“What´s your website?” – how many times have you heard this question when you talk about your NGO, your projects or your work in general? Today, everybody seems to assume that every organization has a web presence. But is it actually necessary for your NGO to have a website? Is it worth the investment?
In this article, we talk about the pros and cons of having an organizational website and give you some advice to go by.
Why is a website important?
Today, the internet is more important than ever. A website is like a business card that represents your NGO and your work to the outside world. It is the place to boast about your successes and tell the stories of your beneficiaries. Specifically, in the development world, people who fund projects and who run the projects are often not close together. It is not always possible for a donor or an interested individual to just go to the field and check out the interesting initiative – more and more they rely on the internet to do so. A website is the perfect way to let others know of your work and ask for support.
Maintaining a good website can also help you communicate with your beneficiaries. You can post training schedules there, publish manuals and just inform about the events and projects you offer.
Does my NGO need a website?
We have already explained the importance of a website. But do all NGOs need one? In the end, to design and host a website can create considerable costs. There is no simple answer to this question and every organization should discuss this with their members and/or board, but generally speaking, there are only very few cases where it is ok to not have a website.
Some NGOs have partners that fund their work without them having to go through an application process. This support generally is stable and the relationship very close. In this case, an NGO does not need a website to present their work, as the partner will already know everything from project reports. Generally, these initiatives are small and locally focused.
If your NGO wants to work with outside donors and have the opportunity to grow, a website is needed. New donors will always do their due diligence and check your website. Not having a website might raise red flags amongst donors or potential partners. The website is also the perfect place to present further information that did not fit into the proposal. If a donor needs more detail, they will check your website to see if their questions will be answered there.
A website is also important if your organization wants to work with volunteers or other partners. In some countries, a website is necessary to get registration documents, so check beforehand if there are legal requirements in your country.
If you decide your organization needs a website, you do not have to go overboard though. If your NGO is small, you do not have to invest a lot of money to have a perfect homepage designed for you. There are many free tools and hosting services that provide simple forms of a blog that would be sufficient to present information and pictures about your work. If nobody in your NGO is able to manage this, using the help of volunteers is a great way to make this step into the digital world.
Does your NGO have a website? Please share the address in the comments so we can check them out!