Digital for charities: Website Content Template for Charities

by Agate Brice
One of the big problems for small charities sites is knowing where to start with a new or upgraded website. Read on for top tips, a checklist & free to download templates for your content.
Jan 8, 2024

Common problems and concerns for small charities when creating or updating their website


  • How smaller charities can save time & money, allowing them to increase donations
  • Content first approach with free, downloadable templates and checklists
  • Problems and solutions for smaller charities when it comes to their websites
  • Approach your web design company after content is written and approved


Creating or upgrading your website is a daunting task. Nowhere is this more so than when you are a charity where the pressure to get more donations might be greater, the resources are minimal, and the team’s digital knowledge might not be as good as their expert knowledge of, say, homelessness.

One of the big problems for charity sites is knowing where to start so please read on for some top tips, a checklist for before you engage with a web agency, and most of all a free to download template for your content.

Who is this article for?

One size does not fit all. There are big and small charities in terms of budgets, resources and staff. A larger charity might have a marketing department as well as a dedicated team for the web and social media.

Small charities face unique challenges when it comes to creating or updating their website. having a well-structured and user-friendly website is crucial for any organisation, including charities. However, limited budgets and technical difficulties often hinder the development and maintenance of websites for charities big and small.

How does content first save time and money?

As we shall see in this article the aim is to start with the content of a website, before building, designing or even commissioning an external web designer or agency. This hugely saves on time, by stopping any project creep and allows for smaller, more exact, fixed costs to the project. In a later article we will also give you some tips on how to get AI to help charities write their content in a much more efficient manner. For now let’s explore how charities often struggle with web projects.

Understanding the Unique Challenges of Small Charities

Small charities often operate with limited resources and staff, making it challenging to prioritise website development. This can result in delays and difficulties in achieving an effective online presence. However, despite these challenges, small charities play a crucial role in addressing various social issues and making a positive impact in their communities. Their dedication and passion drive them to overcome obstacles and find innovative ways to fulfil their missions.

Common problems and concerns

  • Understaffed / existing staff may lack skills
  • No strategy for what good looks like… leading to…
  • Unclear messaging / audience definitions
  • No time, especially when it comes to signing off content
  • No money
  • Fixed budgets – perhaps even budgets that have to be spent at specific times
  • Many competitors for the same donations and “customers”
  • Tied in to an existing provider who is not servicing your needs… leading to…
  • Not wanting to be locked in to technology or providers

Budget Constraints and Their Impact on Website Development

One of the primary concerns for small charities when it comes to website development is the limited budget available. Allocating funds to website creation or updates can be a daunting task, especially when there are other pressing needs such as program funding and operational expenses. This financial constraint often leads to compromises in the quality and functionality of the website. However, small charities can find creative solutions to overcome these budget constraints. They may rely on the expertise of volunteers or seek pro-bono services from web developers who are passionate about supporting charitable causes. Or they go for smaller, more local agencies (such as us here at Some charities have even successfully leveraged crowdfunding platforms to raise funds specifically for website development, recognising the importance of a strong online presence in achieving their goals.

Moreover, small charities can explore cost-effective alternatives such as website builders and content management systems that offer affordable options tailored to their needs. They might choose to create their own sites using off the shelf solutions such as Wix (please don’t), Squarespace (looks nice but it is expensive in the long run and you cannot change as you wish) or Wordpress. These tools provide user-friendly interfaces and customizable templates, enabling small charities to create and maintain their websites without extensive technical knowledge or financial resources.

Despite the challenges posed by limited budgets, small charities understand the importance of effectively communicating their mission and impact to potential supporters, and they need to be committed to leveraging any available resources to achieve these goals.

Common Problems Encountered by Small Charities

In addition to budget constraints, small charities face various technical challenges in creating or updating their website. Their limited resources often pose obstacles when it comes to establishing a strong online presence. Let’s explore some of the technical difficulties that small charities commonly encounter in website creation and maintenance.

Technical Difficulties in Website Creation

Many small charities lack the in-house expertise or technical resources required to build and maintain a website. This can lead to difficulties in choosing the right platform, understanding coding languages, and implementing essential features.

Imagine a small charity with passionate individuals who have a deep understanding of the cause they support but little knowledge of web development. They may find themselves overwhelmed by the multitude of website building options available. Should they use a website builder, a content management system (CMS), or hire a professional web developer? Without proper technical knowledge or support, small charities often struggle to create an effective and user-friendly website.

