Articles: Websites

Idealware articles, like those in our Few Good Tools series, give nonprofits concise, critical information on the software choices available for specific organizational functions and goals. We compare software options, offer real life examples and case studies, and give you the tools to make the right decision based on your specific needs.

Articles: Websites

  • By Dan Rivas,
    June 2015

    The numbers are important—likes, follows, retweets all show that your audience is paying attention—but it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that numbers are the goal when what you really want is bigger. Engagement—interaction that is meaningful and furthers your organization’s impact—is what your communications need to deliver. 

  • By Dan Rivas,
    June 2015

    When advertising or launching a fundraising campaign, you need a place to send your audience to take action or to learn more about your organization. Your website’s homepage might seem like a logical choice, but the size and breadth of the content there can lose or distract viewers. You need a webpage that communicates only what’s important and gives your audience exactly what it needs.

  • By Elizabeth Pope,
    April 2015

    Thanks to TechSoup for the generous funding of this article. Learn more about the software available to libraries and other topics of interest to nonprofits at

  • By Laura S. Quinn,
    October 2014

    Updated for 2014

    Are you embarrassed by your organization’s website? (Come on, you can admit it.) Was it built in a volunteer’s nephew’s basement — or does it look like it was? Does it feature events or breaking news that are sadly out of date? Are you still trying to get around to adding that program you started last year?

  • By Chris Lane, Idealware,
    April 2014

    Increasingly, an online presence is not just important for nonprofits, but absolutely vital. It’s been clear for some time that your organization should have a website—and more and more constituents are looking to connect with you on social media. But what about blogs? 

  • By Laura S. Quinn,
    June 2013

    What are we really asking for when we require nonprofits to produce data on performance, effectiveness and impact? While the surface logic is clear—we need to know this information—the full context and set of assumptions surrounding the request bears closer examination. Idealware's founder and executive director, Laura Quinn, wrote the following article for the Markets For Good blog.

  • By Tyler Cummins,
    March 2013

    A strong web presence is paramount to maintaining a strong organization, and having a mobile-friendly web presence is increasingly an important element. Currently, 85 percent of Americans own cell phones -- and more than half of those use them to access the Internet. Industry analysts expect browsing the web on mobile devices to become more common than browsing on traditional desktops and laptops as soon as next year.

  • By Kyle Henri Andrei,
    July 2012

    Your organization’s blog is a place to show a little personality, share resources, highlight your expertise, and engage your constituents. What are the best tools for creating and hosting a blog?

  • By Laura S. Quinn,
    June 2012

    Odds are good that your organization is using multiple communications channels to reach people, from social media to direct mail and email to websites and blogs. Because each can attract a different audience, and may be better-suited for certain types and lengths of content, coordinating among them all can be difficult.

  • By Chris Bernard,
    January 2012

    What if a percentage of the $150 billion spent annually in online shopping could be donated to nonprofits working to make the world a better place?That’s exactly the promise a growing number of web-based businesses are making—purchase something from an online retailer you find through their site, and they’ll send a percentage to the organization of your choice. Neither users nor their designated charities pay anything—the donations come from participating merchants, who pay the sites a commission for each online purchase referred through them.

  • By Laura S. Quinn and Kyle Henri Andrei,
    July 2011

    Petitions and pledges provide ways to effect change by letting people add their names to a particular cause to show the amount of support for it. They can also help your organization build a list of people interested in its causes. So how do you implement these measures?

  • By Laura S. Quinn and Kyle Andrei,
    April 2011
    Web analytics tools help you track your site’s statistics, which let you see how many people are looking at each page, what sites they came from, and other information to help develop a picture of who your audience is. But which web analytics tool should you use?
  • By Laura S. Quinn,
    October 2010

    Regardless of your organization’s demographics, chances are good that a majority of your constituents use mobile phones.  How can you reach out to them on their cell?  We walk through the possibilities:  texting, two-way communication, giving, pledging, websites, apps, and more. 

  • By Laura S. Quinn ,
    June 2010

    Are your online communications working?  How can you tell?  In this article, we talk through four types of measures-- Views, Followers, Engagement, and Conversion-- that help you track your efforts to see if they're worthwhile.  

    Chances are, your organization has a website. Perhaps you also send out broadcast emails, or maintain a blog, Twitter or Facebook account. Is the effort you’re putting into online communications working? How can you tell?

  • By Laura S. Quinn,
    May 2010

    What tools can help you collect donations via credit card through your existing website?  In this adaptation and update of our 2005 report, we look at the considerations and the options for taking online donations.

  • By Laura S. Quinn,
    June 2008

    We asked nine nonprofit internet specialists to share some of the Web hosting providers that have worked well for them, and some tips for hosting everything from a basic website to a powerhouse web application.  Fully verified and updated in June 2008.

  • By Laura S. Quinn,
    April 2008

    If you want your site to show up prominently in search engines like Google, your website content management system can help - but not all CMSs are created equal. We suggest the features to look for to help with search engine optimization. 

  • By Laura S. Quinn,
    March 2008

    Does your organization show up on the first page of results in search engines like Google or Yahoo? The content and structure of your website can have a dramatic effect on how easily potential constituents can find you via search engines. This article explains how.

  • By Eric Leland,
    December 2007

    Online integrated applications allow nonprofits to manage a number of different aspects of their constituent information and Web presence all together in one package. Eric Leland took a close look at eight packages to compare their functionality in a variety of areas.

  • By James Roberston,
    January 2007

    Selecting a content management system (CMS) can be a complex task, and organizations often run into pitfalls with processes, politics, and understanding the CMS environment. James Robertson outlines a common-sense approach to avoiding the most common mistakes.

  • By Laura S. Quinn,
    January 2007

    It can be hard to understand how online payment processing works. Many different steps and a lot of jargon make it seem more complicated than it is. To help you see the big picture, we’ve laid out a typical payment process in diagrams.

    Here’s the whole diagram – but don’t worry, we’ll break it down.

  • By Laura S. Quinn,
    January 2006

    While there are many applications out there that can help you process any single type of online payment, what if you want a tool that will support a variety of transactions?  We asked six experts what tools they would recommend to process various types of payments on an existing website.

  • By Laura S. Quinn,

    If your organization works with corporate sponsors, you’ve probably put some thought into defining the different levels of sponsorship and what to include in each. Such perks can help lure new sponsors by offering a return on their investment beyond just a charitable contribution or can tempt existing sponsors to increase their donation.

Articles: Websites