Date: 8/21/2019
CharityAdvantage / Nonprofit Resource Index / Website Development / How to Tweak Nonprofit Website Design Or Template
Getting a non-profit website template may be easy - all you have to do is Google for one. However, whatever ready made templates that you get online may not be the best fit for your website. Inexperienced and amateur non-profit websites often download templates, make a few tweaks here and there, include content and upload the website. Then the complaints start. People are dissatisfied with the site, traffic slows down, and it is then that the website owner realizes the futility of playing around with cookie cutter non-profit website templates. Here are some tips that will help you choose and tweak the right template and tailor it for your organization:

1. Before choosing a design or template, determine your content. Write down the links that will be contained in your website, along with the sublinks. Include multimedia links (pages where you will be posting videos and audio) and interactive links (Forum, Blog, etc.) as well. Create a content tree on paper and be sure of what will go into the website.

2. The website's color scheme must complement your logo colors. If these don't match, your website will look awful and may put off a lot of visitors.

3. The most important thing that every non-profit site must have is a friendly and simple CMS (Content management System) that allows non-technical users to add, delete and modify pages and content. Now, the templates that you download are pure HTML without any interactive elements built in. So, look for WordPress templates. These templates are built using WordPress CMS, which is easy to use, and helps you easily maintain your site. WordPress is much more than a blogging CMS - you can add social media interactivity, SEO plugins, and do a lot more. So, hire a designer/programmer who's familiar with WordPress and its plugins.

4. Before downloading the template, consult your web designer and programmer. Brief them about how regularly you will have to change your website and show them the content architecture (see #1 above). Ask them to help you choose from many nonprofit website templates. Remember that a non-profit web template is only a guide - it is not a solution in itself.

5. The whole website must be consistent and easy to use - colors must match, design elements should be consistent, the donation page must be simple and not packed with too much information (because it can divert the donor's attention), and more. Keep the website simple and consistent.

6. A non-profit organization cannot spend liberally in creating its website. However, it must keep a certain budget for bug-testing and beta tests. As you may have realized, a non-profit website template is just the starting point. It must be built upon and consolidated before use. The final website should be thoroughly tested (across all browsers, traffic tests, etc.) and it should be ensured that is 100% bug-free.

7. The nonprofit website template links must be engineered in such a way that they do not trick the user to land up on a donation page. The visitor must be inspired enough to head out there or to the volunteer page.

These were a few helpful tips that should help you choose and tweak a non-profit website template. Once again, remember that the template is just a guide and needs a lot of work. Good luck.
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