OK, you need a new website. Now what?
Creating one can be a mammoth task, so how do you find the right web agency? There are lots of things to consider, but don't worry; it doesn't need to be all stress when it comes to finding a web developer.
The number of nonprofits and charities are on the rise and it's crucial for these organisations to understand the impact a well-designed and functional website has when it comes to building a recognised and trusted brand, increasing fundraising, and providing accessible information.
That should be enough justification to create the site, but nonprofits and often view building a website as a one-off cost, which is detrimental. Imagine the changes your nonprofit will go through… Now imagine your website being static and not reflecting those changes. Ditto technology; a stagnant website will be full of bugs. Trends in marketing and fundraising need to be kept up with for obvious reasons. It's an ever-evolving thing!
Define your requirements and goals early on
A website alone will not cause an influx of fundraising, but it will act as a catalyst to your success if you set goals. When you're defining these, make a realistic note of what is crucial and what's nice-to-have, so you can decide if the latter is worth the added cost in reality.
What are your goals?
It could be one or more of these, or even other factors.
Ask yourself the following questions before you talk to an agency. Having these answers will save time and money.
Who are you targeting?
What goals do those target audiences have when visiting your site?
Who are similar organisations to you? What are their sites like?
List some websites you like and don't like: explain why.
If you have an existing site; what's working or not working? Do you have data for this?
What's your budget?
What's your timeline?
Ultimately, the right web agency for you is the one that aligns to your values, has the right products for your requirements, and of course, can deliver on budget.
Consider three of the most common errors made in the process.
You don't have to post a Request for Proposal (RFP)
Generally, charities and nonprofits draft an RFP to try to standardise the process and save themselves time talking to each agency individually, but this could be limiting.
RFPs can hinder the value and insights a web agency brings because they're responding to requirements and ticking boxes rather than describing how their process, expertise and recommendations can help you reach your goals. RFPs also cut the relationship-building phase that can help you make a final decision based on overall fit, communication style, and generally how you feel about them.
Plus, they take a lot of effort, on both sides, and with a mountain of answers, you can still struggle to compare. If you spend time getting to know the agency, they'll give you a better indication of what they can do for you.
Cutting time and costs
Of course, there are free or cut-price solutions, but given the complexity of building a new website and the long-term relationship necessary to ensure it evolves, we think it's best to trust an expert.
Not that it's not kind to use volunteer help or free resources, but building great websites is our job. We don't recommend using interns, volunteers, part-time designers or print-based designers to build a website simply because you may end up with a site that doesn't work how you'd like.
Putting price over quality
You'll naturally be drawn to a quote that's lower than a competitor. But we set our prices as a marker of our quality. A poor website means your visitors will suffer, and the investment you made won't provide the return you were hoping for. Consider the agency that will provide the most value for the price. If they're the least costly after you've thought that then consider it a bonus!
The best advice is to work with an agency who understands how to create a website that will connect you to people and empower you to do more good.