On this episode of WordPress for Nonprofits, I interview Mark Root-Wiley.
Who you are and what you do
Mark runs MRW Web Design, a design agency for nonprofits and mission-driven organizations. He also runs Nonprofit WP, a WordPress guide for nonprofits doing things on their own, and he is a co-organizer for the Nonprofit Technology Group WordPress forum.
Why use WordPress over another website content management system?
Mark loves the WordPress community, which is large and constantly willing to share. The community provides free and inexpensive plugins as well as learning resources.
WordCamps are an excellent in-person, inexpensive resource for learning about WordPress and meeting fellow WordPress users.
How do you make sure your clients’ websites meet their missions?
Mark makes sure that their clients really think about what they need and what they have the capacity to maintain before they make decisions. WordPress has become really easy to install, and it’s also very easy to install various themes and plugins.
It’s easy to get up and running before you’ve really thought through what your constituents need from your website. Once you’ve thought this through, then you can look for the right themes and plugins to do the job.
Also, make sure you have the capacity to manage what you build. It’s very easy to underestimate the capacity needed to really manage a website.
Describe the content management process that your clients go through
Mark says that many nonprofits are underutilizing the “management” part of content management. For example, he inherits websites that have lots and lots of pages. Each page is simply in the WordPress Page format, and WordPress allows for more structured and organized ways of managing content through plugins and custom post types.
Instead of having a regular Page for each board member, you can have a board member custom post type with their own attributes, i.e. name, title, company, years of the term being served, board officer status, etc.
Fully utilizing WordPress as a content management system makes the website easier to manage over the long-term and hand off to people when turnover happens.
WordPress themes – commercial or custom?
Mark’s preference is to build a custom theme. With a custom theme, every decision is made with the specific nonprofit in mind.
For smaller sites, Mark prefers themes listed in the WordPress.org theme repository. He knows they have been reviewed and work well.
An argument for using WordPress.com
However, if all you need is a small website to start and don’t have much of a budget, it could work very well.
If your organization grows and you need a self-hosted website, then you can pay a small fee for a guided transfer so that you can go from WordPress.com to a self-hosted WordPress.org site.
Top plugins recommended
- The Events Calendar – there’s a free version, and nonprofits can apply for an upgrade license to the pro version
- Feature a Page Widget
Software integrations with WordPress
Gravity Forms has great integration with both PayPal and MailChimp.
Contact info and a parting piece of guidance
Get all your logins and passwords in one place so that you can easily fix things when they break.