How to Choose the Best Website Company for Your Nonprofit

Nonprofit Website Considerations

It’s exciting to start thinking about a new website and the possibilities that new features offer, from saving time to boosting donations. As you hunt for the best company for your nonprofit, there are a lot of website considerations to keep in mind. Beyond how things look or the price tag, make sure to look for a solution that is able to help you meet your goals.

Start Comparing Your Options

Once you’ve determined website goals and must-haves (refer to the first page of this guide) and come up with 3-5 website companies to evaluate, you’re ready to start comparing your options:

  1. Make a copy of our comparison spreadsheet offered below.
  2. Follow the instructions in the spreadsheet to fill out company information.
  3. Add rankings to the spreadsheet based on the following list of website considerations. You’ll assign a number from 1 to 5, with 5 meaning that a company really excels or meets your needs in a particular area.
  4. The spreadsheet will automatically calculate averages and each company’s total score. The option with the highest score is the best fit based on your rankings.

 

Download Our Comparison Tool

Use our web design company comparison tool to rank your options based on the factors that are most important to your nonprofit.

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List of Website Considerations

The following list of questions will help you narrow down your potential web design partners based on a range of criteria we think are important to nonprofits. These are the same considerations that you can use to rank your options in our handy comparison tool!

 

Overall Company Fit

  • What is the company’s specialty? Is it primarily building websites?
  • Do they specialize in working with nonprofits?
  • Do they seem knowledgeable when it comes to nonprofit marketing more generally?
  • Do they seem like they’ll be a long-term partner?

 

Communication Style

  • Do they make you feel like you matter when you talk to them?
  • Do you like the people you’ve been talking to thus far?
  • What has been the company’s response time when you have a question or request?
  • Do you have a primary contact at the company?

 

References & Reviews

  • Are there reviews or references from clients? (If not, definitely ask for them.)
  • Are there examples that you can look at or demo?

 

Making a Commitment

  • Is there a minimum contract term you’re obligated to by signing up?
  • Is it possible to move your data and content if you need to?

 

Project Timeline

  • How long will it take to build your website?
  • Will there be a delay before you can get started?

 

Project Management

  • Will you have a dedicated point person as you build out your website?
  • Will the company help you develop a website structure that’s user-friendly?

 

Design & Customization

  • Will your website look credible compared to other organizations in your sector?
  • How much are you able to customize the site’s design to match your style and brand?
  • How much guidance will you get on the design-related decisions you make, including photo choices?

 

Managing Content

  • What’s the time commitment from your team to add or manage content?
  • What is the process like for adding content like text and images to the site?
  • Do you need to know how to code in order to make content updates?
  • How much guidance will you get on the content-related decisions you make, including formatting text and images?
  • Do they offer add-on services if you need help with writing, editing or search engine optimization?

 

Website Features & Functionality

  • Will the website have the key features your nonprofit needs to meet your goals? Consider online donations, email signups, a blog, customizable forms and more.
  • If there’s a feature you want that doesn’t come standard, can you pay to have it built?
  • How does the site handle multimedia files like photos, video and audio?
  • Will the website be able to grow with you as you add new pages and content?
  • Will visitors be able to search your website?

 

Integrating Other Services

  • Will the website integrate with your third-party tools, saving you time and avoiding manual entry? Think about your donor database and email marketing.
  • Who will be responsible for setting up and testing integrations with other services?
  • Will the site include a way to track visitor behavior (such as Google Analytics)?

 

Website Quality

  • Does the company make sure that websites display correctly in different web browsers and across different devices?
  • What options do you have to make your website and the content search-engine friendly?
  • Will the site be easy to use for visitors with disabilities and those using assistive devices like screen readers?

 

Additional Costs

  • Are there services that you’d like that are an additional cost on top of the price of the website itself? Consider hosting, domains, set up, support, review and consultations.  (A trustworthy partner should have an honest answer for this.)
  • Could the overall cost of your website increase over time as your site grows and changes? Consider extra fees tied to storage amount, the number of pages, the number of forms, and the number of site administrators or users you’ll need.
  • Are there fees when someone makes a donation or pays for something through the website?

 

Hosting & Security

  • Is website hosting included and how does it work?
  • If your website is hacked, what happens?
  • If your website goes down, what is the process for getting it back up?
  • Will the site be secure enough to collect information and payments?

 

Ongoing Maintenance

  • If you’re having an issue with the site, what’s the process for getting it resolved?
  • Who is responsible for making ongoing updates?
  • Who will maintain your site and monitor technical issues?
  • What steps will the company take to make sure that your site remains functional over time?

 

Ongoing Support and Ease of Use

  • Can you make changes to the site yourself or will you need to call a developer?
  • Is website support included? Is it self-help, chat-based, by phone or over email?
  • Do they offer training so that you know how to manage your website?
  • Do they offer other types of resources or guidance to make sure you’re successful?

 

Are you feeling lost in all the details? Or still struggling to pare down your options? See our final tips for making the decision.

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