A website is essential for your nonprofit. Not only do you get information out to the masses on your website, but you also build trust and give donors and volunteers the chance to get to know your organization.
It also needs to be engaging and converts users to supporters.
It needs not only to be attractive but also needs to be functional. Money drives nonprofits, and time is valuable. It is essential to have a successful website that doesn’t require much time to set up and maintain. Your new website must also be able to grow as you scale your nonprofit.
Hiring a web developer can be costly; this is why many nonprofits turn to website builders. Your website must be easy to use, have SEO tools, and templates to make it simple to get your content up and live for volunteers and donors. Due to budgetary concerns, online website builders can be the best choice for your nonprofit.
Choosing a nonprofit website builder can be difficult. You must choose one that helps establish your organization as an authority and a trusted source for help for those in your community.
This website builder must provide everything you need to build an effective website, including your calendar of events, registration and payment capability, a blog, social media links and social feed integration, directories, and more.
Your website builder should also allow non-professionals to log on and create a website with ease. Here we share the top three nonprofit website builders and highlight our top choice. When making our choice, we considered how easy they are to use, how well they function once you go live, and how flexible they are.
What Does Your Website and Website Builder Need to Do
Without a website acting as the face for your nonprofit, your organization may seem less than trustworthy. People love to Google businesses and organizations before choosing to do business with them. Those who wish to donate, volunteer, or find help need a place to find out everything they need to know before taking action.
On your website, you will be informing users, supporters, and the community of your efforts. You will be sharing the news of events and outreach. And it would be best if you did this regularly; so your website needs to be easy to update.
It would be best if you had event postings and calendars, forms for registration, and more. It also needs to be affordable, easy to integrate with the other significant applications you use, have extensive SEO capabilities, and the ability to preview your website as you are building it. Most importantly, you need to customize your website to accommodate the unique needs of your nonprofit.
Squarespace is an excellent place for all types of nonprofits. Well-designed, featuring a drag-and-drop interface, and customizable – just what nonprofits need. They have creative templates and customization options.
There are also donation buttons that allow you to accept donations through the eCommerce platform with Stripe or PayPal. You can list your events on the calendar with event times, descriptions, and sharing buttons for social media. But you cannot register or sell tickets on the website. You can also collect data for your mailing list and start one on Mailchimp.
You can start Squarespace with a 14-day trial to try its features before subscribing. There are no free options, and prices start at $12/month for the least expensive plan - the Personal Plan offers unlimited storage, custom forms, and email. There is also an e-commerce platform for $18/month for merchandise.
But if you need some simple additions, it will cost you. To accept payments directly, you need the Business Plan or higher, which can cost upwards of $40/month.
Two things that may affect your setup are that Squarespace templates are responsive but only offer one level of sub-navigation, and while you’re building, you can’t preview your site. Although you can accept one-time donations, you’ll need to integrate Donorbox or another fundraising platform for recurring contributions. The SEO capabilities are also limited.
Meta descriptions aren’t available for blog posts, and alt tagging images is complex. If you provide courses online, your users will be directed to a third-party teaching platform or app, which will cost you even more.
Wix is an all-in-one website builder that has a drag-and-drop interface and plenty of templates just like Squarespace. But there is more, and Wix provides tools to customize your website even further with fundraising pages and the ability to Livestream.
The builder offers members-only areas, event management, and a donation through the Get Funding Wix app. While building your website, you can easily navigate to the preview before publishing it live. Their templates are mobile-responsive, providing users with the same experience they would on a desktop.
The interface is straightforward, and if you need a domain name, you can pick it up there. There is a limited free plan, and you would probably end up upgrading as you scale. For better credibility, the Combo plan is available for $14/month and the Business Plan at $23/month that offers more capability.
With the most common additional features, plans range between $20 to $70/month. These upgraded plans provide free hosting and domain connection, customer service support, Google analytics, and storage space.
A few of these additional features are the Wix Shoutout email service for campaigns, the Wix Scheduler for volunteer facilitation, Wix Video for content longer than 10 minutes, and the 3rd party fundraising tools. Advanced options on Wix require some coding experience. And storage space is limited.
If you decide to migrate elsewhere later, it’s hard to do that with the free version of Wix. Changing templates involves copying all of your content to the new template. The website builder does not offer unlimited emails to members, mobile check-in for events, or peer-to-peer fundraising.
We’ve reached our recommended nonprofit website builder – WordPress. Not only is it responsive, but it also allows you to post the content and images that will garner the most trust, commitment, and connection with your users. Blog posts and pictures are perfect for doing just that, and as the leading content management system platform on the world wide web, WordPress is the standard. This is probably why it powers 40% of all websites on the web today, including Bloomberg News and The Jane Goodall Institute.
The most significant difference between Wix, Squarespace, and WordPress is that we can create a custom website for your nonprofit using the platform. Wix and Squarespace have limitations that a custom WordPress website doesn’t. With a custom WordPress website, you have a more search engine-friendly site, allowing you to rank higher in search engines. It can also grow and scale with your nonprofit.
Customization is king over at WordPress with thousands of themes for nonprofits. When you build on WordPress, you have access to your website’s code, allowing you to personalize your design.
Summing it Up
Without a website, it is virtually impossible to spread your mission, build support, and indeed be effective as a nonprofit. Choosing the best website builder can be challenging, but we hope that we have given you a great starting place for choosing your nonprofit website builder. To recap, Squarespace has an easy drag and drop interface and great templates, and Wix offers more customization, fundraising, and the ability to Livestream.
And our choice, WordPress, is the best to build the most robust online presence, establish your nonprofit as an authority, and build trust with users. With WordPress capabilities, you can share blog posts, stories of the help you’ve brought to the community, and more. This is what builds relationships and gets users to commit to joining you in your cause. It also gives you exceptional customization options and plugins to make your site your own.
We at Dogpaw Studio are here to help you get the best website for your nonprofit. We are committed to building a custom website with a purpose using WordPress for your nonprofit. Contact us today for your complimentary consultation.