Julia C. Patrick, the host of The Nonprofit Podcast, said it best when she said, “What I hear you saying is that a website is not one and done,” and I couldn’t agree more! When hiring the right website designer for nonprofits (and for-profits), consider their experience and maintenance package. For example, my website design partner offers a maintenance package that includes two hours per month of content changes. That’s valuable, especially for a nonprofit, which may need to change pages for different programs and events.
Don’t Put Good Content on a Bad Website.
I don’t mean that your website is bad, only that it needs a bit of love. If you’re writing useful content, then let’s take a step back and ask a few questions.
Is the design current? If it has been a couple of years, it’s likely your website could use a design update. This is because Google has changed how it scans websites. If you have an older site, it may not have the elements and coding Google requires for today’s websites.
When was the website last backed up? This happens with website maintenance. If you had a website designed and no one has been updating elements of the site, then it’s likely it hasn’t been backed up either. It’s important to do this in case of a hack; a web maintenance professional can easily restore from backups. If there are no backups, then you may need to restore from the original website or won’t be able to restore at all. Source: It happened to me.
Is the content relevant to your target audience? Google wants to see current, relevant content related to the main topic or purpose of your website. If the site is cluttered with other content, it’s time to clean it up and create updated content.
Hiring the Right Web Design for Nonprofits
Pretend you’re hiring them like you’d hire an employee. Ask others who they have utilized. Just because they have a competitive price, doesn’t mean they are experienced in designing nonprofit websites. You may need a designer who is also a developer or who works with a developer to create databases for email and donor lists and a donation platform. It’s a good idea to hire someone who understands nonprofit needs and design elements. If you need a referral, I have a few for you. Just contact me through my website.
Find Out the Cost of Website Design and Maintenance.
I prefer project rates. The reason is that we all know what it will cost based on a specified scope and budget. Include a provision for what the cost is to go outside the scope. Maybe it will be phase two which will be quoted separately, or it may be an hourly fee to complete the project. That means understanding what your organization needs vs. what you want. Maintenance is a monthly charge; my partner includes two hours of content changes per month that can be banked to use later.
As a nonprofit leader, I understand you have a budget so my partners and I work within what you can do. Maybe we start with a one-page website that can get the word out about your mission and lend credibility to the organization. Then later we can add pages and even a blog. For others, it may be updating an old design with a new one and adding current programs and news. Having an idea of what you’d like for your nonprofit website will make it an easier process when hiring a website designer for your nonprofit, or hiring a website copywriter.