The world is always in need of a helping hand and many NGOs are doing important work for the betterment of their community. But how do you get the word out? Well-designed, compelling charity logos are the first step in making your non-profit stand out from the crowd and connect with donors and supporters.

Nonprofit, NGO and charity logos
Illustration by OrangeCrush

The main goal of your charity logo is to convey the mission of your organization. It should align with your non-profit’s visual identity and illustrate what you stand for to compel people to take action. The best NGO logos are also aesthetically pleasing, timeless, and adaptable for use across multiple mediums such as social media or fundraising mail.

Maybe your foundation logo is in need of a fresh new look, or you’re starting up a new nonprofit. In this article we’ve collected examples for different categories of nonprofit services to use as inspiration for your new design.

First, let’s look at some local, national and internationally focused NGO logos to see what works and why.

IRL NGO logos and why they work

YMCA

YMCA logo
Two versions of the NGO logo for YMCA
YMCA logo

The YMCA rebranded in 2010 to a simpler but recognizable logo. With more than 2,700 locations in the US, each location can design their own look within their style guide colors to create a unique identity and still be on brand. The bright happy colors convey the nonprofit’s mission of youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.

World Wildlife Fund

World Wildlife Fund logo
NGO logo for World Wildlife Fund

WWF has probably the most recognizable nonprofit pictorial logos, where they use an image as their focal point. Since it uses a monochrome color palette, it’s very adaptive and can be easily used in multiple mediums. The positive (black) space gives just enough definition, so that a viewer’s eye can complete the rest and recognize the panda in an instant. The cute panda brings focus to the foundation’s mission of conserving wildlife and nature.

The Happy Hippie Foundation

Happy Hippie Foundation logo
Foundation logo for Happy Hippie Foundation

As far as foundation logos go, The Happy Hippie Foundation has got to be the most fun! The altered smiley face embodies the “Miley Cyrus brand” and engages the younger target audience. This logo clearly conveys her nonprofit’s mission to rally young people to fight injustice facing homeless youth, LGBTQ youth and other vulnerable populations.

Aggregate Space Gallery

multi colored ASG sticker
ASG logo on sticker.

Aggregate Space Gallery (ASG) is an artist-run, nonprofit exhibition and performance space in West Oakland dedicated to the exploration and presentation of immersive works. They used a lettermark design which turned their initials into a stylized logo. The fun part is that their design is easily adaptable for different updates or messages using the positive and negative space, like when they moved to a different location. They also came up with a clever design for their stickers using their “Install the Unimaginable” tagline and cut together photos from their past installations.

Feeding America

Feeding America logo
Charity logo for Feeding America

The charity logo for Feeding America is very simple, effective and aesthetically pleasing. The stacked “I”s forming an ear of wheat swiftly convey the message of food and the charity’s mission of nationwide hunger-relief. A logo that gets straight to the point.

St. Anthony Foundation

St. Anthony Foundation logo
Foundation logo for St. Anthony Foundation 1) their brand color
St. Anthony Foundation logo
2) black overlay for BLM

The St. Anthony Foundation logo has a timeless design that conveys their mission and history. They use an emblem logo framed by a badge, which conveys the historic part of its identity. Their logo is connected to their history as a church-based organization in the spirit of St. Francis, and their mission is to feed, heal, shelter, clothe and lift the spirits of those in need in San Francisco.

As a simple logo, it is also easily adaptable. For example, with the Black Lives Matter protests, they were able to easily change their logo color to black and shared messages of support for the black community in their struggle for justice.

charity: water

charity: water logo
Non-profit logo for charity: water

charity: water’s non-profit logo is an elegant, modern design that clearly illustrates their mission of bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing countries. It combines the pictorial element by using the water jug as a focal image and the “charity: water” wordmark, meaning the uniquely stylized typeface of the organization’s name. The iconic graphic can also be used without the name in different settings, making it very versatile.

City Youth Now

City Youth Now logo
NGO logo for City Youth Now

City Youth Now has a colorful design connecting to their mission which supports youth in the San Francisco Foster Care and Juvenile Justice Systems and providing services that promote stability, personal growth, and long-term success. The arrow in the logo clearly shows action, and if you ask me, almost looks like a house. Do you see that too?

Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Boys & Girls Club logo
NGO logo for Boys & Girls Club

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America NGO logo uses a simple yet distinctive design. Their logo would be described as an “abstract mark”, which is a unique symbol that conveys a big idea in an interesting shape. The Boys & Girls Club design alludes to holding hands to mean support or mentorship, and further, their mission of enabling young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. With 4,300 Clubs across America, all use the same logo design and list the specific city our county it serves.

Seva Foundation

Seva Foundation logo
Foundation logo for Seva Foundation

Seva’s foundation logo illustrates their mission in the design with the two eyes and swirl as a bindi. Seva (pronounced Say-Va) is a Sanskrit word meaning “selfless service to others.” They are a global nonprofit eye care organization that works with local communities to preserve and restore sight.

Amazing non-profit and charity logos to spark inspiration

You want your logo to reflect what your charity stands for and what you’re working towards. That’s why your logo design needs to be tailored to your organization. Below are some ideas to inspire you and help you figure out what’s right for you.

Go green

Organizations that support the environment often have nonprofit logos with symbols of trees, water or animals and use natural colors like green, blue or brown. This instantly creates a connection to nature—a great way for environmental non-profits to show what they care about.

sustainability tree logo
A colorful design featuring sustainability by Dusan Klepic
Foundation logo with hummingbird
This hummingbird’s colors connect with the foundation name in a creative way by Joel Lindberg
Environmental foundation logo with leaves
Modern and geometric design for an environmental foundation by tgolub
green leaves and a hand environmental logo
The leaves and hand symbolize hope for the environment by Maiori

Think paw-sitively

Charities supporting wildlife put animals forward, because who doesn’t love cute doggies and majestic elephants?! Using animal silhouettes is a great way to keep your logo simple while including creative details at the same time.

Negative space wildlife logo
An elegant wildlife logo design utilizing negative space by Cross the Lime
doggy held by hands outside
Foundation logo design with a snuggly doggy by cioby

Let colors speak

It’s a good idea to also consider color meanings when designing your logo. Blue and yellow are common colors for social justice and housing NGO logos. Blue is a color for peace and wisdom and yellow is a symbol for optimism. Red is a great color choice to express passion and love.

A warm design by Tevita2
charity logo
A modern design by OTO-Design
blue and red hands
This logo with intertwined hands shows patriotism by Ian Douglas
justice and equality logo
A modern and sophisticated social justice logo design by Artmin

Ace the test

Health and education non-profits often focus on symbols of people or hands and hopeful themes in their designs.

No matter what symbols you choose, always keep your audience in mind. For example, when working with children you want a friendly and approachable design, yet in fields of health or education, you want a more sophisticated and trustworthy look.

two hands and a tree
This logo gives an essence of peaceful living for seniors by Sevarika
logo design with a smile and people
Playful and abstract design with a row of simple people icons by ORANGGO
adult and child holding hands and reaching for a star
A foundation supporting children design by EvgenYurevich
technology based design
Design supporting STEM education by Anna Grad

Get creative

Arts and cultural foundation logos are often colorful and usually include symbols of music or art to convey their mission. Charity logos with abstract shapes and designs can be a great solution for this type of non-profit.

colorful logo for museum
Attractive letterform logo with a fun use of color by halofajar
children's choir logo
A fun children’s choir design by bo_rad
design includes initials CCG, heart and music
This clever design combines initials CCG, love and music by Arthean

Turnip the support

Charity logos promoting healthy eating or food access often use symbols of fruits and vegetables or like with soup kitchens, bowls of soup. Farms often use natural green colors with a focus on symbols for growth or planting, whereas for kitchens and other food related charities logos with warmer tones and homely imagery are a great choice.

warm design with bowl and spoon
Design that could be used for a community kitchen by ludibes
farm to school logo
Whimsical logo for a farm to school program by JanaKah
sustainable garden logo
Logo for sustainable gardening as an act of love by Musique!

Time to make a difference

Whatever your non-profit’s mission is, be sure that your logo clearly illustrates it with a memorable, timeless logo that works in different settings and situations.

Don’t underestimate the power of great charity logos, they can be an invaluable asset for your organization. A compelling and creative logo can attract the attention of new supporters and really drive your message home.

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