A non profit website is a helpful website that provides a unique service to the community or to niche groups. The website is intended to make people aware about a social cause, raise money for a noble purpose, or give away valuable information to those who seek. A non profit website does not make profits - it merely generates money, pays its expenses and distributes the remainder to the cause it was created to serve. Publishing such a website also can help get tax benefits for the publisher. So, how does one go about creating a non profit website? Here's how:
1. Make a business model. While it's true that you don't want to make profits, it's also true that you don't want to go out of pocket. So, make a not-for-profit business plan that will enable your website to bring in the money. If you want online donations, then you must hook up with a payment terminal; if its advertisements that will bring in the money, then you must design the website in a way to accommodate plenty of advertisements (but not too many, though); and so on. Make a realistic budget even before you plan the website.
2. Name your organization. The name must reflect the cause. Try and choose a search engine friendly name by researching the Google Keyword Tool or WordTracker's free tool. Your domain must be.org, because.orgs are specifically meant for such organizations. Check whether "YourName.org" is available on sites like NetworkSolutions.com.
3. Craft a compelling statement of goals. These goals must communicate your cause and your commitment towards it. The goal must also clearly describe about whom the website intends to serve or benefit. If writing is not up your street, hire a copywriter.
4. The next thing is to choose a web hosting service. To choose a quality web host, research the Internet, read customer reviews, and talk to the host's customer support team and check if they have special pricing for nonprofits.
5. Most web hosts provide their customers with a library of well-designed web templates, which make short work of website creation. Check if your web host provides templates before signing up. The free web templates can save you money on web design. However, if you plan to make your website interactive and include a database, then you need a programmer.
6. If you plan to target big companies for donations then you must incorporate your organization. Getting a company incorporated requires time and money. However, it brings in a whole lot of tax benefits. It's best that you consult your CPA about the merits and demerits of incorporation. Here's a free guide that will help you incorporate your business. Remember to check state laws as this guide is New York-specific: http://www.dos.ny.gov/forms/corporations/1511-f-l_instructions.pdf
7. Once your website is ready, test it and launch it. The next step would be to market it to targeted prospects. Rent a list of prospects and try your hand at email marketing - email marketing could be a good starting point. Anyway, launch your site, write some press releases and distribute these, get coverage from local newspapers, spread the word through friends and relations, etc.
This is how you should plan, build and launch a non profit website. Take professional help when you need it, but make sure that your non profit website is absolutely top class.