- Toby Sinclair
5 Lessons learned building a charity website
I’ve spent the last few days building a website for children’s education charity that my parents run: https://www.newmindministries.com/
The charity helps poor children in Uganda get a quality education. They do this through education sponsorship which pays for a child’s school fees, daily meal, uniform and books. They are also building a school in a rural village outside Kampala, Uganda.
Here are a few lessons I learned building the website:
1. Use a free website builder such as Wix.com
To build https://www.newmindministries.com/ I used wix.com. I built a basic website, optimised for desktop and mobile, in just a few hours using templates. Integration with social media and payments channels was simple. I used a wix email marketing campaign to let existing donors know of the new site. The wix SEO tool ensured the site was ready for google and social media. Learning SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), especially for a Charity, has been great fun. More on that in a future blog post.
2. Prepare good content
A website is only as good as it’s content. Once the basic design was created in Wix I needed good content. Whilst the charity had lots of content it wasn’t well edited and mostly existed in paper format. The most time consuming part was editing photos and writing text copy. For example, the child education sponsorship page required good content. Before and after photos, a story of a sponsored child, testimonials and detail about how sponsorship works.
3. Get free help from Google, Microsoft, Facebook and many more
The great news for non profits is that many organisations offer programs to help manage and reach new donors. Unfortunately this charity were unaware that many of these great programs existed. Tech Soup has a great directory of products and programs for non-profits.
I helped the charity enrol into the following:
Google Non Profit– Free G-Suite, Ad-word Grants etc.
Microsoft Non Profit– Free O365
Facebook Social Good – Donation Tools
Canva Non Profit – Free Creative Tools
Wix Non Profit – Discounted Web Hosting
4. Enhance social media presence to reach donors
Thankfully the charity already has a social media presence via their Facebook Page. The charity was not maximising their impact through the platform. They needed to start working on more regular posts of engaging content. The charity now has a schedule of posts to drive traffic to the site in order to increase donors.
A key mistake the charity had made was listing their facebook page as “Community” rather than a “Charity”. This is important as Facebook has Charitable Giving Tools that can only be enabled if your Facebook Page is listed as either Charity or NGO. The charity is now waiting for approval after which they can enable donations directly through their facebook page.
5. Integrate with PayPal for Donations
PayPal has simple not-for-profit donation solutions such as Donation buttons which can be placed onto your site. The charity now have donation buttons for child sponsorship and the school building project enabling them to grow donors. It important for the charity to enrol in PayPal Giving Fund.