These days, if you want your organization to be seen, you have to create and maintain an online presence. It’s a fact of 21st century life. The Internet is the town square, and it’s where you can see and be seen. Of course, to do so, you need a website, and to have a website, you need access to someone with the know-how to put one together.
Instant websites make even the humblest non-profit look professional
That’s a challenge for not-for-profit institutions, which don’t have buckets of money to throw around, making the whole idea of securing technical expertise rather problematic. After all, it’s not like there’s some resource out there that can get you an instant website.
Or is there?
Ring The Bell(Strike)
Bellstrike is a prime example of an instant website service that offers help in designing, building, and even hosting a non-profit website. Setting things up requires no money upfront, and they take a six percent cut, capping it so that non-profits pay no more than $80 a month. In terms of who collects donations, Bellstrike is a WePay partner, which charges 3.5% for transactions.
All that needs to be done to get started is to create an account, after which Bellstrike will create a WePay account for the organization. Then it’s a matter of selecting one of their theme templates, customizing it as the organization sees fit, and that it’s for the preparation part. The organization can begin fund-raising.
When it comes to techie and Internet stuff, Bellstrike does all of the heavy lifting, including ways of spreading the organization’s message via Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail. No worries if everyone in the organization is tech ignorant.
One of their coolest features is a “gift catalog” where donors can target their giving. For instance, say you run an animal rescue operation. Your catalog may have things like a cat carrier, pet blankets, litter boxes, or bags of kibble, each with a price, and allowing a donor to “buy” items for the charitable organization.
There’s Others Out There
Grassroots.org offers a free suite of tools for non-profit members to design and sustain their own website. They also have free fund-raising, project, collaboration, and administrative tools. This may require a little more work than Bellstrike’s arrangement, though.
ChurchSurfer is a good website template resource for churches, ministries, and non-profits. They feature hosting, pastor and staff blogs, and other tools that help handle various church activities. However, there’s not much information about pricing readily available.
On the other hand, Non-Profit Soapbox has more of the traditional website design business model, including a detailed pricing plan depending on the organization’s budget. With Soapbox’s tools, an organization can create, update, and administer its own website. Fortunately, they also provide help; in fact, the pricing plans include hosting, security upgrades, and up to three hours of tech support every month.
While this may not be every non-profit’s cup of tea, if the organization has a few dollars to throw around, it could be a good choice.
You Have Options
As you can see, the idea of doing non-profit fundraising online need not be a scary proposition. There are choices out there, each one adaptable to an organization’s resources and technical skill level. It’s just a question of finding the right match.
John Terra has been a freelance writer since 1985. He writes about everything from Internet culture to auto care, and things in-between.