Why a Website?
Every nonprofit organization should have a place online to provide information about the organization’s mission, activities and people. The website should provide accurate and up-to-date information to constituents, volunteers, and funders. The organization should own and maintain control over its own domain name (ie.g., http://www.yournonprofitname.org).
WordPress.com provides hosting provides at a cost of around $100 per year. WordPress provides powerful features that non-technical users can use: if you’ve used Microsoft Office to create documents, you can use WordPress to create a website.
Advanced users can choose to leverage sophisticated features. WordPress is open source, which means the original code is available for review. Users can explore the code, if desired. Thousands of customizations and plug-ins can extend the power of WordPress.
Your first decision will be whether to install and maintain the WordPress software yourself (WordPress.org) or to simply rely on WordPress hosting (WordPress.com). Learn more about the difference between the two at WPBeginner.com.
Who Should Choose to Use WordPress.com?
I recommend beginning users start a site at WordPress.com. If you use WordPress.com, your site will receive automatic updates and backup. However, you will not be able to install plug-ins beyond those provided.
I recommend you purchase the $99 Pro upgrade bundle. This provides domain registration and mapping, which means people can access your website by typing “www.yournonprofitname.org” instead of “yournonprofitname.wordpress.com”. The bundle also removes ads from your site, and lets you host and share video on your site.
Who Should Choose to Use WordPress.org?
More advanced users might want more control over their website. This flexibility can be obtained by installing WordPress.org packages on your own webhosting service. If you install and use WordPress.org, you can use plug-ins and customize themes, but you also have to manage updates and backup. Just like the famous phrase suggests: with greater power comes greater responsibility.