If there is one question I have been asked most often as a nonprofit communications consultant, it would have to be: “How much does it cost to build a nonprofit website?”
In the early days of Good Cause Creative, I was quick to answer that question with the smallest price possible — even when it went against the advice of my more experienced friends and colleagues. “Everyone deserves a nice quality website!” I would argue. Even back then, I knew there were many tools and software to help almost anyone create a working website with no knowledge of code.
But the truth is, website budgets are as variable as the missions of the organizations that need them. And a nonprofit website “build” can cost anywhere from $500 to $50,000 (or more), depending on what you need that website to do.
Yes, you can build a nonprofit website for $500.
If all you need is somewhere online to post your mission statement, share a handful of articles and photos, a donation link, and a contact form — I know some very reliable independent contractors who can accomplish that in a few days using Squarespace.
Yes, you can build a nonprofit website for $50,000.
Some nonprofit websites need to sort and filter millions of data points, such as public health statistics updated in real-time and viewable in a way that is easy for people to understand, or education platforms that offer interactive workshops in multiple languages, simultaneously. For that, you might need a back-end developer and probably some custom programming. Thankfully, accessibility to many website tools has opened up a lot, even in the past 3-5 years. Only a relatively small percentage of nonprofits need a totally custom website these days, thanks to open-source code sharing and the existence of “themes” and “plug-ins.”
What’s a theme?
What’s a plug-in?
Plug-ins are essentially pieces of software or pre-packaged coding language designed to “plug in” to the code of your existing website to add new features and functionality. For example, nonprofits often use event calendars, security plug-ins, newsletter sign-up forms, search engine optimization tools, and donation software to add these essential elements to their website, without knowing any code. In the world of website development, we often say “there’s a plug-in for that” because even experienced web developers are happy to use plug-ins when it means they can skip hours of writing code and easily add the latest features to a website.
So yes, you can build a nonprofit website for $500.
I successfully ran Good Cause Creative for 5+ years with a website I designed using Squarespace at my kitchen table. Some small nonprofits and grassroots campaigns will never need more than that. If you do need “more than a basic” website, chances are it will cost nowhere near $50,000.
With the acquisition of Trialogue in January 2021, Good Cause Creative needed to update our website, and we used a WordPress theme, several plug-ins, membership software, and a little bit of custom coding. With constantly evolving technology, you can expect a website to last 3-5 years before needing any substantial updates, so re-building our site this year was right on track for us. When the project is completely done, the cost will be less than $10,000, working with a verified independent contractor.
Not sure what kind (or cost) of website makes the most sense for you? I’m happy to answer questions and help you decide what fits your needs and budget. Just click here to set up a quick call for a no-cost consultation and project recommendations. Demystifying the process of web development is one of my favorite things to do. And if you’re looking for a qualified independent contractor for the project, I can help with that too!