These days, people are inundated with posts to read, videos to watch, and websites to visit.

The overwhelming amount of content online means website users can be pickier than ever about the content they engage with. And the cost of making a bad first impression is higher now than ever.

Because, according to Adobe, 39% of people say they’ll stop engaging with a website if its images take too long to load. And 38% will close a site if the content and layout are unattractive.

If your nonprofit website hasn’t been updated in a while, you should plan for a refresh.

Because while a new website will cost you money, it’ll be nowhere near as much as your old one is costing you on a daily basis.


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The True Cost of an Outdated Website

On-page search engine optimization (SEO), performance, user experience, and web design all impact the amount of traffic and conversions your website receives. An outdated website can negatively affect every one of these factors — which can cost you money.

Let’s look at some simple calculations to see how this plays out.

According to 2023 M+R Benchmarks:

  • 0.23% of organic website visitors donate

  • The average donation made on a desktop computer is $196

So let’s say your website has 10,000 visitors each month. If it performs well, those visitors could bring it up to $6860 per month. But if it performs poorly, that number could be as low as $1960. (That’s a difference of almost $5k per month!)


This is just one example of the quantifiable costs of a dated website. There are other, non-quantifiable aspects, too, like decreased brand perception and increased security risks.

10 Signs It’s Time to Refresh Your Nonprofit Website

If the costs of a bad website aren’t enough to persuade your board that it’s time for a new nonprofit website, consider these signs:

  1. You have a new brand and need to roll it out.

  2. You’re about to launch a new digital marketing or social media campaign.

  3. Organizational change has brought in new decision-makers with a different perspective on how the website should perform.

  4. Your website’s design is outdated. (The 90s called and they want it back!)

  5. You want to showcase new initiatives or case studies.

  6. Your website needs (or budget) have changed since the site was first created.

  7. Your website is hosted on a platform that’s causing issues. (Staff frustration, security risks, inefficient workflows — that kind of thing.)

  8. Your website isn’t easily accessible or user-friendly. Donations are down, visitor feedback is poor, and employees complain they can’t find anything.”

  9. You want to take advantage of new technologies but your current website can’t handle that.

  10. You want to fix the underlying architecture” of your website. You have this gut feeling that valuable information and data are being stored in a way that will make it hard to retrieve later. (Or, you want to switch to cloud-based hosting.)

How Much To Budget for Your Website Redesign

Budgeting For An In-House Website Redesign

Nonprofit websites can take anywhere from 100 to 500 hours to create and the average hourly rate of an in-house designer in Canada is $31.25. So, the total cost of a new website would fall between $3,150 to $15,750 if you tackled it in-house.

That said, you likely won’t be able to hire someone for just this amount of time. You’d probably need to pay them a year’s salary which, in Canada, is about $60k on average.

Budgeting To Outsource Your Website Redesign

On the other hand, an experienced nonprofit website developer will charge you between $10,000 — $50,000 (or more). 

The price ranges so much because website features range so much. And, because there are so many factors at play, like:

  • Interactivity (the more interactive a feature is, the more it costs)

  • Level of data or workflow complexity

  • Security (depending on what your site needs)

  • Third-party integrations

  • Mobile optimization and performance

  • The number of templates needed 

  • The CMS and plugins you choose

  • Content creation (if you need to outsource things like photography and copywriting)

Updating your website in-house is great if you can do it. But most nonprofit organizations don’t have the luxury of a team dedicated solely to website content strategy, design, and development. This means most teams are forced to outsource their website redesigns — simply because they lack the capacity to do it themselves.

In these cases, there is always a cost. And it can feel like a big one. But there’s also a cost if you hire employees or take time to teach your IT team how to develop in a specific CMS. So, at the end of the day, the cost is all relative. 

What To Look For When Hiring A Nonprofit Website Designer

The external help you’ll need to hire depends on your organization. Common roles needed for a website project include:

  • Project leader

  • Project manager

  • Designer

  • Developer

  • Copywriter

As an organization, you’ll need to identify which of these roles your team can fill, and which ones leave holes” you need an agency to fill. 

To determine this, you should review previous projects critically, discussing how they went and whether or not the required outcomes were met. By doing this before you meet with agencies, you’ll be better able to communicate your needs and advocate for yourselves. Especially if non-essential costs or add-ons are being recommended to you.

A word of advice when you meet with agencies: pay attention to how well they get to know your organization before giving you a quote. One of the biggest red flags we see is when an agency starts providing solutions or estimates without having an in-depth understanding of a nonprofit organization’s current situation and goals. Because without understanding your organization well, it’s negligent to provide those recommendations.

How Often Should You Budget For A Website Redesign

To stay competitive, your nonprofit website must be high-quality and remain up-to-date. So if no work is done to regularly update your website, as a rule of thumb, you can expect to need a full redesign as often as every 2 – 4 years.

That said, after your website has been thoroughly redesigned once, we suggest taking a more proactive and continuous approach to updating it. That means making small, incremental changes every few months instead of planning for full-out redesigns every few years. 

This looks like systematically going through your website, auditing its content, checking out metrics and outcomes, and seeing what’s working and what’s not. Then, making a plan and budget for the changes you identify as priorities for the following year. 

If you can’t do this monthly, that’s okay — even quarterly or yearly would put you ahead of most organizations.

Swap busy work for real progress

That clunky, dated website is slowing your team down. Good tech frees them up!

Book a free software consultation to learn how we redesign your website, revolutionize your workflows, and let your best people back to doing their best work.

Book a free consultation