The nominees include the aforementioned Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Causecast ("where media, philanthropy, social networking, entertainment, and education converge"); charity: water (yes, that's really its name, apparently a clever way to capitalize on people's Web searches); Outward Bound; and The Nature Conservancy.
A quick glance at these sites reveals what the judges admired, and what other nonprofits designing their websites can learn from. Most of them show clear organization, an up-front and brief explanation of their mission, colorful and vivid use of photos and images, interesting content, and other clever ways to draw in readers and get them more involved in the cause.
Although the Webby awards aren't specifically about these websites' effectiveness in bringing in funds, check out the methods that some of them use. For example, the Nature Conservancy puts a number of donation and other options under the heading "how you can help," and encloses it all in a bright yellow box -- the brightest thing on the page. Charity: water opens its site with inspirational video, and offers two buttons underneath; "enter site," and "donate $33." Note that these don't appear too pushy; they're just a realistic part of supporting a good cause.
The Webby winner will be announced on June 8th. For more detailed tips on creating a website that's effective for fundraising purposes, see my article, "Using Your Nonprofit's Website to Help Fundraise."