Small charities may find it challenging to customise their website or troubleshoot issues without the necessary coding skills. But do not despair. Coding languages such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript can be intimidating for those without a technical background – but are generally not needed to set up a basic website using a standard CMS.

Implementing essential features, such as donation forms, event registration, or volunteer sign-ups, can also be a daunting task for small charities. They may lack the resources to integrate these functionalities seamlessly, hindering their ability to engage with potential donors, volunteers, and supporters. But again these are relatively simple actions as 3rd party services such as Raisly or PayPal give you copy and paste instructions. Or content management systems such as WordPress have many plugins that are simple to use, and most importantly require no technical no-how.

Issues with Content Management and Updating

Another common problem faced by small charities is the lack of resources to consistently update and maintain their website’s content. Regularly adding new content, such as success stories, events, and impact reports, is seen by many as being vital for engaging visitors and keeping the website relevant.

Imagine a small charity that achieves significant milestones, positively impacting the lives of those they serve. Sharing these success stories on their website can inspire others and attract more support. However, without dedicated staff or a content management system (CMS), small charities find it challenging to keep their website up to date.

Updating content manually can be time-consuming and may require technical knowledge. Small charities often struggle to allocate resources for content creation and struggle to keep up with the demands of maintaining an engaging online presence. This aspect of the project should not be underestimated. 

As you will see when you get to our template and content ideas below, a news or blog section might not be right for you, or could be something you add later.


Concerns Specific to Small Charities

In addition to technical difficulties, small charities have specific concerns that may not apply to larger organisations.

When it comes to running a small charity, ensuring data security and privacy becomes a critical priority. Small charities often lack the resources to implement robust cybersecurity measures, making them vulnerable to potential cyber threats. These organisations may store sensitive donor information, payment details, or beneficiary data, which can make them attractive targets for hackers. Protecting this valuable information becomes a significant concern for small charities when creating or updating their website.

Moreover, small charities face accessibility and user-friendliness concerns. It is essential for these organisations to ensure that their website is accessible and user-friendly for all visitors, including those with disabilities. However, meeting accessibility standards and providing easy navigation can be challenging without the necessary expertise or tools. A poorly designed website can alienate potential supporters, limiting the reach and impact of the charity’s work.

One possible solution is to collaborate with web design volunteers or seek assistance from organisations that specialise in helping small charities improve their online presence. These partnerships can provide valuable expertise and resources to enhance data security, privacy, accessibility, and user-friendliness. 

Additionally, small charities can leverage free or low-cost website building platforms that offer accessibility features and templates designed for nonprofit organisations. These platforms often provide user-friendly interfaces and pre-built functionalities, making it easier for small charities to create and maintain their websites without extensive technical knowledge.

Most website providers and CMS providers have security out of the box, but you would be surprised at how many charity sites we have found with poor security and even less GDPR compliance.

We always advise WordPress for any web project up to enterprise level. It is free to use (open source), has thousands of experts worldwide, many plugins and is constantly updated. What isn’t free is the hosting and perhaps some of the themes and plugins used by your developers. We here at use Divi for our projects but that is just our preference.

Furthermore, small charities can prioritise regular website maintenance and updates to address any security vulnerabilities or accessibility issues. By staying proactive and vigilant, these organisations can minimise the risks associated with data breaches and ensure that their website remains accessible to all visitors.

Overall, small charities face unique challenges when it comes to website development and maintenance. However, by recognising and addressing concerns related to data security, privacy, accessibility, and user-friendliness, these organisations can create a strong online presence that supports their mission and engages a wider audience.

Some real life examples

Website charities are an area close to our hearts. In designer Agate’s dissertation “Can a website encourage animal adoption & responsible pet ownership for a small local charity?” she used a local dog’s home charity Worcester Animal Rescue. But for the purposes of this article, looking at some exemplar content templates for charities, we have used homeless charity Rhythms of Life.

Overcoming the Challenges: Practical Solutions

Despite the challenges, there are practical solutions for small charities to create or update their websites effectively.

Choosing the Right Website Platform for Your Charity

Small charities should carefully evaluate their needs and budget when selecting a website platform. Content management systems (CMS), such as WordPress or Joomla, offer user-friendly interfaces and customisable templates that can simplify website creation and updates. Additionally, exploring free or low-cost platforms can help mitigate budgetary constraints.

