Help Me Help a Non-Profit that Needs a New Website
December 17, 2020 11:09 AM   Subscribe

I am helping a a new non-profit get established and have been tasked with creating a website. My limited experience with website design and maintenance is from 12 years ago, and my how things have changed! I am thinking of recommending using Wix and hiring a designer on Fiverr to do the basic set up work. The group can afford it, and we don't need anything very elaborate at this point.

The non-profit will be a newly independent entity that had previously existed as a leadership program within a large foundation. We know we can get the web addresses that we want, so that's no problem. The site needs to include:
1. Basic description of the program and who we serve
2. Info about previous participants
3. How to apply and/or request more info
4. Info about current org officers/staff
5. Form where past participants can update their contact info
6. Links to Facebook and LinkedIn pages
7. Donate page/Payment eventually, but not needed immediately
8. Registration Form for various programmatic offerings

The website needs to look professional and polished and will be used to promote the main program and provide info about how to participate in that, but also be update-able to promote various quarterly workshops and virtual gatherings as well. At the moment the main program is on hold because of COVID-19, but we will start offering virtual meetings in January for alumni of the program.

Basically website will need to do 2 things overall -- (1) provide info for people interested in participating in the main program AND (2) provide info for alumni who wish to continue engaging with us through programming that's designed especially for them.

So ... have you had good or bad experiences with Fiverr? With Wix? Would you recommend a different website builder? Duda? WordPress? Gator? Something else? Give me your wisdom and opinions! Thanks
posted by pjsky to Technology (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My non-profit theatre company uses Wix (and their website builder.) I love it, and find it very user friendly. While it’s a little more expensive then some of the other website builders/hosting services out there, I’ve been really pleased out how easy it is to use.

(And I’ve gotten some compliments from people on how the website looks professional, which is nice because they don’t know that I’m the nincompoop who made it.)
posted by firei at 11:27 AM on December 17, 2020

Yeah, Wix is the easiest way to go for something straightforward like this that you don't need a webmaster for. The basic structure is current enough that it'll look good for a long time, and its out of the box obvious how to post basic images, text.

It might not be a forever solution, but certainly will get you off the ground.
posted by RajahKing at 11:37 AM on December 17, 2020

Best answer: I'd suggest staying away from Fiverr, or at the very least, go for the folks on there who have various "tiered' rates and I also don't suggest skimping on price, as it will very likely show up in the results. There are good people on that platform, but the initial conceit of the site has created a lot of false expectations.

Also, keep in mind that Wix is very popular because it intentionally limits choices and makes things easy. In many cases this is fine, but it's not a true CMS and this can limit things down the road. When you mention things like registration and donation forms, I start to think of more robust systems.

One platform that has been getting a lot of traction recently is Webflow, which kind of occupies this middle ground between Wix and the huge ecosystem of Wordpress. It is geared a bit more for people with web design experience, but retains some of the easy-to-use features of Wix and other pagebuilders.

Here's an article comparing Wix and Webflow, and although the author ends up recommending Wix, your conclusions and knowledge of what the organization needs may be different.
posted by jeremias at 12:09 PM on December 17, 2020

I was going to mention Webflow as well.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 1:01 PM on December 17, 2020

The problem I see with your specs so far (I understand it's not a full spec) is that you require a database of some sort, where users need to update their own info, that means you have an existing database, and that means some sort of security, as well as registration forms, that tie into them, and that means admin functions and backups and more. So it's more involved than just a static website.

You need a webhost that also supports linkup to a database, and supports a backend language, from Node.js to PHP to other custom stuff. Wix can PROBABLY do it, but you need their own Wix consultants and that's a different problem altogether.

If you want the registrants to pick their own classes, that's a different problem as well. It may be easier to use Eventbrite's ticketing system (set price to free) to offer booking and registration for that, instead of rolling your own.
posted by kschang at 1:53 PM on December 17, 2020

The nonprofit where I used to work did all the things you list with Squarespace and it was pretty straightforward. I didn't design it but I did update it and it was not difficult. So here's a vote for them.

You do not actually need a database if you provide .pdfs of registration and update forms - quite simple - then people can fill them out and send them back to you and you can update your own database. Or your wide variety of Excel spreadsheets, sigh. Still! They more or less work! And for smaller nonprofits it's almost certainly cheaper and easier than trying to integrate everything.

Donations are easy. There are lots of apps out there to add a donor button to your website; we used Donorbox which itself runs through Paypal. Donorbox also has a way you can register people for events; I used it for our annual gala and it ran almost seamlessly.
posted by mygothlaundry at 5:08 PM on December 17, 2020

« Older Do you know how to prevent wedgies?   |   How often is too often for getting food poisoning? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.