WordPress for Nonprofits: What It Is and How to Use It
Creating a website is important for a nonprofit organization. Just like a business uses its website to talk about its products or services, a nonprofit uses its website to inform the public about its mission and work.
But not every nonprofit has the same website needs. For example, smaller organizations often do not have IT professionals on staff to build a website from scratch. Therefore, they could benefit from a nonprofit web hosting platform that offers user-friendly tools and templates.
The most popular web hosting service for this is WordPress. If you are looking into web hosts, this article should help you determine if WordPress is the right match for your organization.
- What Is WordPress?
- WordPress Nonprofit Features
- WordPress Nonprofit Pricing
- WordPress vs. Competitors
- Final Thoughts
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What Is WordPress?
Introduced in 2003 as a blogging platform, WordPress has evolved over the years into a powerful content management system (CMS). It now allows users to create and manage any kind of website.
WordPress’ user-friendly format makes it highly popular, as someone without any technical skills can create a professional-looking website. In addition, WordPress is an open-source program, which means that anyone can use the software or modify it for free.
Emily is focused and ready to learn all about WordPress!
Today, WordPress powers millions of websites, from amateur bloggers to large corporations. Its many tools make it a viable choice for hosting nonprofit websites too — more on these tools and features in the next section.
Pro Tip: There are two WordPress sites: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. The former is the fully hosted platform. You simply add content, and the company takes care of security, maintenance, and so on. WordPress.org is self-hosted free software. It puts the power in the hands of the user. Either site works for nonprofits, but we focus on WordPress.com in this article.
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WordPress Nonprofit Features
Before you design a website, you have to choose a program to host it. Though this decision may seem daunting, examining the tools and features that each host has to offer can help you make the right call. In that case, here is what WordPress provides.
Feature #1: Ease of Use
You may decide to use WordPress for its simplicity alone. You can create a website for your organization in just a few steps:
Choose and register your domain name.
Choose a hosting option.
Log into the admin dashboard.
Use WordPress’ themes and plugins for customization.
Your WordPress dashboard offers an easy-to-navigate menu of options to create and share content. You can use it to manage posts, pages, media, comments, settings, and more.
Feature #2: Themes
WordPress offers themes that help you customize how your website looks. The themes cover a variety of visual aspects, including:
There are thousands of themes available — some that are free and some that require payment. Even if you use a WordPress theme, your site still remains fully customizable. So, a few simple clicks can give each page its own unique look.
Feature #3: Plugins
Plugins are software that WordPress offers to increase or modify the functionality of your website. Like with the themes, there are free plugins and paid plugins. Some examples of what these plugins can do include:
In particular, nonprofits should consider GiveWP, a fundraising and donation plugin. GiveWP can:
Create and publish donation forms
Manage donor information
Create peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns
Collect recurring donations
Accept multiple payment methods, including PayPal donations
Feature #4: Community Support
Finally, because WordPress is open-source and community-based, you can easily find an experienced WordPress developer to help design your nonprofit’s website. In fact, many of these people may even decide to donate their time.
Corinne loves community support!
Even if you do not need design help, you can find a lot of other WordPress resources. There are many forums that you can visit when you have a quick question.
Pro Tip: Check out the NonProfitWP site to find a free theme as well as free plugins that are designed specifically for nonprofit organizations. The website also provides nonprofit tips and strategies for using WordPress.
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WordPress Nonprofit Pricing
When you are looking to design a website, WordPress pops up a lot. Nonprofits love WordPress because it is free to download and customize. Smaller nonprofits, especially, can create a functional website that leaves room for future growth with WordPress’ free, basic functions.
However, even established organizations benefit from WordPress. These larger organizations may decide to purchase a more complex theme and plugins to enhance their sites. Paid themes for WordPress start around $20 and go up to over a thousand.
The hosting site you use also plays a role in determining the price. WordPress is compatible with many hosting sites, but it specifically recommends DreamHost and HostGator, among others. Hosting plans generally range from $3 per month to $100 or more per month.
In addition to the cost of the hosting site, plugins, and theme, you may also decide to pay for a WordPress plan. WordPress.com offers five plans. These are priced by area, but they generally follow this structure:
Free (free): This plan is very limited, so it is really only meant to create simple sites.
Personal ($4 per month, billed annually): This plan offers a free domain for one year, around a dozen free themes, SSL encryption, and payment collection.
Premium ($8 per month, billed annually): With this plan, you get some premium themes and Google Analytics integration. You can also earn ad revenue.
Business ($25 per month, billed annually): Small businesses and nonprofits should consider this plan. It offers more than 50,000 WordPress plugins, automatic site backups, and one-click restore. It also provides a huge increase in storage — 200 gigabytes (GB) as opposed to the 13 GB from the Premium plan.
e-Commerce ($45 per month, billed annually): Businesses that sell products or services online should look to this plan. It offers e-commerce marketing tools, premium design options, and shipping carrier integrations.
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WordPress vs. Competitors
Finally, let’s take a look at how WordPress stacks up against a couple of its most popular competitors.
WordPress vs. DreamHost
WordPress and DreamHost provide their own tools for working within the same CMS. As DreamHost does not have its own CMS, it uses WordPress, but it is also compatible with other website software.
Because DreamHost uses WordPress, you get essentially the same features with both. There are two major differences, though, that may lead many to choose WordPress over DreamHost:
DreamHost does not provide a free version like WordPress does.
WordPress is easier to use with its click-and-drag dashboard.
At the end of the day, WordPress is better for nonprofits on a budget that need to create a website as quickly as possible. Choose DreamHost for your nonprofit if you want to launch more than one website using a single pricing plan. For example, if you have chapters in different locations, you can create individual websites for them without paying for separate plans.
WordPress vs. Wix
WordPress and Wix for nonprofits are comparable in many ways. Both companies have created their own CMSs. They also both have free plans and paid plans. However, WordPress does offer a few more lower-priced plans.
Anthony is contemplating WordPress and its competitors.
The two CMSs are similar. Both WordPress and Wix offer drag-and-drop features that help in designing all aspects of your site, including your logo, header, and pages. Between the two, WordPress offers more customization. For example, you can code freely with HTML. Wix also allows for HTML coding, but users often struggle to find this feature.
Finally, Wix offers between 3 GB and 50 GB of storage, while the storage capacity of WordPress depends on the hosting company. However, users typically end up with around 50 GB of storage.
Pro Tip: Before you choose a platform to launch your website on, get professional advice. If you do not have a dedicated IT person, use your board members, employees, and other contacts to find someone to consult with. Often, a professional will agree to help a nonprofit for free or for a nominal fee.
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Gone are the days when a nonprofit could thrive using only non-digital forms of communication, such as flyers in the mail. In today’s world, your nonprofit must have an engaging website to educate the public about your cause.
Take some time to decide on the tools and features that your organization needs to build and launch an attractive and functional website. Then, choose the web host that can provide these functions. Hopefully, this article’s focus on WordPress can act as a starting point in your research journey.
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💡What does WordPress do?
WordPress is an open-source content management system. This means that its users can create and manage any kind of website — personal, freelance, business, or nonprofit. Find out more.
🔑 Does WordPress offer discounts for nonprofits?
WordPress does not offer specific nonprofit discounts, but it does have a free version. There are also four affordable paid plans to fit any budget. Find out more.
📝 Is WordPress the only web hosting solution for nonprofits?
WordPress is not the only web hosting solution for nonprofits, but it is one of the most popular. This is because it is compatible with so many other software solutions, offers a user-friendly interface, and has an enormous community for support. Find out more.