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Websites on a Shoestring N-TEN New York Regional Conference September 30 th , 2004 Introductions Laura S. Quinn Heather Halstead Susan Gaffney What do you hope to get out of this session? Overview What is a Website? A method of publicizing your organization

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websites on a shoestring
Websites on a Shoestring

N-TEN New York Regional ConferenceSeptember 30th, 2004

  • Laura S. Quinn
  • Heather Halstead
  • Susan Gaffney
  • What do you hope to get out of this session?
what is a website
What is a Website?
  • A method of publicizing your organization
  • A way to distribute information
  • A tool to collect information
  • A key to expanding your geographic reach

A communication tool

A medium, like a pamphlet

what is a shoestring
What is a Shoestring?

Distribution of amounts that nonprofits might pay for a website***

Many orgs

Some orgs

Few orgs

*** figures are a hypothesis, not based on actual nonprofits

It’s really hard to generalize about prices

what we will cover
What We Will Cover

We will look at ways to make the most of your budget

  • Guidelines for Shoestring Websites
  • Using Application Service Providers (ASPs)
  • Case Studies
get reliable experienced people
Get Reliable, Experienced People

A reliable partner can:

  • Suggest cheaper ways to build
  • Offer strategic suggestions
  • Ensure your money isn’t wasted on an ineffective site

Try to figure out:

  • Have they done this before?
  • Can you rely on them into the future?
  • What do their references say about them?
plan before you build


Plan Before You Build
  • Define your goals for the website
  • Define your audiences
  • Define what your audiences’ goals are
  • Brainstorm ways to achieve their goals and yours
invest in your graphic design
Invest in Your Graphic Design

To which of these organizations would you be more likely to donate?

make your homepage speak for you
Make Your Homepage Speak for You
  • It’s the visitor’s first impression - and many won’t go past it
  • Needs to convey:
    • what your organization is
    • what can be done on the site
    • how to get around the site

This is the entire homepage.

Who are you? What do you do? How the heck do I get anywhere?

create prominent calls to action
Create Prominent Calls to Action

Use clear “teasers” to encourage visitors to do what you want them to

design for your visitors
Design for Your Visitors
  • What do your visitors want to do on your site?
  • Many just want to do simple things – like find your phone number
  • Weigh your goals against what they’d like to do

How do you know what they want?

Ask them.

create an updateable site
Create an Updateable Site
  • Make sure you know how you will update your site
  • Think through how much time it will take
  • Or at least design it not to be updated

This site has some photos and text blurbs that change automatically, some that are updated with a Content Management tool, and some with a front end tool called Contribute.

use template pages
Use Template Pages
  • Pages that have the same layout but different info
  • Cheaper to build, easier to maintain
  • Supports a growing “library” over time
  • Can easily hook up to a database

Two event page from

collect email addresses
Collect Email Addresses
  • Keep the relationship going after the visitor leaves
  • Send them emails at least occasionally
  • Consider an email newsletter
  • Or email calls to action
  • More on tools for email later

Just a simple email field allows you to communicate with those interested in your organization

think through online donations
Think Through Online Donations
  • Can be profitable if you have a high volume of visitors
  • Weigh against transactional costs
  • Make process extremely clear
  • Tell visitors where their money will go
  • More on tools for donations later

Care USA provides a great overview of how they use donations – right on the home and donation pages

what is an asp
What Is an ASP?
  • An Application Service Provider
  • Also known as Third Party Tools
  • A company that offers their technology “for rent”
  • Delivers software tools over the Internet
  • You usually pay monthly or yearly fee

A great option to get common, complex functionalities on the cheap

See CompassPoint’s fabulous ASP Guide at:

website building asps
Website Building ASPs
  • Can allow you to build and maintain your entire site
  • Sites can be built and easily updated by non-technical staff
  • Limited ability to customize look, flow, or functionality

The ASPs

Altrue (

Reasonable looking, simple sites, with ability to easily update for $20/month


Homestead (

Designs123 (

online donations
Online Donations
  • Allows you accept credit card donations online
  • Transaction fees – charged per donation - can be considerable
  • Good for organizations with a wide audience of tech-savvy donors

The ASPs

Network for Good (

A basic “donate button” service. No fees except a 3% transaction fee.

Groundspring Donate Now (

An excellent solution that can be integrated into your website. $15-25/month (depending on org size) + 3% per transaction.

Entango (

Similar features to Donate Now. No fees except a 8% transaction fee.

Just a few of the many others…

PayPal (

JustGive ( ( (

email newsletters
Email Newsletters
  • Manages the sending and administration of email newsletters
  • Allows visitors to give their email address on your website
  • Helps prevent your organization from being listed as a spammer

The ASPs

Check with your web hosting company!

Groundspring Email Now (

A good basic email management tool for $19/month.

Topica Basic Edition (

Not the free tool; they have a very full featured $25/month version that can be completely integrated into your website, and allows sophisticated tracking.

Just a few of the many others…

Email Now (

NPO Groups (

MailerMailer (

Sparklist (

  • Allows visitors to search your site based on keywords
  • Should ideally look like part of your site

The Tools

Atomz (

A good, free, search tool that allows some basic integration into your site.

Spiderline (

A good search tool, with a few powerful features, that can be completely integrated into your site for $50/ year.

Some others…

Google ( )

NPO Groups (

FreeFind (


other asp functionalities
Other ASP Functionalities
  • List-serves
  • Member databases
  • Registration
  • Calendars
  • Message Boards
  • Client Support Tools
  • Etcetera

Any tool that it seems that many other organizations must need too

and a bonus tool
And a Bonus Tool….
  • Contribute (

While not an ASP, Contribute is a fantastic software allowing non-technical staff to easily update and add pages in complex websites. While many such tools create havoc in sites that involve complex code, Contribute is very low impact.

reachtheworld org process - Process
  • About Reach the World
  • Finding the right people
  • Defining and designing the site
  • Maintaining the site over time
turning point website
Turning Point Website




positiveyouth org process - Process
  • About the Center
  • The initial planning process
  • Defining the key players
  • Finding the right partner
  • Using a structured process
contact us
Contact Us

Laura S. Quinn


Heather Halstead

Susan Gaffney