CMS for Nonprofits: How It Works and Alternatives
Now that you’ve planned out your website and what you want it to look like, you’re probably wondering: how should I go about actually creating it?
There are hundreds of different ways to do this, but none of them are perfect as they all have their own benefits and drawbacks. But you’re in luck! With over 10 years experience helping nonprofits create their websites, we’ve come prepared with some advice. We are going to share with you our recommendations, fitted for budgets of all sizes.
Here are the best (and worst) ways to create a website for your nonprofit:
- Using a CMS
- Hiring a Freelance Web Designer
- Hiring a Communication or Web Design Agency
- Doing it Yourself
The diagram below will help you determine which option fits you the best depending on whether or not you want to outsource the project:
Option #1: A CMS
For your website, you can use a CMS, short for a Content Management System.
They’re cheaper than agencies, and allow you full control over the project. With a CMS, you create a fully functional website all by yourself. Additionally, a CMS gives you the possibility to update the website easily, whenever you want!
These tools allow anyone to create their own website - even without tech skills you can still create a modern website that fits your needs.
The best known CMS is undoubtedly WordPress. It offers lots of options and possibilities, but it can take some time to master.
For more specific needs, you’ll want to check out other tools that are specialized in certain sectors. If you’re managing a nonprofit, Springly’s CMS is made for you!
The most popular CMS software are:
The benefits of a CMS are as follows:
Price: a CMS will always be cheaper than an agency.
Autonomy: you can quickly and freely modify the content and design of your website once published.
Adaptability: the internet is rapidly evolving, and so should your CMS. CMS tools are constantly updating which is a great way for you to stay on top of trends.
Simplicity: no tech skills are required!
Despite all these positive points, a CMS is not a magic potion. You won’t wake up one day and know how to magically create the perfect website – it takes time and energy to learn how to define the objectives of a website, the structure of a website, the content of a website, and build pages.
Option #2: Hiring a Freelance Web Designer
Option #3: A Web Design Agency
You can also call on a communication or web design agency. They’ll take care of the entire project from A to Z.
The big advantage of these agencies is that you will get a professional result, specifically tailored to meet your needs. They’re specialists, and it shows: they keep up-to-date on the latest website trends and the best practices.
Sounds amazing right? However, they unfortunately come with a hefty price!
Ranging from $5,500 to $17,000 for a showcase site, this option isn’t for everyone. Additionally, the price will keep increasing if you decide to add specific features (for example if you want a feature allowing donors to donate online, or a feature to manage these donations).
Also, this option sometimes lacks flexibility. In most cases, you don't have control of your website, so it is often difficult to make changes without going through the agency, which again means more money out of your pocket!
If you decide to go with an agency, we advise you to keep in mind the costs of maintenance and evolution, as well as to clearly define who owns the code.
The Worst Option: Doing it Yourself
You probably don’t have the tech skills needed, as well as the time that it takes to create a website! If you don’t, we strongly urge you to not code your website yourself as this will probably lead to a low quality product (not your fault, this stuff is hard to do!).
If you DIY it, your design and layout might end up looking like this:
On another note, if someone in your team says that can help out by building your nonprofit’s website for you, you might initially feel like you’ve hit the jackpot. However, you need to think longer term: how will you update it when that person is no longer there?
Overall, there are 3 ways you can use to correctly create your website. The best one for you depends on your needs and resources! Obviously, we are a little impartial towards the CMS, so...
If you haven’t tried out Springly yet, start your 30-day free trial below. We are trusted to help 15,000 nonprofits daily!