With so many options out there, charities embarking on their digital journey may be spoilt for choice. We take a look at some of the best places to build a charity website
Every charity needs a good website. In this increasingly digital world, a website is one of the most important digital tools that a charity has.
A good website can help charities to:
In the early days of the web back in the 1990s, the only practical way to build a website was to hand code each page using html – the language of the world wide web. This was a highly-skilled and time-consuming job.
Fortunately, things have got considerably easier since then. Today, charity staff with no coding knowledge and just a little tech savvy can create and update relatively complex websites which can accept donations and carry out e-commerce. They can do this using a website platform.
A website platform is a little like a word processor program for web pages, and it allows a user to choose a design template, add pages, and drag and drop or point and click on items such as pictures or video clips, to add to the web page. Once a website has been created, the website platform then handles everything from making the website available on the internet to managing the more complicated functionality such as e-commerce.
Different charities will look for different things in a website platform depending on factors such as their size, the complexity of their needs, their budget, and the digital skills available within the organisation.
Key website platform differentiators include:
There are a huge number of website platforms available for charities to choose from for their charity website. Here are just a few of the best ones to take a look at:
WordPress - Good for charities of all sizes
WordPress is a very powerful website platform, with a large number of templates including ones specifically designed for non-profits and almost unlimited customisation options.
There are also a huge variety of plugins for charities which add functions – such as a Kickstarter plugin that allows you to embed a Kickstarter campaign in your website, or a DonorBox plugin that lets you offer one-time and recurring donations.
Pricing: From free to £36 per month for an e-commerce-ready site.
Wired Impact - Good for medium to large charities
Wired Impact has one very important thing going for it: it is a website platform specifically designed for charities and other nonprofit organisations.
That means it offers some very useful charity-specific features such as an online donation system, a volunteer management system which allows charities to post volunteer opportunities and accept registration, and an charity event management system with registration and payments.
Pricing: Starts at $69 per month, rising to $329 per month for the fully featured service. A free trial is available
PageCloud - Good for charities of all sizes
PageCloud is a relatively sophisticated website platform which is easy to use thanks to is drag and drop, What-You-Want-Is-What-You-Get (WYWIWYG) interface.
Although it is not aimed specifically at charities it does offer a range of nonprofit templates which can be highly customised to create almost any look and feel.
Pricing: Starts at just $20 per month, and a free trial is available
White Fuse - Good for smaller charities
White Fuse is a UK-based service which offers a charity website platform that includes fundraising tools, on-site payments, event booking and many other functions. The company helps to plan the structure and content of a new website, builds it, and then provides training so that customers can enter their own content.
Pricing: Starts at £65 per month with a setup fee for a new website starting at £500 plus VAT. A free trial is available.
Wix - Good for smaller charities
Wix makes it very easy for a charity to build a website from scratch using a simple to use drag and drop editor. There is a good range of templates available including some designed for charities.
Functionality such as the ability to accept donations and to allow volunteers to sign up can be added using apps from the Wix App Market.
Pricing: A free option exists, but premium plans without Wix ads start at £6 per month, rising to £22 per month for the top-level service. A 14-day money back guarantee is provided.
Wix is currently available at a discounted rate on Charity Digital Exchange.
Weebly - Good for smaller charities
Weebly is arguably even easier to use than Wix, with a simple drag and drop interface.
The platform offers plenty of design templates, an easy way to create a fundraising online store, and the option to make fixed sum donations through the store.
Pricing: Weebly offers a free option with advertisements, and pricing starts at £4 per month. The popular Pro option costs £9 per month and includes $100 of Google Ads credits.