TRIP is a community transport charity that provides a vital service for the members of my local community. Ranging from social trips to help reduce isolation, to medical transport they help to reduce the transport and isolation issues so many people face. Whilst their service was excellent, their online presence was not doing its job. They had a website, designed years ago, running on a depreciated platform. Neither the technical functionality or the information delivery the old website provided was adequate.
One issue that most charitable organizations share is a lack of funding, every penny they spend has to be closely evaluated to ensure it is providing the best possible return for their customers. Spending hundreds, or even thousands of pounds on a new website was not an option. That’s why I decided to offer my services to TRIP, free of charge.
The main goals of this new website were:
- A modern but easily accessible design
- A low maintenance and futureproof platform
- Easy options to edit content on the website and upload new items
- Flexibility to expand future functionality, such as E-commerce features
With these requirements in mind, it was decided that WordPress would be the foundation of the website; with Elementor providing a WYSIWYG editor.
As it was vital to keep both development and reoccurring costs low WordPress was the obvious choice. The world’s most used CMS, for free! Additionally, we did use Elementor Pro, which does have a yearly cost the this was acceptable. Outside of that, the only other cost was the domain and hosting. The domain is cheap enough and didn’t cause any issues. For hosting we wanted a reliable platform with good performance, in the end we chose Krystal hosting. Utilizing LightSpeed servers the platform had plenty of performance. Krystal also provided a sizable discount on hosting to non-profits, a much-appreicated cost-saving measure for TRIP.
Using Elementor, getting a slick design for the website was a breeze. Using their template feature to have a permanent header and footer saved on replication, and a simple yet effective design language was used throughout the rest of the website. I think anyone will admit that the difference between the old and new website is night and day.
As we were changing the hosting platform, we also needed to migrate their email server. Previously they had been using the email service built into their hosting package, which providing only basic IMAP and SMTP service. To combat this I implemented Office 365. Not only does this provide a brilliant email service for TRIP (along with many other features) but it was free! Microsoft provides free licenses to non-profits, again keeping costs low.
Overall this project was really successful, resulting in a brilliant website that will serve TRIP for years to come. Not to mention the fact that development is always ongoing, with new features in the pipeline. Additionally, it was an extremely gratifying project for me, being able to give back to my community in a way that really made use of my skills, and helped me to develop new ones.
To any non-profits looking to modernize their online existence I would look no further than Office 365 & WordPress. Being almost free, and extremely versatile they can be adapted to almost any situation and will help your organization get on with its goal, not hindered by weird and confusing computery stuff.
If you want, go take a look at the website for yourself and see how far we got, for basically nothing.