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Just like for regular companies, websites are essential tools for charitable organizations.

Not only do they need to provide up to date information to their supporters, but they also need to offer easy ways to give donations, which is another important aspect.

A few weeks ago, William Keffeler contacted us because he was looking for a way to update a website belonging to St. Anne’s Center, a homeless shelter in Ogden, Utah.

Requirements for the website

He listed the following:

  • Bubble Speech of handsLink to money donation site
  • Listing of current donation items needed
  • Social media integration, primarily Facebook
  • Current news links about the center
  • Posting of photos about the center
  • A section that provides up-to-date financial data
  • Mission statement/Board member profiles
  • Listing of services provided and to community services
  • Calendar of events
  • Section about our capital campaign efforts (new center)
  • Contact information and email links

Even though it might look like quite a complex project, his requirements are within the scope of most website builders we’ve reviewed so far. External apps are only needed for some of the features, in particular the integration of a donation button, which William explains in more detail in our interview.

Based on his feature requests, we recommended that he check out Weebly, as their free plan is the most powerful and it’s very user-friendly. For possible alternatives, we mentioned Jimdo and Webs.

Only two weeks after our initial email conversation, we were impressed to see the result!

Click here to visit St. Anne’s Center.

stannescenter

To encourage and inspire other charitable organizations, trusts and other non-profit organizations, we asked William a few questions:

1. What was your experience like creating a website with Weebly? Did you check out any other website builders?

Weebly proved to be a very intuitive and simple to use website development tool. They have done a good job of offering basic and understandable tools that offer enough flexibility to create a site that is professional looking.

I did look at other options, including Squarespace, but never tried them because in a number of cases they had a time limit for how long you could use them and then you had to move onto setting up payment options. I wanted something I could take my time with and not feel pressured to get something worked out.

2. Did you have any prior experience in website creation?

I did not have any prior formal experience with website development, other than some failed experimentation attempts.

3. How much does it cost? Did you connect an existing domain name or did you register it through Weebly?

So far, we’ve continued using the no cost version of the Weebly website. However, once we have finalized its development we will most likely move to the Pro version which is less than $10 a month – very reasonable compared to the nearly $500 a year we were paying before to host a poorly designed and hard to maintain website.

We connected to an existing domain name which we owned through Network Solutions, therefore, we did not use the Weebly domain name services.

4. How difficult was it to integrate the donation form?

Our donation form is accessed through a different location. Adding it to our site was extraordinarily easy; we simply copied the web address into the button tool and clicked the check box telling it to open a new page when selected.

We also include an integrated contact form which was very self-explanatory and flexible in that it even allowed us to add a drop down menu to choose a contact topic. The form is then sent to an email address you include. This is also found on their mobile app.

5. Is there anything that you are missing in Weebly?

One of the things I appreciate the most about Weebly is the “break neck speed” at which I can make updates and publish them. And as a non-profit, the cost, flexibility and efficiency factor is very valuable to us! I can honestly say, I have not run into anything that left me saying, “I wish they had that.” The Pro version offers a few options which I would like to have, but they are not necessary to develop and deploy an attractive and effective website.

Thank you William, we wish all the best for your organization and your website!

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