Your organization, church, nonprofit needs a website. If you don’t already believe that, it is my hope that I can help convince you. In today’s highly competitive market for nonprofits and the finite amount of donation dollars available, those with clear, consistent, strong digital platforms are winning the day.

Take a look at organizations like The Salvation Army. They spend millions every year on a professional website, high end advertising and are constantly looking for ways to improve and streamline their customer and volunteer experience. I know, because I used to work for their agency of record.

But they didn’t start out using one of the largest advertising agencies in the nation or with budgets in the millions. They started with a vision. A mission. A desire to spread their message of hope and help far and wide.

But not everyone has those things.

You don’t have to understand it all, but knowing someone who does helps

They just didn’t understand.

I had been working with a nonprofit organization as a volunteer for months trying to impress upon them the need for a website. It would help solidify their brand and spread their message of hope to the world. It would allow them to take donations online and communicate digitally with their volunteers and those that wanted to donate.

But all they could see was the cost. Nevermind that I was willing to do the actual design and development for free. I had pursued multiple hosts and showed them lots of options for various levels of service and pricing. But they weren’t willing to invest even a few dollars per month towards something they couldn’t understand the value of.

I partly blame myself as I was not a great salesman. It’s something I’ve worked on a lot since then. I’ve spent hours reading books on and practicing my salesmanship. But the true fault lies in the founder’s lack of vision into how to grow his organization’s platform and reach. While not the only reason, it was part of the reason the organization was forced to fold several years later.

Getting a website up and running these days is unbelievably easier than it was even five years ago. With options like WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, and hundreds of other options, anyone can do it themselves. But there are also agencies and freelancers across the globe who can help you get up and running with a professional website without having to request an armored car to deliver the money.

The important thing is that you must begin to build your brand in the digital world. It is an incredible platform if you use it wisely. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn’t have to consume all your time. But leveraging things like social media, web presence and advertising can be the difference between completing your organization’s mission and wondering where you went wrong.