Most often, our Webs example sites feature small businesses. But during this time of the year, it seems most appropriate to feature a non-profit doing great work in our local community.

Building Hope, Inc. also has a special place in our hearts here at Webs, as it was founded by the mother of a long-time member of our support team. For the past few years, the whole team here has had a great time collecting and wrapping gifts to be delivered to families in the surrounding counties. This year we’ll be sending gifts to 82 kids. If you’d like to get involved with Building Hope, you can view their volunteer opportunities here.

The lesson that non-profit organizations can take away from Building Hope’s website is to take advantage of all the website features available to them. As a Webs site, Building Hope has a variety of options at their disposal. Looking through their site, it’s apparently that they are taking advantage of the following features:

1. Custom domain name
Having a branded domain name for your non-profit has a number of benefits. First, it’s easy to remember, so when you tell it to people that you meet out and about, they can find you when they get back to a computer. Second, it’s great for boosting SEO (search engine optimization) and helping search engines like Google rank you higher in results when people search for terms related to your organization. Finally, it gives your organization legitimacy. This is especially important if you are collecting donations, because it helps reassure people that their money is going to the right use.

2. Web store
Whether your goal is to raise money for your cause, or simply have a central location for people to find gear for your organization, a user-friendly and secure web store is a great addition to your non-profit website. 

3. Members-only areas
Having the ability to host private sections of your website that only approved members can enter is a great feature for groups. It can encourage participation, allow for collaboration, and increase security and privacy for your organization.

4. Events calendar
Giving members and the public a place to find your events is key for a non-profit, especially since most smaller ones lack the budget to put out much printed or online advertisement of their happenings. It’s so important to make it easy for people to find out what’s going on with you, and also — those calendar events can show up in search results!

5. Image carousels
Non-profits are all about people (and sometimes animals!) so it’s really important to put a human face on your cause. Showing photos of your events, members, leadership, and beneficiaries through image galleries is always a good idea.

6. Video hosting
Same as above, but even more engaging!

7. Contact forms
Giving people an easy, centralized way to get in touch with your organization is key to its success. Integrated contact forms also help busy organizers save time by sorting and storing messages and contacts in one place that is accessible from any computer.

8. Donations
Not to put too fine a point on it, but most non-profits need a little help. And the best way to get donations is a) to ask for them and b) to make it incredibly easy to give. Putting a donations app on your website is a great way to encourage people to donate in the moment, when they’re already engaged with your website.

9. Document hosting
Because Webs hosts users’ sites in the cloud, they have the option to store all their documents there where they can send out links or allow people to download them right from their website. There are often lots of forms and documents associated with groups and organizations, and this makes it easy for everyone to have access.

The features above can add professionalism and functionality to your non-profit’s website, and they are well worth taking the time to add. Congrats to Building Hope on a job well done with their website. Check them out if you live in the DC/Maryland/Virginia area and want to get involved.

About the Author: Sarah Matista is the Online Content Specialist and resident blogger at Webs. Loves branding, marketing, whales. Get more from Sarah on Webs’ Blog and Google+.

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