CUSTOM WESBITE VS. WEBSITE BUILDER
FOR YOUR NONPROFIT
last update: 8/21/2019
CharityAdvantage / Nonprofit Resource Index / Website Buidlers For Nonprofits
The short answer is choose a website builder for your nonprofit!
I'm sure any one reading this who owns a custom website is getting ready to send me hate e-mails, so this author did you a favor of not posting any of his contact information anywhere. You all can thank me later for preventing you from wasting any time writing something that would not make your life any better or worse.

Let me go through the reason why a website builder is the correct choice majortiy of the time.

  1. Custom websites are expensive, hard to maintain, require a great deal of technical know how, and are not necessary for most organization.
    If a web designer tells you that they can build you a custom website for less than $5,000, then chances are, you don't need a custom website. Custom websites are only required for nonprofits that need specific customization and market data research. Their organization structure operates in a specific way that only a custom website will meet their exact specification. In my 20+ years of developing websites and web applications, I can tell you that if your custom website cost under $5,000, then you could have gone with a premium website builder and be just as happy paying $25 a month.

    If you are going to use a builder to create your website, be aware that building a effective website is much more than putitng together content and a bunch of pretty pictures. As I mention in my other article "Web design is much more than you think!", the best web designers are data scientist, not web designers. If you have not read that article, here is the link. Good research data can determine if you get 1 donations a day or 10 donations a day, AND the most important thing you need to know is that a "good looking" website is not a "good" website. Use the money you save on a custom website and spend on a data research firm for your website instead.


  2. If you were to add all the features from a website builder to a custom website, that custom site would cost $1,000,000!
    The above is not a typo. Tech comapanies spend millions to create all the bells and whistles for their website builder. They make their money back by selling the exact product to tens of thousands of organizations. Every custom website, however, is built independently for a certain organization. If you need a set of features, they have to build it from scratch, or if they already built one from a previous job, you will be charged for development time even though there was no development involved in providing you this feature.


  3. Website builders are getting better and better, offerring more and more.
    I used a platform call CHARITYADVANTAGE and they have been around for over 20 years. They built their platform specifically for nonprofit organizations. Over the years, I have seen their website builder evolved from a system built on templates, to a full blown modular design platform. If you are only familiar with templates, a modular design platform is the latest and greatest. Wordpress and Wix upgraded to a modular system just recently while SquareSpace and Weebly are still stuck on the old template system. So what makes a modular design platform so great? Easy customization. Modular designs are not restricted to a template framework thus creating absolute freedom and flexibility. Template Monster has some of the most beautiful and sophisticated designs on the market, and every one of those designs can be recreated on a modular design platform in under an hour.

    CHARITYADVANTAGE also comes integrated with a online fundraising platform, custom form builder, built in payment processor that works seaminglessly with paypal, constituent relationship management interface, donor database and advanced reporting features. If you were to have a custom developer build all that out for you, then you're looking at a $1,000,000 job!


  4. Some of the biggest companies use website builders.
    Believe it or not, there are fortune 500 companies who's website were created on website builder. Up until a year ago, Disney's website was created and maintained using a website builder. If a company like Disney decided a website builder works for them, I'm sure at least 95% of nonprofits we be just fine using one also.

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Last Update: 8/21/2019

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