Nonprofit websites vary in cost so much because there are so many factors at play. But if you are planning to (re) design your website you need to know what the average cost of a nonprofit website is. An experienced web developer will charge you anything between $10,000 — $50,000 for a nonprofit website.

In this article, I’ll cover everything you need to know about how much a nonprofit website costs to build. I’ll also go into what factors can influence your budget.

How much does a nonprofit website cost?

Nonprofit websites come in all shapes and sizes. Because of this the costs associated with them also range dramatically. The stage of your nonprofit along with the function of your website will steer your budget into one of the following buckets. What is an appropriate budget for your nonprofit’s website needs?

Starting ($1,500)

Your organization is starting out and needs to have a web presence. You’re looking for credibility and want people to find you on the web. You’re looking to get some momentum going.

New websites tend to have a small budget and you will likely rely on an off-the-shelf solution.

What you get

  • Limited customization — website can be a little generic website

  • Limited functionality — limited to whatever the platform allows

  • Built-in integrations

Medium ($5,000-$10,000)

You’re getting your website built by a freelancer/​small agency but you’re still doing a lot of the work on your own. Your website will likely rely on a pre-existing generic template, and likely be composed of different plug-ins.

What you get

  • Some strategy

  • Limited customization — depends on how easy theme is to modify

  • Relies on plugins features for functionality

  • Built-in integrations

Growing ($10,000-$35,000)

Your nonprofit is growing fast and needs your website to keep up with your growth. You want your website to match your updated brand and do more for your visitors and your staff. The agency here will work with you to establish website goals and create a website that helps meet those goals

What you get

  • Digital Strategy

  • Content Strategy

  • UI design following current branding

  • Custom templates to fit page goals

  • Custom functionality to fit website and organization goals

  • CMS customization for improved backend workflows

  • Built-in and custom integrations

Established ($35,000 +)

Your nonprofit has been operating for many years now. Your turning your attention to digital and noticing your website is no longer providing the experience you would like. It’s a little stale and needs a revamp. You’re asking your website (and your partner agency) to do a lot for your organization. You might even have multiple websites. 

What you get

  • Branding

  • Digital Strategy

  • Content Strategy & Copywriting

  • UI design with new branding

  • Custom templates to fit page goals

  • Custom functionality to fit website and organization goals

  • CMS customization for improved backend workflows

  • Built-in and custom integrations

Factors That Increase Your Price

So of course the prices listed are averages and will depend on who you hire and on a lot of other factors. So what factors will affect your nonprofit’s website budget?

Off-the-shelf VS 100% authentic

Will the site be made by using a predefined template or was it designed for your organization only? Using a predefined template will be much faster to get a website built but can look somewhat generic.

The number of templates needed

Each page for your website relies on a template whether that is a specific or generic one. Templates tell the site how to lay out the content and what it should look like. So the more templates you need the more time and higher the cost.

Content management system

A content management system (CMS) is an application that you use to create and manage web content. There are many different types of CMS with their pricing, complexity and hosting requirements.

How editable does the website need to be?

How much control over the site’s layout and look and feel do you need? Traditional CMS let you change the content without changing the layout too much. If you need full control though, a page builder lets you drag and drop elements to create a page without writing an extra line of code. The advantage of this is that you can create new unique pages on the fly. 

Plugins chosen

In a CMS, a plug-in is code that adds one or more features to your website. There are open sourced plug-ins which can be free to use. Other plugins are pay to use and sometimes need monthly or yearly subscriptions.

Unknowns

How many unknowns does your web project have? Do you need user research, user interviews and testing? The more unknowns you have the higher your budget should be to account for these.

Content creation

Will you be outsourcing your content strategy and creation? Will the content come from pre-existing websites or marketing material?

Feature development

What types of features will affect your cost but how you implement those features will also affect your budget. The following are different ways a developer can inject functionality into your website.

  • Built-in integration

  • Javascript libraries

  • Open source libraries

  • Free plugins

  • Paid plugins

  • Custom plugins

Sometimes it can be a combination of many of these. 

Features That Increase Your Pricing

Apart from the factors above, the main factor that will increase your costs is what features you will need.

Interactivity

The more interactive a feature is, the more it costs

Complexity

Anything that deals with complex data or workflows

Security

Does your website collect and track sensitive information which require extra security measures?

Third-party integrations

What kind of integrations does your site need? Do the 3rd party integrations have friendly APIs and documentation?

Mobile optimization and performance

Do you need the website to work in remote areas with limited connectivity? Some audiences like African nations mainly consume the web through their mobile devices. Is mobile very important for your target audience?

Translations

Do you need your website to support multiple languages?

Accessibility

Does your website need to be WCAG AA or AAA compliant?

If you have a larger budget, what can you do with it?

When you work with more experienced developers, possibilities can seem endless. It’s almost overwhelming. It can be hard to imagine how a website can support your growing organization. We can do everything” doesn’t give you a very good mental image of what’s possible. Here are some ways we’ve helped nonprofits in the past.

Add features to boost productivity

SAINTS Rescue relied on an image gallery plugin to manage the animals under their care. The process was very tedious and time consuming. When we developed their website, we looked at how we could improve it to make the process more enjoyable. We created a custom module that makes managing animals’ information quick and easy.

Integrate with other backend systems

1% for the Planet had all their member’s data in Salesforce. When they came to us, a lot of their processes were manual and time consuming. We created a website that keeps all their data in Salesforce but drives mission critical workflows outside of it. One of these processes was their member certification. Through automations and self-serve tools the new website saves them hundreds of man-hours.

Extend functionality

Fraser Academy moved their student management to Blackbaud K‑12 solution. The problem was that it lacked the ability to produce key reports. We created a website that generates the required reports by integrating with their student management system. While our solution involved building a separate portal, other systems allow developers to build add-in apps that can be embedded within the existing system

How do you measure ROI?

If we could leave you with one piece of information to keep in mind as you embark on your website design path, it would be this: measure your ROI. I know it can be hard to come up with precise numbers. If that’s the case, then estimating your ROI can be just as useful. You can use these calculations to determine how worthwhile it is to spend a little extra on a custom website or on one feature.

#1 Get clear on the purpose of your website

Identify the goals you have for the new site, so you can measure whether you’ve achieved them in the future. Common nonprofit website goals are:

  • Driving more donations

  • Gaining new email subscribers

  • Increasing engagement

#2 Decide how to measure success.

To measure results and return, you need to track your progress. Figure out which metrics will indicate success for your project, and then establish a baseline to compare future stats against. Common performance indicators are:

  • Donations. Figure out your current average, and set goals for future donations.

  • Email sign-ups. How many subscribers do you have now? How many do you hope to gain monthly after the website update?

  • Engagement. What are your average social media stats currently? What are your goals for future engagement?

#3 Improve your website with your goals in mind

Think about things like:

  • Page value, or the value driven by each page. You can assess a page’s value by looking at conversions and traffic.

  • Bounce rates. A high bounce rate tells you that when people land on your web pages, they quickly leave. Reducing your bounce rates over time would be a great goal!

Conclusion

Because nonprofit websites vary in cost so much it can be confusing setting an appropriate budget. Focusing on your primary goal and ROI will help you narrow down your options and make budgeting easier. If you’re still feeling stuck and want to chat through what building a website for your nonprofit might look like then contact us! We can help you go through all the steps and help you point out things you might have missed.