Revised with new information as of
January 6, 2014
For Small Nonprofits, NGOs, Civil
Society Organizations, etc.:
Finding and Choosing A Web Designer
Keep in mind a mistake that many organizations have made: handing all Web
site development -- from content creation to regular maintenance -- to a
consultant or to only one staff member. This is an inefficient and costly
way to handle your Web activities! ALL STAFF should have access to and input
regarding your organization's Web site, to ensure it reflects the mission
and the qualities of your organization and individual departments,
and to ensure that you don't create a costly dependance on an outside
consultant (more content suggestions here).
Someone in-house should be able to make regular changes to the site
without needing assistance of the web designer; whomever designs your web
site MUST design the web site with this in mind!
What to look for in a Web Designer
Also see Finding a Computer/Network
Consultant for more tips.
- provides you with references of satisfied clients
- provides you with examples of online work (even a volunteer who is
not a professional web designer should have web sites to show you)
- speaks in as non-technical terms as possible
- is committed to creating a site that someone in-house or a volunteer
can make regular changes to without needing assistance of the designer
- is willing to work with staff and volunteers in the Web site
development, listening to their wants and needs for the site
- turns over ownership of all graphics created for the site to your
- has a history of working with nonprofits, NGOs, grass roots
organizations, schools, and other mission-based organizations,
understanding such organization's limited resources, unique needs and
- understands how to make a site accessible
to people with disabilities and mobile-ready
- will commit to meeting deadlines
How to Find a Web Designer
- Look at Web sites of mission-based groups and small businesses in
your geographic area, particularly groups that are similar to you in
focus or budget size. Note which web sites you like and why. Then call
or email those organizations and ask them who developed their site, and
if this person might be willing to contract or volunteer with your
organization to do the same. Interview candidates, including volunteers
(just because a person isn't going to be paid to design a web site
doesn't mean you shouldn't be selective) and then choose the person you
feel most comfortable with (see this
page for what to look for an interview).
- Contact your local Internet society, Web designers professional
group, computer user group, professional associations for particular
groups. A search of a Web directory like Google
can help you find these groups. Email these groups with a description of
of the web design assignment, noting if you are looking for a contractor
- Tell all of your staff and current volunteers that you are looking
for a web designer and where anyone interested should send their
expressions of interest in the post. Note if you are looking for a paid
consultant or a volunteer.
- Post a request for a web design volunteer to your city's version of Craigslist.
Note if you are looking for a paid consultant or a volunteer.
- Contact the marketing departments, career centers, volunteer centers
and design departments of all nearby universities. Note if you are
looking for a paid consultant or a volunteer.
- If you are looking for a volunteer web designer, post a request for a
web design volunteer to your local volunteer center (if your community
- If you are looking for a volunteer web designer and you are in the
USA, post a request for a web design volunteer to VolunteerMatch.
Here is a large
list of volunteer matching sites for several countries (not just
- If you are looking for a volunteer web designer, post a request to
your local volunteer center.
- If your organization works in or for communities in the developing
world, you can recruit an online volunteer to design your web site via
the United Nations Online
- Post to your organization's social media channels (Facebook,
GooglePlus, Twitter, etc.), and ask your staff and volunteers to do the
Also: old versions of your web site will be available at The
Internet Wayback Machine / archive.org. You will be able to
achieve at least one iteration of your web site from each year that it's
been available on this resource. This is very helpful in retrieving
information someone deletes off of the web site and didn't back up. It
also helps you create a record of your organization's history. Do NOT
let any web designer put coding into your pages so that they will NOT be
archived by this resource!
Coyote Communications' Web Site Resources
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