What not for profit groups should know about their website

Creating a quality digital presence for a not for profit group or community organisation is more important (and more achievable) than ever before.

And it makes sense. A good website helps people understand your mission, your impact, and how they can help. The better your website and online presence, the more traction your not for profit organisation will get.

In 2022, anyone can get online for free with social media, website platforms and a Google account. These tools will give you a level of online visibility, which is smart.

But if your cause truly resonates with people, you’ve probably managed to convince other fabulous humans to support your community organisation. Some will support you with money. Some will donate their time. And some will volunteer their skills and knowledge.

So how do you manage a volunteer who offers to manage your website, hosting or emails?

Over the years, we’ve learned a few things working with volunteer organisations, not for profit groups and the kind souls who offer in-kind support. Asking these questions BEFORE you start will allow you to set up your digital presence for long-term success and sanity, and help you navigate some of the complexities of working with volunteers.

There are 3 questions you need to ask

When things change- as they inevitably do in a voluntary, not for profit organisation when people move on, leave the area or their circumstances change- you need to know who has ownership and control of your digital and communication assets.

Being aware of this and setting them up correctly in the first place will avoid stress, resentment, down time, lost emails and confusion down the track.

1. Who is our domain registered through?

Your domain is your url. For example: ourorganisation.com.au

It’s the web address people will type into Google to find your organisation and the place your website will sit.

Each year, domain name registration needs to be renewed and there’s a small cost to this, from $20 year or so. If the name isn’t renewed, you can lose access to your website and emails, and that would be BAD.

When the doman was registered, the domain provider will have asked for a Registrant Contact. This person will receive emails about renewing the domain each year. Make sure the emails are going to someone who will stay connected to the organisation, or someone you trust who will pass on ownership if they decide to discontinue their involvement in your not for profit group.

The Registrant Contact for a business is the business owner and the holder of the ABN. If your not for profit organisation has an ABN, the Registrant Contact is likely to be the name listed on your ABN. This may be the President or another leader within the organisation.

Lots of companies offer domain registration. They include: NetRegistry, Crazy Domains, GoDaddy. We use and recommend Australian-based VentraIP.

2. Who hosts our website?

It’s important to know who hosts your website so that if something goes wrong, you know who to ask for help.

Think of your web hosting as the rent you pay on your slice of the internet for the ability to have your website live.

Web hosting may be an annual fee or a monthly fee. It can be small or large, depending on your not for profit organisation’s needs. If your web hosting isn’t paid and up to date, your website won’t be live and visible to prospective supporters.

There are lots of companies that offer web hosting in Australia. Common ones include GoDaddy, NetRegistry, Crazy Domains. We use and recommend Australian-based VentraIP because their service is excellent, their support centre is based in Australia and they give great value for money.

3. Who hosts our email?

Email communication is crucial to your organisation. Knowing how and who hosts your email means that you can move forward with confidence as your organisation grows.

No-one wants the stress of lost emails and trying to find random back-ups to piece together the last five years of data.

Sometimes emails are hosted through a free platform like Gmail or Hotmail and are not connected to your domain name or web hosting at all. It’s not really a good look for an organisation, but it does make it easy to transfer. For example, myorganisation@gmail.com

Occasionally, emails are connected to your web hosting. (If you’ve heard of cPanel, this is where they live). If this is the case, it’s important to know who has access to this data if you ever decide to build a new website and transfer your domain and hosting to a new provider.

Alternatively, your emails may be hosted through Microsoft 365 and taken care of through an IT company. This is a great situation and won’t impact your website as it’s a separate system.

A good web developer plays well with your IT company and makes sure you have secure, continued access to your emails before migrating your domain to a new provider.

Building a new website for a not for profit, charity or community organisation??

ASK the web developer how this will impact your mail. They should be able to investigate, give you clear information and provide you with a solution that works.

And PLEASE talk to the volunteer who has provided these services to you and let them know that you’re going to market to find a web developer. Give them a heads up and invite them to be part of the project. And show your appreciation for everything they’ve done.

ONE LAST TOP TIP

Microsoft 365 have some terrific FREE email options for not for profit or chartiable organisations that are eligible and meet the criteria. This can be an excellent resource to tap into when organisational budgets are tight. Ask your web developer or IT guy to check them out. We partner with local Newcastle company Gravity IT Solutions for all our tech needs, and they are experts in helping not for profit organisations with IT.

And in case you haven’t already noticed? There’s a limit to what you can achieve for free. Sometimes, you need to invest money into the future and the growth of your charity, cause or organisation.

We work with a number of not for profit organisations and each year we set aside time to work on projects for groups that are doing great work. Get in touch if you want to get some feedback on your plans or to find out how we choose our next project.

We’d love to chat about how we can help your business connect with the people who matter.

0403 441 176
hello@themarketingside.com.au