AI content generation for charities

We here at Practically are big on the use of and propagation of generative AI. This article has been helped along by various AI engines. And on the surface they are very good. But generative AI only gets you so far. No one knows your charity like yourself, least of all an American based engine. Use AI as a tool, either to help with ideas or to clean up your prose, but ultimately you need to write your own content for your human audience.

There are AI providers who promise an entire website build with AI. These should be avoided firstly because they are expensive in the long run (they charge monthly). And they are black boxes which are unable to be changed, edited or adapted.

In short, use AI to help you but do not trust anyone but yourself to finalise content.

Some key questions to ask your website agency
  • Can I edit and publish my own website changes?
  • What technology do you lock our website into?
  • How many users of this technology are there?
  • Do I need you to edit or create new templates?
  • Do I need to pay for new pages?
  • How much do I pay for hosting?
  • Do you give me lessons on how to use this technology?
  • Do you have any references? What charity work have you done before?
Understanding the Benefits of Having an Updated Website

The Importance of a Well-Structured Website for Charities

A well-structured website is essential for any charity to effectively communicate its mission, values, and impact to potential donors and supporters. It serves as an online representation of the organisation, showcasing its work, goals, and impact. A poorly designed or outdated website can create a negative impression and hinder engagement with potential stakeholders.

Furthermore, in today’s digital age, an online presence is crucial for reaching a wider audience and maximising the impact of a charity’s efforts. A well-designed website can attract new supporters, raise awareness about the organisation’s cause, and facilitate online donations, ultimately helping the charity to expand its reach and make a greater difference.

Prioritising Essential Website Features

What pages do you need on your charity website?

When facing limited resources, small charities should prioritise essential website features that align with their mission and goals. This may include prominent donation buttons, impact stories, and volunteer opportunities. By focusing on key functionalities, small charities can ensure their website effectively communicates their message without overwhelming the available resources.

Do I need a blog or news articles on my charity website?

Blogs and news are a great way to keep your site updated and to let your users know what is happening. But the worst thing is when you see a blog that was last updated a year ago. This works in reverse in terms of effectiveness. Plus in updating those articles your busy charity will have more work to do.

If you are thinking about doing a blog why not start the process before you brief in your site. How much time does it take? How many new things do you have on a monthly basis? We won’t repeat here the myriad of articles telling you how to blog for SEO, but you do need to put effort in to each one if you expect visitors to come to your page.

Analysing Website Traffic and Performance

The key to all web strategy is to know who comes to your website right now, and what they do. And from this work out what needs to change and what you actually need those users to do. For example you may find that key pages get all the traffic and engagement (ie people click things, or spend time on those pages). Other pages may get almost nothing.

Of course Google Analytics is the method that most sites track your users on an anonymous basis. To gain simple reports is relatively easy but there is an art to going a little bit deeper and interpreting the results.

Furthermore, without a well-structured content management system, small charities may face difficulties organising and categorising their content. This can result in a cluttered website, making it harder for visitors to find the information they need.

We also find that older websites and charities in particular find it hard to let go of the older content that might not be relevant to their users. We understand that some content is important to a founder, for example, and tool a lot of resources to put together. But if that content is not producing, converting or engaging traffic then it should be killed off and redirected. Our rule of thumb is that every page should have at least 30 visitors in any given year to be worthwhile.
As small charities continue to navigate these technical challenges, it is essential to recognize the importance of providing them with the necessary support and resources. By addressing these obstacles, we can empower small charities to create effective websites that amplify their impact and connect with a broader audience.

Checklist of things you should have before you start a web project

  • If a website is needed!
  • DNS / Hosting
    Know who has a login to your domain name and or hosting
  • Brand guidelines / logo files
  • Access to your current website Content Management System
  • Content plan – what pages do you need?
  • Key areas of copy – see templates below
  • Strategy for success – what does good look like?
  • Admin access to Google Analytics or similar

The first on the above list might seem a little odd. Surely this post is all about how smaller charities should rebuild their websites for better effectiveness. But if your charities’ users are young they might communicate via TikTok. If it is of a more corporate nature then perhaps a LinkedIn group or company page might suit just as well. Every organisation should have some web presence, but sometimes a simple holding page can be as effective as a badly done or out of date website. Band websites, for example are becoming increasingly a series of links to channels such as our

Why a charity should begin with content first

As we have seen above, one of the big problems for a smaller charity is time and money. All web projects rely on content, and when content is not created in a timely manner there is a mismatch between expected live date and actual live date. In our experience with charities and not-for-profits it is either the creation of the content or the approval of the content that is the sticking point. This can and has lead to years of delay in some cases. Yes, you read that right, years.

