Why A Website is Crucial for Nonprofit Organizations

If working for over 15 nonprofit organizations, including my own, has taught me anything, it’s that the budget is always a major concern.  Most nonprofits understand that a website is something necessary to their legitimacy, but new nonprofits may not realize how important it is and skimp on early website development.  Here are three ways a website can support a nonprofit organization at any stage to help you reconsider.

1. Donations

Nonprofit organizations receive money from several sources.  Historically, the bulk of a nonprofit’s revenue was likely to come from grants.  However, the current political atmosphere has made some foundations tighten their belts — and increased private donations significantly (the ACLU private donation spike after the election was especially notable).  My conversations with Grand Rapids nonprofit organizations has confirmed that private giving is up.

A website can provide the simple means for accepting donations.  When GreenCup builds a nonprofit website, we also make sure that the donations page is both easily discoverable by your supporters and easy to use.  The Community Rebuilders website we built is a prime example of this.  In fact, the website trend for 2017 is to enhance mobile giving for nonprofits — no surprise since mobile website access has increased notably each year since the smartphone launched.

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2. Revenue

Many nonprofit organizations find that they can supplement their budget through offering revenue-generating classes and services to the public.  This may be as simple as selling branded or mission-based tees and swag, or as involved as teaching community oriented courses.  Your website can help with this.

For example, our client, the GreenHome Institute, teaches classes and webinars to construction professionals to certify them in LEED and other Green building methods.  This fits GreenHome’s mission of supporting the nation-wide movement toward greener building practices, and also drives a significant revenue stream back into the organization.  Attendees simply sign up and submit payment on the website, saving this nonprofit time and personnel resources.

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3. Managing a Database

As a nonprofit organization grows, so does their support base.  This isn’t comprised only of donors, but also colleagues, past supporters, current supporters, partners, attendees, volunteers, and many more.  Every nonprofit organization is unique, but one thing is sure — the better kept a nonprofit’s database, the better they can tap into recurring donations, programs, and services.

We built such a system into the BitCamp website.  How does this work?  A nonprofit website has at least one form, usually on the contact page.  Others are added for event sign up and donation gathering.  Each of those forms can be linked to a CMS and / or email marketing tools like MailChimp, Constant Contact, or Aweber.  Even if you’re not doing email marketing to your followers at this time, it is worth getting a list building tool set up to help you categorize and manage your contact database.  Having a website that does this for you saves time and money (and a future headache!).

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