Alves is a great option if you’re operating on a shoestring budget. However, if you want to process donations or other payments on your site, you’ll have to sign up for a paid WordPress subscription – a Personal plan at the very least. Though this would only cost a few bucks each month.

Alves is best suited to small nonprofits. If you need a simple site to raise awareness about your work in the community, Alves will be a great fit. But if you run a larger nonprofit, you should probably keep reading.

Pena

The home page of WordPress.com's Pena theme
The Pena theme is designed specifically with nonprofits and charities in mind.

Pena is a clean, modern theme which offers a variety of customization options and page templates for nonprofits. It is also accessibility and mobile ready.

The design features a striking homepage and prominently placed social media buttons. It’s ideal for building trust and connecting with donors. But if you don’t like something, this theme is particularly flexible. You can customize the header, menu, colors, and fonts. You can even choose from a selection of three blog layouts.

There’s plenty of opportunities to incorporate your choice of widgets, too. You can easily add an event calendar, email sign-up, or petition form to the sidebar or footer.

Pena also supports popular payment plugins like Give and WooCommerce. These can both facilitate recurring donations, as well as various payment gateways – you can read our expert WooCommerce review for more info. So if you want to raise funds through an online store, Pena’s got you covered. However, you’ll need a Business plan to access these plugins. But a couple of sales each month would cover the cost.

If you want to focus on the numbers before the themes, we’ve written a whole article on the different WordPress.com plans and how to avoid hidden costs. Also, if you’ve already made up your mind and want to sign up, just make sure that you take advantage of the most recent WordPress discounts and coupons.

Pena’s setup instructions also provide the code needed to add a donation section to your site – just like the one seen in its demo above.

Pena is a premium theme, which means it is free if you’re signed up to a Premium or Business plan with WordPress. Otherwise, it will cost you just under $60.

Maisha

The Maisha theme on WordPress.com
Maisha gives you a choice of 15 different page templates to work with.

Maisha is versatile, responsive, and puts social media icons front-and-center. The design is just as modern as Pena’s – though it features a lot more white space.

Personally, I prefer Pena but this theme is a better option if you want to focus on blog content. With six blog layouts to choose from, as well as different post formats, you can present your content whatever way you like.

You can also add featured content to your homepage to highlight important posts, petitions, or emergency appeals.

Maisha supports Give and WooCommerce for donations. Free plugins like Peepso and BuddyPress can also be used to create community forums. These can be added to any theme. But the designers behind Maisha have tested and tweaked their code specifically to ensure full design integration with these few plugins.

Forums can nurture discussions around your nonprofit’s work. Or, if you restrict access to members only, you’ll have a private area where you can publish exclusive content or organize volunteers.

However, one downside to note is that Maisha doesn’t appear to be an accessibility-ready theme.

Maisha costs just under $60 – or you’ll get it for free if you’ve got a WordPress.com Premium plan or higher.

Prosperity

The Prosperity theme on WordPress features a minimalist design.
The tiles on Prosperity’s home page can be used to showcase articles, testimonials, services, staff, or volunteers.

I love Prosperity’s warm aesthetic and minimalist design. This theme is perfect for professional nonprofits, particularly those with a focus on green issues.

Created for use by nonprofits and medium-sized enterprises, Prosperity offers responsive design, four page templates, and a testimonials feature.

This is also a great theme if you want to add a blog or news section to your website. You can choose between lots of different post formats to showcase videos, galleries, or quotes. You can also enable threaded comments and featured content sliders – which is a great way to promote content around priority campaigns.

The blog comments of WordPress.com's Prosperity theme
Threaded comments can be used to nurture community engagement, encourage discussion, or gather feedback.

According to the theme’s designers, each page is carefully constructed with SEO-friendly code. It’s also translation-ready, which means it will support multiple languages.

If you want to add donations or a members-only area to your site, you’ll need to make use of WordPress plugins. Both free and premium options are available and Prosperity is compatible with most of them too. But, like I said earlier, a Business subscription is required to access plugins.

Prosperity is free to Premium and Business plan subscribers, but it costs around $150 if you’re on a lower tier subscription.

WordPress Themes Nonprofits Should Avoid

According to the theme store, Fortune is suitable for businesses and non-profit organizations. However, I personally don’t think it works.

Powerful images are key to inspiring your visitors to donate or volunteer. But that’s not what this theme is about. The live demo is largely business focused and is very heavy on text. You’d have to invest a lot of time in writing content to fill the white space.

So, unless you happen to run a nonprofit which regularly publishes hefty research papers, this probably isn’t the theme for you. But if you do, you should check it out!

WordPress themes Organization and Fortune
Themes like Fortune and Organization could drive visitors away.