The normal process for a new or updated website is to define the audience, the keywords, the objective and the user journeys. Then create a sitemap, and follow this with wireframes. Once the wireframes are done then the design and build can take place, as can the copywriting and asset gathering. This is the proper way to deliver a website.

But we thought it would be useful for charities to leapfrog this process. Before going to a web agency, or even creating a website by themselves, why not start with defining the content? Every wonderful charity is different but in terms of functionality and process they are similar: They have a mission statement, they need donations, they need volunteers and people, they have a section about the business, they offer “services” (the work that they do, be it homing dogs or people, educating, building things, helping people…), they have a contact area. Once you break down a website in this way and couple this with our experience of what works in a web page you end up with some wireframes all ready to be filled in, to serve as your content brief.


Again this is not for everyone, but if our templates get your charity further along the path then we are happy.

The templates to help you

The Role of Professional Support in Website Development

While small charities may have limited internal resources, seeking professional support can greatly enhance their website development and maintenance.

When to Consider Hiring a Web Developer

Small charities should consider hiring a web developer when they lack the technical expertise needed to create or update their website. A professional web developer can design a visually appealing and functional website, ensuring that it meets the charity’s specific requirements. While there may be an upfront cost, the long-term benefits and impact on the charity’s online presence can justify the investment.

The Benefits of Outsourcing Website Maintenance

Outsourcing website maintenance can be a cost-effective solution for small charities. Engaging a third-party provider can ensure regular updates, security monitoring, and technical support, alleviating the burden on internal staff. This allows the charity to focus on its core mission while leaving the technical aspects of website maintenance to the experts.


In conclusion, small charities face several challenges when creating or updating their website. Limited budgets, technical difficulties, and specific concerns can hinder their ability to have an effective online presence. However, by understanding these challenges, prioritising essential features, and seeking professional support, small charities can overcome these obstacles and create impactful websites that convey their mission and engage with supporters.

What next?

Start with a project plan and include the people involved in your charity. Who will be the “champion”, who will gather content and most of all who approves the content, design and site. How will the approval process work?

Then fill in and get approval for the content templates you can download in this very post.

Then decide if you would like to create your website internally or to get a web developer involved.

Either way do please book yourself a no obligation meeting via Zoom, with us, We are past masters at charity and not-for-profits, most of which we don’t show on our website. We are also happy to work with agencies as the web specialists.

The answer to our own key questions to ask your website agency
  • Can I edit and publish my own website changes? Hell yes. You would have the same admin rights as we do
  • What technology do you lock our website into? Wordpress!
  • How many users of this technology are there? Millions with loads of developers worldwide
  • Do I need us to edit or create new templates? No. All “templates” are made within Wordpress to a point. Ring us when you want us to do something clever, or you need help, but otherwise you are good to play
  • Do I need to pay for new pages? Nope. Go crazy
  • How much do I pay for hosting? Depends on your traffic and how many files and assets you have
  • Do you give me lessons on how to use this technology? Oh yes
  • Do you have any references? What charity work have you done before? Lots, but a lot we cannot show you on this site as they are in progress, or we do the job through third parties. Book a meeting and we will show you. And we do have many references from NHS and clients we can put you in touch with

References  / Links / Further Reading

Strategy and guides“4%20P%27s”,of%20these%20aspects%20in%20detail.

20 features every charity website should include:,-If%20your%20organization&text=This%20page%20should%20include%20compelling,as%20few%20steps%20as%20possible.

Content writing for charities:

Create trust and donations:

Charity digital Skills report:

Charity Digital Code:

Digital strategy resources for charities:

Digital strategy buy-in:

Digital challenges for charities:

Value in web design for charities:

Charity website examples:

Charity development guide:

Predictions: “Search is dead – long live findability”:

Six Ms of Marketing:



Charity website inspiration

Successful charity website creation:


Image is courtesy of Gloucestershire Health and Care: