Over the next five weeks, we’re going to be sharing a variety of resources on web design and development for nonprofits and public libraries. Each week, come back to this post for new resources on a different topic relating to web design. Think of it as Spring Cleaning for your website.
Week 1: The Basics
A Cooperative Approach to Web Design
Building a website doesn’t have to be hard, but it does require some thinking about your nonprofit’s message, audience, and goals. (This article is a chapter in the forthcoming book Nonprofit Management 101: A Complete and Practical Guide for Leaders and Professionals. Read more about the book here.)
A Nonprofit’s Guide to Building Simple, Low-Cost Websites
A well-designed, user-friendly website can help you engage new members, raise money, and communicate with decision-makers. But creating this site affordably, and finding the right tools to build and host it, can be a challenge — especially when you are relying on in-house talent with little or no web-development expertise.
What Story Does Your Nonprofit’s Website Tell?
Does your nonprofit’s website tell a clear story of your organization, or a watered-down mixture of several stories?
Week 2: HTML, CSS, and Beyond
How Websites Work
Even if you never need to code a single line of your site, arming yourself with an understanding of how HTML, CSS, and content management systems (CMSs) are used to build webpages can help you every step of the way. Don’t worry; this will be quick and painless.
Tips for Designing (or Redesigning) a Nonprofit Website
The guidelines in this classic article can help you plan and design a polished, functional website that meets your organization’s needs. We’ll discuss some of the major phases of a design project, some of the lingo and jargon you’ll encounter, and the tools and skill sets you’ll need to set your sights on a great, new site.
HTML Is Easier Than It Looks
You might not be a professional web developer, but with a little help, you can learn how to troubleshoot formatting problems on your website.
Week 3: The RFP Process
The RFP Process for Nonprofits and Libraries
An RFP is a document that describes a project’s needs and asks for proposed solutions (along with pricing, timing, and other details) from qualified vendors. When they’re well crafted, RFPs can introduce an organization to high-quality vendor-partners and consultants from outside their established networks and ensure that a project is completed as planned. Read more to learn how to write a winning RFP. You can also view sample RFPs and visit our RFP Library for more resources to start any tech project out right.
How Much Should a Website Cost?
In this previously recorded webinar, Allen Gunn, the executive director of Aspiration, covers the steps to follow to streamline the process and minimize costs, what you can expect to pay for different types of websites, and website technologies specific to the nonprofit sector.
Week 4: Content Management Systems
Gateway to the Arts: A Web Design Story
Learn how one Pittsburgh-based nonprofit built a new website around the needs of its audience.
Bad Websites, Good Fundraising
When people look at the website of a nonprofit organization, they’re looking for evidence that it’s a real organization with real people with whom they can really communicate, not necessarily the most professional website.
Comparing Open Source Content Management Systems
This is an excerpt from the 60-page independent Idealware report that provides a summary of what open source content management systems are, what features are often useful to nonprofits, and a detailed comparison of WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and Plone.
Joomla for Nonprofits
Is the popular open-source solution to create and edit website content for non-technical users right for you?
Week 5: Metrics and Analytics
A Few Good Web Analytics Tools
Web analytics tools help you track your site’s statistics, which let you see how many people are looking at each page, what sites they came from, and other information to help develop a picture of who your audience is. But which web analytics tool should you use? This article, completely updated in 2011, summarizes what six different nonprofit experts recommend.
Site Statistics and User Privacy for Nonprofit Websites
Is your visitors’ information being used by others? What responsibility do you have to explain to your site’s users what information they’re giving away by visiting your site and to whom? In this article, we’ll explore some privacy issues surrounding web analytics and other website tools.
Simplicity in Web Design
Once you’ve identified how users need to interact with your organization’s website, it’s time to eliminate the distractions.
Come back each week until the end of May for more ideas and resources, and share your own in the comments!