Another theme to avoid is Organization. Though it has a lot of great benefits, like responsive design and flexible customization, I think it looks a bit dated. So it’s not likely to inspire trust and confidence in your audience, which could be problematic if you’re looking for donations.

Organization was designed with eco-friendly businesses and nonprofits in mind. But I think the Prosperity theme would be much more appealing to eco warriors! However, if you aren’t signed up to a Premium or Business plan and have a very tight budget, Organization is much cheaper.

Other Nonprofit Themes You Can Use on WordPress

If you still haven’t found the ideal WordPress theme for your nonprofit, you could always check out what other platforms have to offer.

TemplateMonster's Society and People category.
TemplateMonster has a selection of nonprofit themes under its ‘Society and People’ category.

If you’re signed up to a WordPress Business plan, you can install third-party themes from the likes of ThemeForest or TemplateMonster. They offer loads of options for the nonprofit niche.

On ThemeForest, titles like Charity Foundation and Alone have lots of positive reviews. Most of Charity Foundation’s five-star ratings specifically relate to design quality and customer support. One user pays tribute to the theme’s attention to detail. And I’ve got to agree with this, from fundraising progress bars to unique nonprofit icons, this theme is thoughtfully designed.

With a hero slider featuring lots of unique transition effects, Alone is a more eye-catching option from ThemeForest. But the true appeal here is Alone’s 40 niche demo templates. Each one is designed for a different type of nonprofit – from political groups and churches, through to healthcare and environmental organizations. If you find one for your niche, you can import this demo content and save lots of time.

Over on TemplateMonster, Maxcom looks really appealing too. It includes a nice event calendar feature, as well as striking gallery options. You can customize everything from buttons to menu design too.

If You Can’t Find What You Want on WordPress, Check Wix

 The templates in Wix's nonprofit category.
Wix features 18 templates specifically designed nonprofit organizations.

You could also look at alternative website builders to see what they have to offer. Wix, for example, has a huge range of templates to choose from. In fact, Wix has a whole category of templates designed especially for nonprofit organizations!

The Best WordPress Themes for Nonprofits - Louisa
If you run a child-oriented nonprofit, Kids Charity could provide a ready-made solution. Its bright color scheme, unique icons, and child-focused images are ideal.

Titles like Kids Charity, LGBTQ Community Center, Animal Shelter, and Youth Center are all well-designed, but very different. It’s worth browsing through them all. If you find one closely related to your niche, it could save you a lot of work.

All Wix’s templates are mobile-friendly and the intuitive drag-and-drop editor is perfect for beginners.

Set Up Your Website For Good

Taking a few hours to find the right theme for your nonprofit will make it much easier to build your website. When figuring out which one to choose, think about what appeals to your target audience. What would make them engage with your website? What features does your website need now – and in the future? Is your primary goal to build awareness, attract volunteers, or raise funds?

By identifying these key factors, you’ll be sure to choose a theme that fulfils all your needs. And if you decide you need more variety than what’s offered on WordPress – or you just want some more inspiration – check out the templates from our list of the best website builders in 2020.

FAQ

How do I choose a theme in WordPress?
The best way to choose a theme is to put together a list of your must-have website requirements. Then use the search function to find a theme that suits your needs – you can filter by keyword, feature, layout, style, subject, and price.
Can you use WordPress without a theme?
No, you need a theme to build a website on WordPress.com. However, if you don’t want to choose one yourself, you can simply use the default theme.

Every year, WordPress releases a new default theme. It usually features a modern design and is extremely versatile, so it would be suitable for most websites – including nonprofits. In our review of WordPress, our website building expert found that you can use it to build almost any kind of blog or simple website.

What is the most popular free WordPress theme?
Every year, WordPress releases a new default theme which is named after the current year. (Twenty Nineteen, Twenty Twenty, etc.) And every year, it becomes the most popular theme.

It’s always free too!

That said, most of the best website builders also offer free plans and templates – so you’ll have plenty of options, even if you don’t find one you like on WordPress.

Is it worth paying for a WordPress theme?
It is possible to build a great website with a free WordPress theme.

However, a great premium theme can help you create a unique website that really stands out. This may help your website generate more sales and awareness in the future. If you find a premium theme suited to your specific needs and niche, it can also reduce the time needed to build your site.

And don’t forget – if you sign up for a Premium or Business plan, the fee for a lot of the theme store’s premium options is waived. If you decide to go this route, be sure to take advantage of any current WordPress coupons or discounts!

Inside this Article
WordPress Themes That’ll Impress Your Donors 
WordPress Themes Nonprofits Should Avoid
Other Nonprofit Themes You Can Use on WordPress
If You Can’t Find What You Want on WordPress, Check Wix
Set Up Your Website For Good
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