Websites for charities, a very brief guide

Websites for charities, a very brief guideGetting a website can seem like a daunting task. Often one will be set up by an organiser but it may get too much and having a dedicated website developer might be a better solution later on. Obviously I’m biassed but having someone to take on the technical stuff so you can use it to help your organisation to generate funds and awareness for your cause is a much better use of your time.

Here’s some points to consider whether you're thinking of creating your website or getting a professional in to help.

Why have a website?

It’s tempting to go for a cheap website or not at all or even use social media. The problem with social media is you may not reach everyone you need to, some people aren’t on it, so with a website you can reach people online whether they’re on social media or not.

How your charity website can help with fundraising 

Having a website shouldn't just be a matter of box-ticking, it should bring something positive to your organisation, either through fundraising, publicising events to raise funds or generating awareness around your cause. 

Donating online

You’ve probably heard of JustGiving and Give As You Live, setting up an account with one or more of these platforms can help make it easy for people to donate in a safe way. You might be tempted to set up a PayPal account and hope people will donate through this, but it doesn’t look as professional, and people need to trust that their money is going to a legitimate cause. 

Our customer Dementia Forward takes it a step further here dementiaforward.org.uk/donations with links to donate by Gift Aid, Payroll Giving and Amazon Smile. 

A donation page on your website can enable people to see all the ways they can help in one place and in ways they didn’t expect! It’s good to have a really obvious link to donate in your menu or at the top of your website to make it really easy for people to donate money.

Publicise events 

Blog posts and events can be posted to social media to get folks interested in helping.

Have a blog

These are easy to set up with a platform like WordPress and a great way to show off the kinds of events you run, the good work you do, and spread awareness and news around the cause you’re working for. Just like Hourglass do here: wearehourglass.org/news-events, their blog is also subdivided into nations: Wales, Northern Ireland, England and Scotland. These sections are also available on their nation pages like so wearehourglass.cymru/wales/news-blog. So that interested parties can find out about events being run nearer to them.

Have an events calendar!

Our customer Sudbury Neighbourhood Centre shows off their events here: sudburyneighbourhoodcentre.co.uk/events. So people can see in advance what happening and when they can get involved.

Spread awareness

We built wearehourglass.org.uk two years ago now, just before the pandemic. Previously known as Action on Elder Abuse. Their website doesn’t just raise money to help abused elderly people, it also helps spread awareness around how common and hidden this terrible abuse is, in turn people can be more empowered to help end it. 

How your charity website can help those in need

In the case of Hourglass, by the way, it’s shocking the kinds of things the greatest generation are dealing with, and Hourglass does an amazing job! Anyway, it was important that the Hourglass website raised money and awareness as well as being designed for the very people they help. Easy to read fonts, mobile-friendliness and features on the website such as online chat, a tappable phone number and SMS and contact form so victims can get in touch in a way they’re able and comfortable doing. There’s also a quick Exit button for situations where the victim can quickly leave the website if their abuser is nearby. 

Grants

A decent website these days will probably set you back at least £1500 -£2000, pay any less than that and you might want to question the quality of what you’re getting. Of course, lots of charities when starting out will have a free website set up with the likes of Wix or in-house website builder with Ionus or GoDaddy. These will l get you so far and you may find you just want to hand it to someone else so you can focus on fundraising and raising awareness for your organisation. There are often grants available for charities to use for websites, check your local authority to see if they can help.

Discounts for work

We, like lots of other website designers, offer discounts for charities as our small bit to help. It's always worth asking local businesses what they offer, and they get something out of it too. It's great publicity if a small business can shout about a charity they’ve helped, and that can help the charity in return.  

Control over your website

I’d say this to anyone getting a website built: make sure you have control over your website. This means knowing and being able to access where the domain and website is hosted, and be able to make content changes. So if something happens to the person looking after the website, you can still edit the site, and renew the hosting. 

Websites for charities are important!

A well designed website will mean people are more likely to donate. If it’s not mobile friendly, difficult to navigate or read, or just not a nice place to be then it could turn people off and it might even make them doubt the validity of your organisation. 

If your website is easy to navigate, find information and designed well, people are more likely to spend time there finding out about how they can help. 

As your website is at least one way to raise money and awareness for your organisation even while you sleep, investing time and money can be really worthwhile, enabling you to make a real positive difference to the world!