For most non-profit organizations, building and updating a website can be a daunting task. Organizations often have little time and even less money. As Oregon’s leading LGBTQ rights organization, Basic Rights Oregon (BRO) has shown with their recent website update that with a little bit of web savvy and know-how you can go a long way. With a of budget of $5,000, they were able to make a cost effective upgrade that looks great and didn’t break the bank.
Is your organization looking to make a meaningful web upgrade? Read through these pointers from Basic Rights’ Director of Finance and Administration, Dan Yonker. Is there anything you would add?
Basic Rights Oregon has three main organizational programs: Marriage Equality, Trans Justice, and Racial Justice. Additionally, they have years of content and a vibrant social community which helps them receive new and repeat traffic each month. When planning the revision of their website, it was crucial to take all of these aspects into account. Some website goals Dan shared with us included:
- To stay within budget – $5,000.
- To make the website easy for people to navigate.
- To include lots of photos and video.
- To have all staff able to develop content which can be easily added to the website.
- To create a website that people will want to come back to on a frequent basis to see what’s new and exciting in the world of Basic Rights Oregon.
To begin the web upgrade, BRO needed to decide which web platform they wanted to use. They enlisted their tech guru Alycia Dasmann, who owns her own software company and has been helping Basic Rights with their technology needs for the past 15 years. Because of their limited budget (especially limited design budget), Alycia recommended using a WordPress template. From Dan:
“We had a very small budget – $5,000. My understanding is that development of a new website is broken out into two main areas: coding and design. Alycia recommended that we come up with a list of criteria for what we wanted the new website to do and then she would do some research and find a couple of templates that would meet all (or most) of our criteria. She found three options: Solostream’s WP Prosper, Studiopress’s Delicious and the Thesis framework. We narrowed this down to the Solostream and the Studiopress and then did a presentation to the staff and everyone overwhelmingly preferred the Solostream.”
Words of wisdom
Before you tear down your current site, it’s important to take into account things that are working well on your website and things you would like to adjust. Make a plan, set goals and stick to them. Here is what Dan has to say about the importance of keeping your website up-to-date and we tend to agree:
“I think its easy to overlook the importance of your website with the reliance on other forms of media (Facebook and Twitter). But there are still a lot of people who rely on getting information about the work your organization is doing directly from the website. So I say go for it! There are tons of templates available for super cheap (I think ours cost less than $200). [Other] nonprofits would have to find somebody with the technical expertise who would be willing to work within the constraints of their budget and time line. Definitely shop around, get quotes, ask lots of questions.”
Many of WordPress’ themes are free or available for a relatively low cost. Themes help with the design and navigation of the website, cutting development time and cost drastically. Instead of designing every fraction of your website (and risking it being a bit clunky) your organization is able to choose a theme and get started almost immediately.
In need of tech support? WordPress has a great support section and a large community of experts who are willing to help with any issue you might come across. For those that are doing a bit more code than the average user, check out WordPress’s codex resource.