Samantha Ste Marie • 2022-12-02
Without a website, your organization is not accessible to the vast majority of the population. With a 42% increase in online giving, this means more people are choosing to donate through an organization’s website and even social media.
Everyone and their Grandma has a website. Whether you’re a big software company or a full-time government employee with a side-hustle, you definitely have a website to sell your products or services.
The simple reality is without a website, your organization is not accessible to the vast majority of the population. In fact, in 2022 alone, we have seen a 42% increase in online giving, which means that more people are choosing to donate through an organization’s website and even social media.
With online giving continuing to rise in popularity, it's important that nonprofits make sure they have an online outlet for their donors to donate, which means having a fancy schmancy website.
Yes, creating a website can be overwhelming, especially when you’re either starting a nonprofit organization, and you might already be shaking your head “heck no!” Don’t worry because we’ve got you covered in this blog post.
Wordpress is by far the most popular website builder for nonprofits today with a whopping 56% of respondents from this survey stating they use Wordpress. Why do so many nonprofits flock to Wordpress and choose it as their website builder?
Well, Wordpress’ very own philosophy is:
“Great software should work with little configuration and setup. Wordpress is designed to get you up and running and fully functional in no longer than five minutes. You shouldn’t have to battle to use the standard functionality of Wordpress.”
Basically, if you don’t know anything about building a website then Wordpress might be a great option for you. The only thing we might challenge in this philosophy is the whole “getting everything up and running in five minutes” thing. Now that might be a stretch.
Wordpress has a variety of plans that you can choose from based on what you want your website to be able to do for your nonprofit, and you can get started with Wordpress for as little as $9 USD when you choose their monthly option and $5 USD per month when you choose their annual option.
Since Wordpress is the leading website builder, it will be much easier for you to connect different pieces of nonprofit software since the majority of software companies work to make sure their tools are compatible with Wordpress. There are also Wordpress exclusive tools, such as Yoast SEO, that you would not be able to access should you choose a different website builder.
If you’re looking for a domain to be included in your plan with Wordpress then you would need to select the annual payment plan because a domain name is not included if you choose the monthly payment option.
Wix is a website building platform known for its simplicity and ease of use for its customers. They provide hundreds of templates that you can choose from and customize versus having to develop something from scratch. No more “website inspo” Pinterest boards for you!
One of the big perks with Wix is that you can use their website builder for free. The only downside to this would be that you would have to keep the wix branding at the footer of your website and you would not be able to use a custom URL. If you want that custom URL, you can upgrade to their first payment tier of $15 USD per month.
The platform is very simple and easy to use. You can use their questionnaire to explain what you will be using their platform for and they will recommend some of their plug-and-play templates to make your website creation easier, versus having to sift through hundreds of options which, if scrolling has taught us anything, can quickly lead to you losing hours of your life. We’re looking at you Tik Tok!
Beware of Wix’s challenges when it comes to their mobile versions of websites. It is not a mobile responsive platform and therefore your overall website design may not look the way you want it to on mobile, which can cause problems considering 28% of online donors use their mobile devices to donate.
Squarespace is one of the fastest growing website builder platforms on the market with their reasonable prices, next level customer service, and easy-to-use templates. With over 87,000 ecommerce websites from the USA alone, Squarespace is quickly becoming the go-to option online.
While some website builders, like Wix, offer a free option, Squarespace does not. They offer a free trial, which includes all of their features (excluding the ability to make your website live) so you can make sure the platform is right for you.
When your free trial expires after 14 days, you will then need to select a paid plan which starts at $16 USD per month on an annual payment term, or $23 USD per month on a monthly payment plan.
Squarespace has slowly become one of the top options for nonprofits who are interested in using blogging as part of their marketing strategy. For many years, Wordpress has been the top option, but with Squarespace's ever-growing library of tools and resources, it has begun to edge out Wordpress for the top spot.
Squarespace is also the go-to place for their gorgeous plug-and-play templates that are completely mobile responsive. This means you don’t have to worry about things looking wonky on mobile devices!
While Squarespace does have amazing templates and tons of tutorial content around how to use all of their templates, they do also have many updates they release that are quite often not for ALL of the templates in their library. This means, when you’re looking up how to do something with your website design, there might be some confusion about which version of a certain template you are using and whether or not the tutorial actually applies to your specific template. This can be a bit frustrating and cause some delays in your design process.
Square is a website builder best known for their quick and easy solutions for ecommerce businesses. Their platform is specifically designed to help businesses sell their products online, or for those like yourself, looking to build a basic website to attract more donors to your cause.
They have four plan options with the lowest one being $0 per month and a guarantee that it will always be free. Should you get started and realize you need additional features for your nonprofit website, you can always upgrade to something like their “Professional Plan”, which includes a custom domain, for just $12 per month, billed annually.
Square seems to value efficiency over anything else, which means their goal is to get you up and running quickly and with as little headache as possible: “Publish your eCommerce site quickly with our easy-to-use store builder – no coding required.”
I don’t know about you but the “no coding required” part is music to our ears… Or eyes!
All of their plans include a transaction processing fee of 2.9% + 30¢. Depending on how you are planning to process donations, this amount will stack on top of any other solution you are choosing to use, such as Stripe. Without an option to allow your donors to help cover your fees you are left with less for your mission. However, if you choose to only use Square as your donation processing platform then this processing fee is incredibly standard.
Hold on a second! What about your donation forms? You obviously need to make sure those are set up properly or else this whole website debacle has been for nothing!
Here at Givecloud, we have some simple code that you can embed right on your new website. It might look like gibberish…
And it might hurt your head a little bit, BUT your developer will 100% know what to do.
Don’t have a developer? Don’t sweat it! This is a simple copy and paste code that goes right onto whichever page you choose on your custom website. Easy peasy.
For all you visual learners out there, here are a couple of examples of how the Givecloud donation forms could look on your custom website:
1. This is an in-line embedded form that would simply be placed onto the page in-line with whatever else you have designed.
2. This one is an embedded modal that pops up over the page when one of your donors clicks the “Donate” button or any kind of hyperlinked text.
Picking a website builder can be overwhelming. Before you make a decision it’s important to list out what features mean the most to you and then choose the option that fulfills your needs.
All of these options will give you a fantastic looking website, BUT just make sure the one you choose is right for you and your organization.
When you have your website all setup the way you want, you can hop on over to Givecloud and grab your easily embeddable donation form. Then you’re up and running and ready to start taking donations!
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