What You Need to Know About Non-Profit Websites

What is a non-profit?

According to Foundation Lists this is the explanation:

“A nonprofit organization or foundation (NPO), is dedicated to furthering a particular social cause or advocating for a shared point of view. In summation, it is a business/corporation that has been given tax-exempt status  to  further a  mission or cause.”

 Just like any normal business, a non-profit needs a marketing plan, website and social media accounts.  As a result, a non-profit can have a successfully online presence too!

In this article we look at the following:

  • Types of non-profits
  • Features of a non-profit website
  • Non-profit: The value proposition
  • How a non-profit website adds value
  • The .org domain extension


Types of non-profits

There are different reasons for starting a non-profit organization.  Some organizations are in the public sector others are in the private foundation sector.

Typically a non-profit organizations supports:

  • Education
  • Humanities
  • Arts, Culture, Sport
  • Conservation

A non-profit website may be used to:

  • Promote the organization
  • Create awareness for the cause
  • Engage donors and volunteers
  • Build relationships
  • Collect donations

By developing a successful online presence an organization  establishes credibility and trust.  For instance, a blog section is invaluable when sharing heartwarming stories.  In addition, a database with photos and videos even more so!


 Features of a non-profit website

First impressions count.  From promoting your cause to collecting donations, the website visitor’s experience must be positive.  ‘How to get involved’ should be a prominent feature on all pages.  Are you looking for donations?  Do you need volunteers?  Don’t make potential donors jump through hoops – the easier it is to donate, the better!  Social media links and share options must be visible on all pages.

Make sure the website loads fast and is easy to navigate.  Therefore, investing in a reputable web host and website builder is money well spent!  This will also ensure SEO best practice to make it easier for Internet users to find your website.  Mobile friendly websites are a non-negotiable!  Great website security is very important especially if you use the site to collect donations.

In general the About Us, Home and Contact Us pages are similar to for-profit company web pages.  Don’t neglect the content and navigation on these pages.  Each of these pages can add tremendous value to the over all performance of your website!  Plan the content carefully.

Make sure you choose a web host that offers flexible storage options to accommodate photos, videos and a donor databases.


Non-profit: The value proposition

Investopedia defines ‘the value proposition’ as follows:

“A value proposition refers to the value a company promises to deliver to customers should they choose to buy their product. A value proposition is part of a company’s overall marketing strategy. The value proposition provides a declaration of intent or a statement that introduces a company’s brand to consumers by telling them what the company stands for, how it operates, and why it deserves their business.”

 The question a non-profit organization asks is: “What will make people support our cause as a donor or volunteer?”  The answer = The Value Proposition!

Here are some examples:

  • What is the common problem?
  • How do you intend on solving it?
  • Offer Accountability / Transparency
  • Be specific!


How a non-profit website adds value

Showcasing the problems  and solutions you are trying to solve by using blog articles, photo and video galleries speaks volumes!  It is a proven fact that people make decisions based on an emotion.  Even if they don’t realise it at the time.  Donors are able to quickly and easily donate 24/7 365 on your website!  Volunteers are able to track projects and the outcomes which allows them to identify an area in which they want to get involved.  Like any normal business, having an online presence will assist the organization to build credibility and trust.  Having a great website helps build the organizations’ brand!  A website ‘grounds’ marketing done via links in emails and on social media platforms.


The .org domain extension

Worldwide the .org domain extension is the most trusted extension available and most valuable to a brand.  It is one of the original domain extensions created in 1985– a top-level extension!  So, even before the Internet user clicks on the URL the .org extension tells them that YOUR organisation is one who MAKES A DIFFERENCE.

.org has been operated by the Public Interest Registry (PIR).  But PIR was sold to Ethos Capital in November 2019 b and it was widely criticized.  The sale was blocked by ICANN – The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers in April 2020.  The reason:  “ … on the basis that transfer of control of the domain to the private equity firm would create “unacceptable uncertainty” for non-profits that relied on the org domain.


Creating a non-profit website is quick and easy once you have chosen a domain, web host and website builder.

Do your research.

Ask questions.




OpenHost has more than 20 years industry experience with domain registration, web hosting services and more.

Speak to us.  We are here to help!

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