On January 1, 2015, OrgSpring will celebrate its third birthday operating as a nonprofit helping other nonprofits with web and tech issues. I recently spent some time with members of our board discussing our collective paths, and all the work we\’ve done on behalf of nonprofits across the county.
At last count, OrgSpring had helped to design, develop, create, and customize more than 240 pro-bono websites – all for nonprofit organizations with budgets of $50,000 or less per year. During that same time period, we worked on complex custom websites for more than 60 national or international organizations with annual revenue reaching into the hundreds of millions.
But, for the purposes of this article, I\’d like to talk about the little guys – the budding nonprofits – those with small budgets or no budget at all. These are nonprofits started by people who saw an injustice in their neighborhood or who had a family member affected by an incurable disease, domestic violence, mental health issues, or any number of other causes which deserve our attention.
Together, using websites developed by OrgSpring, these organizations were able to reach, on average, more than 270,000 viewers every month and raise more than $500,000 through online donations, online event sales, and other products and services from online stores we helped them create and run.
A Few Great Examples of Nonprofit Websites Making a Real Difference
There\’s Just Harvest, an organization dedicated to ending hunger in our world. They came to OrgSpring with a broken website that couldn\’t be updated, and with a static and dated design. Today, their new nonprofit website is over 300 posts strong and generating an average of nearly 7,000 page views per month. That\’s an amazing accomplishment for such an important organization, and testament to the power of the web for small and growing nonprofits.
Or Compassion Connection, a faith-based organization that used its OrgSpring designed website to raise nearly $8,000 online in the last three months alone.
And Hope Grows, which in less than 6 months on the web now routinely gets 1,000 hits per month and has generated more than $4,000 completely online through a variety of fundraisers.
Or the Center for Community Resources, a vibrant and growing agency in Butler County coordinating supportive services for individuals and families seeking information & referral for mental health, intellectual disabilities, substance abuse and other human service needs. OrgSpring redesigned their original website which was just a few short pages of information into a dynamic hub for the community, regularly attracting more than 3,000 views per month.
And let\’s not forget Green Tree Public Library, for which OrgSpring recently launched a new site that is garnering nearly 2,000 visitors per week and the income is starting to rise too. I have no doubt that when the site reaches full-speed it will help generate $1,000 a month or more in revenue for the library. And as long as the website stays live it will continue generating that income from the local community month after month.
I wonder how much more good any organization could do with another $1,000 per month in its pocket. It\’s exciting to think about, isn\’t it?
Obstacles You Will Face When Creating a Nonprofit Website
While each of these charities is unique in its mission, they are all the same in that they face similar obstacles getting on the web; namely a lack of financial resources, a lack of technical design skills, and a seriously over-worked staff. Under these circumstances, a website is usually the last item on the list of things to get done.
And that is the precise reason we started OrgSpring three years ago. We were astonished at the price of market rate designers that built fancy websites for fortune 500 companies and thought little nonprofits didn\’t deserve to have those same websites just because they couldn\’t \”afford\” it. 300+ websites later, and I think we\’ve successfully debunked that myth!
Every nonprofit deserves a functional, efficient, and effective website that can help achieve its mission online. One that can generate income, help spread the news about important programs, generate a cadre of dedicated followers, and, believe it or not, change the world!
You Get By With a Little Support from Your Friends
Despite our success and the success of our partners, we never claim to know it all or to have the answer to every question. Quite the contrary. We\’ve made mistakes, and lots of them. But we were careful to never make the same mistake twice. And for your questions to which we had no immediate answer, we didn\’t claim ignorance for long. We kept testing, analyzing and improving.
What we\’ve learned is that having a website is not a luxury… it\’s a necessity for your nonprofit! And what really accelerates your website is getting the support you need to maintain it after the site goes live.
That\’s why we created support plans for organizations to lay off website maintenance duties from their busy staff to ours; who can get the same work done in less time and at a much lower cost. In each of these instances the nonprofit was then able to focus on its own mission and not worry about learning a new system or re-training staff when the old web guy gets burned out and leaves the company. But don\’t take my word for it, read what a few nonprofits have to say about our work in their testimonials.
And we\’re excited because in 2015 our support plans will get more comprehensive, offer more functionality, more features and perks, and more free software.
Our Renewed Promise to You
All the organizations mentioned in this article are using the power of the web to make their nonprofits more sustainable; to reduce reliance on foundation funding, and to better connect with the community.
We\’re so very proud to be a partner in their success, and we look forward to serving them every day in the future.
We are always mindful of the OrgSpring creed – a mantra we repeat at board meetings, with staff members, volunteers, and anyone else willing to listen:
I believe that nonprofits exist to make our world a better place. I am motivated by the good in people and their desire to help others less fortunate.
Being confident in my abilities while being open to new ideas is the surest way to continuous improvement.
I choose communication over assumption, listening before giving advice, and lending a hand to any organization in need.
I know that we are limited only by our imaginations, and it is with that spirit I choose to meet each and every day.
And with that, we renew our promise to you – to educate, to inform, and to help your nonprofit use the web to make the world a better place.