How Much Does a Nonprofit Website Cost?

Ah, it's the eternal question: how much should I expect to pay for a website? And how can I find out some answer other than "it depends" without actually building the sucker? It can be really difficult to define what communications approaches make sense for you when website costs appear to be all over the map.

Well, it does depend. If you want to hone in on a price, the best way is probably to get proposals from consultants or firms - not a fast process, but a pretty accurate one. But the general magnitude depends on factors that are knowable, so I thought I'd take a crack at defining what you could expect at each price level based on my experience. Note that this prices are approximate US market rate - so you might be able to find folks who will discount or volunteer for less, but these are what someone who's doing this full time might charge.

$1000
This is around the lowest market rate you're likely to find, and it won't buy you a lot. At this price, you might be able get an independent consultant, probably without a ton of experience, to whip out a 10-30 page static site, based on a templated graphic design and a very straightforward navigation scheme. You won't get something very branded to your organization, and you'll likely have to define precisely what you want up front, as this price wouldn't cover time to help you work through your needs to any substantial degree. You may well have trouble finding someone to work at this low end.

$5000
At this level, you could get a jack-of-all-website-trades independent consultant who makes a living building website to build a simple site tailored to your needs. It might cover a simple, custom graphic design, and potentially one or two simple features (like a simple event calendar). There still wouldn't be a lot of time for strategy or feature definition, but you could expect a bit more customer service from the consultant. Note that a jack-of-all-website-trades consultant is likely to be, as the aphorism says, a master of none. Top quality websites are typically designed and built by a team of people - perhaps a graphic designer, a navigation expert, a content specialist, a design implementer, and an serious programmer. A jack-of-all-trades isn't likely to be an expert in all of those things, so it will be important to see a portfolio to judge their skills in the areas important to you.

$15,000
We're now getting into the realm of solid, scalable, strategic websites. It would cover an independent consultant, a team of consultants working together, or a small firm, in building a site on a solid infrastructure (like a content management system) with some strategically chosen features beyond simple text and images. It also might cover a very simple, basic site from a top consultant or firm - something very small but expertly crafted and designed. The budget would now cover some up-front help from the consultant in figuring out your needs.

$50,000
A lot opens up in this price range. This could be a fairly sophisticated site from a small firm, or a straightforward site by one of the top firms in the country, with some substantial strategic guidance.

$100,000
This is a solid budget for most large websites. Very sophisticated web applications or huge sites could certainly cost more (potentially much more!), but for $100,000 you could hire a top nonprofit internet consulting firm to create a robust site. At this level, your consultants can also help guide you through decision making, and shepherd decisions through internal politics and disputes - you're getting a strategic partner in addition to just someone to implement a site.

So that's my experience with website costs. Others want to share their experience?

Comments

The minimum price for a

The minimum price for a simple but professional looking website is about $1000

Speak with a well qualified developer about your specific project to find out the real cost based on your unique requirements...

I actually know many talented (and affordable) web and mobile developers (freelancers and agencies). I'd be happy to provide an introduction. 

Brett
http://www.customsoftwarebypreston.com
 

How are they charging so little

So how is a company like charity advantage only charging a monthly fee of $9.99 for a free website. This devalues web design. I just don't get it. I like the idea of 15K for a complete design.

Does anyone have any

Does anyone have any experience with disocuntnonprofitwebsites.com? Their website looks impressive with the logos of clients and their pricing is very low considering what they claim to offer.

Laura, it’s so informative.

Laura, it’s so informative. Thanks. However, I find pricing a little bit high, especially considering the small non-profits. I think the range for them is about 1K, if payment module necessary for the web site, it’s about 1.5 to 2K.

Here's a good resource:

Here's a good resource: HowMuchShouldMySiteCost.com.

Check it out to get a calculated quote.

Here's a good resource:

Here's a good resource: HowMuchShouldMySiteCost.com.

Check it out to calculate the estimated cost of your dream site.

What A Rip Off, I will

What A Rip Off, I will provide you an award winning, custom website with all the features you'd like for just $999. I don't mind earning $20 per hour, I don't have an army to support, and most rates for web design are hyper-inflated. Call me at 414 779 2323.

Does it really cost that

Does it really cost that much? There are companies out there that offer great value to help nonprofits build websites, I guess you just have to look.

Like for example, there's this company, www.nonprofitwebsitesolution.com, that offers the initial design for free, but charges for the tools that can be used by nonprofits (like email newsletters). The charge is not that high compared to the list here. They've got support too if they really mean it. But then I'm not sure if the nonprofit gets a dynamic website, but I think that's a pretty good deal especially if you have budget constraints.

@Emily - yes, of course.

@Emily - yes, of course. These aren't intended to be fixed cost but a sense of magnitude. So for $10K, you could edge up from the $5K level - so for instance to get a more sophisticated graphic design, or a particular feature or to - without getting all the way up to the $15K level.

I'm surprised at the jump

I'm surprised at the jump from 5K to 15K. Surely there's something worth noting at the 10K level?

This article seems to be

This article seems to be right on what you can expect. Something I try to explain to potential clients all the time. It is also important to use a firm that can specialize in your field. For example my firm, Web Design Insight - www.webdesigninsight.com, has the needed experience at education and Jewish Non-Profits websites. Being that we are Americans based out of Israel we can be slightly lower in the prices mentioned above but without the loss in customer service or talent.

I would also note that when you spend much less the firm is usually using an off the shelf product for your content management tool which can work but will constrain your ability to customize your site.

I agree, this ia pretty darn

I agree, this ia pretty darn good outlook.

I do believe that IF internal staff become privy to the "bag" of tricks that many web development companies are leveraging they can save loads of cash....

I.e. availablility of modules, components, plugins for these "CMS"..as well as the available resources to assist with design and programming. Understanding the process can help tremendously in reducing overall costs.

I think this is right on -

I think this is right on - especially in terms of the kinds of folks you'll find to help in those categories.

As Patrick mentioned, design is a big issue - and the trade off between design and features. You'll pretty much only get canned templates in the 1k price range (although, frankly, some of the canned templates available for some CMS these days are pretty decent.)

Nicely done. I thought I'd

Nicely done. I thought I'd mention that our projects here at NPower Seattle have hit three of those categories! Since we use Plone - we have a lot of flexibility in the 5-15k price range, and almost none in the 1k price range. So - a nonprofit can spend 5-15k and get a lot of design (and fewer features) or a lot of features (and fewer designs) or a lot of assistance with strategy (and less design and feature set!