Volunteering With Animals – informational site about animal rescue volunteering

Another charity website, oh how I love to do charity projects! :)

This one is all about volunteering with animals and it’s a ‘stepping-stone’ site which will hopefully help to raise the profile of the target organisation – Rescue Helpers Unite.

Blogging & Search Engines

By posting regularly at the VolunteeringWithAnimals.co.uk blog, I hope we can ensure that we appear on the first page in google for our desired keywords and terms. It’s a tough market as there are a lot of sites out there about volunteering with animals.

But it’s not all about search engine rankings – I also hope to make the site a valuable resource for anyone interested in volunteering, where they can find out more about animal transporting, animal fostering, homechecking, fundraising etc. Most of the pages include a comment area where people can ask questions and give us feedback too.

A picture is worth a thousand words

Most of the images (or perhaps all of the images now that I think about it) used on the site are genuine volunteers photo’s that have been submitted by them for use in promo materials. There are some great photo’s that I hope will really be of help in getting people interested in the subject – much more so than stock photo’s which, whilst being an invaluable resource, can sometimes give off an air of ‘phoney-ness’ (that may be a made up word).

Price was also an issue when it comes to photo’s. For pro-bono charity projects, it’s much better to be able to use good quality, genuine and FREE photo’s of volunteers, rather than some boring stock photo.

Design – less is more

The design for Volunteering With Animals is simple and easy to navigate, and includes some of the colours from the ‘Rescue Helpers Unite’ palette, complementing but not completely emulating the colours used on the main website/forum.

The basic design on this site isn’t anything that’s going to blow people’s socks off, but that wasn’t the intention. The focus is on the content with this one.

Websites for charity – a new project giving free web advice to charities and non-profit orgs

So I’ve finally got a dedicated website for my free charity website advice, helping charities and non-profit organisations get more out of the web.

The site will include posts about charity website designs, website hosting, domain names, free email newsletters, free forums, social networking for charities, free photo galleries and videos, plus lots of other bits and bobs.

After working on lots of charity website projects over the last few years I’ve come across loads of really useful, free or low cost tools and ideas, and I wanted to be able to share my experiences and suggestions with as many charities as possible.

Often I see organisations paying more than they need to for cost-effective websites and hosting etc. and by keeping these costs low, charities can use more of their hard-earned fundraising income for the purpose of their charity.

Websites For Charity is still in the early phases but over the coming months I’ll be adding more content and I hope that over time the site will grow in to a valuable resource with a wide range of topics covered.

Currently working on animal rescue charity website…

I originally worked on a website for the Friends of Akitas Trust, a UK registered charity working to help & rehome Akitas, back in 2008. It was in fact my very first Pro Bono charity / non-profit / animal rescue web design project.

I was given a basic brief and some screengrabs of other sites they liked the look of and off I went. I thoroughly enjoyed working on the site and I think the finished design came out quite close to how they were hoping it would  (well it’s 3 years on and they’re still using it so hopefully that’s a good sign!).

It was a site built on a basic CMS (quick.cms) with a minimal design with lots of whitespace, focusing the users attention on the content. I think it adequately fit with and portrayed their ‘brand’ to the public.

So, following on from that project 3 years ago, earlier this year the Friends of Akitas Trust contacted me again to see if I’d be interested in working on an updated version of their site, something more modern and with more features.

Of course I jumped at the chance. I’ve volunteered for the Trust previously by transporting Akitas to their foster homes on a few occassions, so I know they are a great rescue and that makes working on their web design projects even more enjoyable to me, because I know I can produce something that will be of benefit to them and ultimately the dogs they are caring for, plus I get to incorporate images and info on dogs in to the site. As a huge dog lover myself this combines my passions – animals and web design – so I really enjoy my work.

The idea for the new site was again to keep the design minimal (white background) and make use of their signature colour, a striking red from their logo.

The site is now close to complete, built on WordPress which I consider to be the best choice for most sites due to it’s versatility and ease of use, but especially for charity sites who can really benefit from the ‘free’ price tag.

After the site is up and running online I will get some screengrabs posted here for all to see (together with some more items from my portfolio which is noticeably lacking on this site), but I won’t show off until it’s ‘live’ as I wouldn’t want to spoil the suprise :)

Got an animal rescue or charity web design project you’d like me to work on? Feel free to leave me a comment or contact me. Thanks!