How much does a charity website cost?
is there an average price from a not-for-profit website?
A charity website is really essential today for the community and not for profit groups. It is a way for community groups and social action groups to get their word out. It is great for communication but also an essential fundraising tool.
It’s really difficult to say how much a charity web site will cost. It’s a bit like asking how long is a piece of string? There are so many options that need to be considered. It could be a multinational or an international charity which will have thousands and thousands of pages and interactive media. Or it could be your local community group which may need just five or six pages to explain what they do. Obviously saying an average cost for a charity website is going to be possible.
However large or small the web site, it needs to work for the charity if it is to be a good investment.
Main costs of a charity website
What is the cost of a charity website?
A small charity or community group web site can cost as little as £1000 to be developed. Then hosting fees can be about £10 a month. These prices include VAT.
If we concentrate on a smaller local charity or community group, we can start to look at some of the figures and pricing involved. A small website with, for example, 6 pages of information, plus the legal pages and a blog facility, will probably cost about £1,000 pounds for a developer to put together. In addition, to this upfront cost, there is also hosting cost and domain name and other issues. But these are the smallest part of the cost of a website. You can get really good hosting for just £10.00 a month including VAT. This brings the cost of running a website to well within the budget of most small charities and community groups.
Once you’ve covered the cost of a designer and hosting you also need some money for a training budget. If you have a website based on WordPress, then there is a lot of videos available on YouTube to show how to write a blog. It’s very easy and similar to using any word processing package. Writing blogs is a great way to keep your supporters up to date with what you are doing. So allow a little budget for training in how to write these blogs. For a small charity or community group to include all costs across a year, you need to be estimating a cost of between £1000 and £1500. This estimate will cover the cost of designing, hosting and some training.
What features should a charity website have?
When you first start planning your charity website there should be some things that need to be included. The first thing you need to do is to decide on what your aims are. You also need to decide on what each page of your website needs to achieve.
What you want to the web page to achieve very much depends on how you write that web page. A page that needs to raise awareness will be very different, in style and structure, to a page that needs to raise money.
A good charity website will be structured to allow a range of pages to meet the needs of the charity or community group. The design or structure of a charity site will feature, for example;
- A home page stating the major aims of the group and short sections introducing other pages of details
- A contact page which is essential for all charity and NGO websites. This will feature address, contact number and contact form. It could also feature other ways of contact such as Skype or social channels
- Privacy page which is a legal requirement in the UK and EU. This will cover how you share data, any cookie consent details and other things to do with data collected from visitors.
- About page can be a really useful page as it will describe the history and foundations of the community group or charity. It’s here that you start to build out the ethos of the group.
- Donations page, even if you are using a website to raise awareness of a cause of inform people of an issue, what charity doesn’t need more income? Always have a donations page where people can give. This need not be an expensive situation. A simple Paypal button can take donations for you at a relatively low cost compared to banking and credit cards company fees.
Beyond these basic pages, there can be other pages such as volunteering, staff profile pages, project detail pages and many, many more.
What makes a good charity website?
For me, what makes a good charity website is good content. Up to date content that’s informative always helps in fundraising online. It helps to keep people coming back to a website. Any charity that needs public funding good communication is essential. It’s why every charity website I build always includes a blog feature.
It can be hard sometimes to write blogs. A big question is always how often should I write a blog for my charity? The answer to that is simple; when you have something useful to say. If you have good news or a new project, then let people know. If you don’t have a lot to say then just do a weekly or monthly round-up of what your group has been doing.
Writing good content for a charity website should include good pictures of your group in action. It may also include short videos for people to watch. All these help to get a message across, raise awareness of what you do and may even help with raising funds.
WordPress is very simple for a novice to use. Writing content is no different from using a word processor such as MS Word. There is a small learning curve but it is easy to transfer skills. Writing shorter sentences and shorter paragraphs makes things easier to read from a screen.
Having good descriptive headers helps search engines to work out what the content of the page is about. Creating a charity blog is not difficult, just like the real world the hard work is thinking of the subject and putting thoughts into words.
Worship Beats is a Christian performing arts ministry and church I have been working with over the years.
For the last 5 years, they have been fundraising to build a performing arts centre. I’ve helped them with web design, crowdfunding, Google Adwords, Facebook Ads and building a mailing list with Mailchimp.
They’ve now completed the fundraising and the centre is in the process of being developed.
Charity website donations
Having the option to take donations is essential for any good charity website. There are a number of plugins available for this with WordPress. Some allow one-off donations and others allow for a monthly giving option.
Keeping the main fundraising page on its own is important. It needs to be built differently to a normal page as you need to lead people to a situation where they will donate to the cause. As a charity gets larger you will find that they have many different donations pages on their web site. This will not be publicly viewable through the navigation of the site but designed for use in a targeted advertising campaign or promotional campaign.
If you have a number of different projects you may want to have a different charity fundraising webpage set up for each. Each one targeted towards people who may be interested in supporting that particular project. These highly-targeted donations pages perform much better than general fundraising pages.
Charity website design in the UK
If you are a small charity or community group in the UK looking for a website then get in touch to see how I might be able to help. My fees start at £1000 for a basic website. I don’t do hosting but highly recommend NetNerd who charge as little as £8.00 per month hosting plus VAT. You can also purchase domain names through Netnerd at very reasonable prices.
The fee I charge charities include setting up the website on the groups chosen hosting package. If you need help with purchasing the package and domain name registration then I am happy to do that for you as part of the web design package.
One thing to watch out for when talking with web designers to ensure that your domain name and web hosting is completely separate from your web design contract and that you have free and unfettered access.
There is now a situation in web design that is all too common in the UK, it’s called ghosting. Basically that involves a web design company offering an all in extremely low priced web site design and hosting package. Everything is tied into the package. After the first year of very low fees, the costs suddenly surge. If you try and move your web site to another host you find that you don’t have access to the domain name or content of the website unless you pay a substantial get-out fee.
When I do web design and web consulting work for anyone, charity or not, I never provide domain name and hosting services. I will help my client find a good solution for their needs but it is kept separate from my own contract. That way you own the domain name and content and can move without fear of high fees.
Finally, don’t forget a mailing list for your charity website
When you start your charity website don’t forget to set up a mailing list. This can be done internally within your web site using your own email system. But this can cause problems. Your server might not be powerful enough and your hosting company may object to lots of emails being sent as your list grows. A good option which I like is Mailchimp. Get people to sign up for your list. It’s free for the first 1,000 people and you pay less than you pay boosting posts on Facebook. It is the most cost-effective and action effective way of keeping in touch with your supporters.
There are some great ways that you can integrate your mailing list into your website. You can build newsletters around content from your website to make it easier for you.
The reality is that social media is very poor at getting your message across unless you are willing to pay. Did you know that the average reach for a Facebook page post for a charity is just 8%? That means for every 100 people who follow you only 8 people will see your post in their timeline. If you want to increase that percentage then you have to pay. And Facebook boosted ads is not a cost-effective way of getting your post to your supporter when compared to email.
Get a free quote for your website
I’m always happy to discuss with charities and not-for-profits about the cost of building their website and providing training. Use the contact form to get in touch and send me some brief details about what you want your website to do. Leave some information about a convenient time I can contact you and we can have a chat about what is possible for your budget.
Please do not contact me asking for a free website design to show in my portfolio. I have been developing websites for over 25 years, I do not need another website in my portfolio. I do however need to pay bills with solid cash.