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Building a non-profit web site

A checklist

7:03 am on Jun 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I think I must have arrived! A satisfied client has given me a referral, and now I have a new client.

Before I write the first tag there are questions that I don't even know to ask yet. Looking over some gov pages I would assume that there is a registration required for the non-profit. Looking over the mission statement of this organization, I can see that dollars are destined to be spent out of this country (US), and that leads me to at least ponder what Federal requirements might exist. Obviously the last thing I want is to be explaining how I came to be a part of some terrorist cell..

Clearly there are things that I can discover from my client, but I would like to be satisfied that the information is valid.

Have you built a non-profit site? What experience can you share?

Are there known 'rules' (for lack of a better term) for this kind of site?

12:12 pm on June 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Yes I did it once for an org spreading on a couple of States, however it was a nightmare
A)Make sure that the funding is secured and that you do not have to pray for a grant to be approved or even that you are not supposed to write your own ):
B)Write down an overly specific map of the project at hand, be sure that they will understand that your time table could only work if they keep working on their share of the deal
C)Be very specific on which content is available, which content needs to be modified, which content needs to be written and whoíll be responsible for new content
D)Images: Are any ready, if more needed verify that itís not going to be done by an amateurish photographer
E)Contract: Spell out everything
F)Make sure that your site will load fast, my experience with small org shows that most org users do not have too much knowledge in web tech and use low speed connection.
G)Speaking of users, the orgs usually love meeting, use it to your advantage and setup a few focus group that will help you tremendously

Did I like that experience: NO! Mostly for needing to beg for me fees and content

I am on that road again but for a Nationwide well known org
Then at this level itís a pleasure and a nice experience

5:46 pm on June 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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In the US, non-profit or tax-exempt organizations are granted that status due to the orgaization's mission and then following guidelines and laws. They either are a non-profit or they are not as determined by the IRS. This is easy to determine and their books are public record.
Their tax-exempt status is the organization's responsibility to maintain and follow all the relevant laws.
Their legal repesentative and their accountant should be managing all these matters.
I don't see where being the webmaster would have any additional duties or concerns regarding their business practices. If they break any tax laws or practices, that is their concern and then it is a matter of losing their tax status etc.

You could Google the org and see what there is on the web about the organization.

10:12 pm on June 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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There is also non for profit allowed to make profit if at the end of their fiscal year all profits are spent.
For ex: Selling T-Shirt with a motto.

I think it's a 501c3 org.

4:19 pm on June 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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Henry0 you are correct a 501(c)3 organization is a not-for-profit as classified by the IRS... in most cases you just need to fill out the correct paperwork and file the correct forms with the IRS...

As far as guidelines or other information, that would depend on what type of organization or what their mission is.

I run a local bike/pedestrian coalition website, we will be a 501(c)3, although we have yet to finish getting the paperwork out.. we have the help of a lawyer to do the work pro bono so it makes it easier.

I am not sure about the other non-US funding and such, since we are a local org...

anyway, good luck with it.

4:40 pm on June 5, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I maintain a couple of them.

Site A always pays its bills on time, but I end up working for a committee. Quite frustrating when they don't get on the same sheet of music. I almost fired this client this year, but they do always pay on time.

Site B thinks everything can be done for pennies. Always slow to pay. Always complains about about costs. Whenever I suggest they bid the work out, they come back (a sure sign I am not charging enough:)) Having a couple of links on this site (relatively high PR and good ranking in its niche) make it worthwhile - since I always do get my money...eventually.