Technology

A Review of Great WordPress Plugins for Nonprofits

wp plugins

Using a WordPress platform for your nonprofit’s website often makes for a more user-friendly experience for all of us non-techie website administrators out there (to read about the benefits of WordPress check out WordPress Infographic). WordPress plugins for nonprofits can help in several website functionalities such as gathering information about website users, boosting SEO, and linking to other social sites. However all these options (plus the numerous ways to use each) can result in WordPress feeling quite overwhelming.

So how do you know which WordPress Plugins will help your site’s functionality and which once could hinder it?

Thankfully, the website developers at ArcStone can help. They’ve reviewed three WordPress plugins that are frequently used by ArcStone. Read on to learn the basics of Gravity Forms, Yoast SEO and Simple Share Buttons Plus, and discover how you can optimize each for your nonprofit.

P.S. We recently partnered with Idealware to publish “The Landscape of WordPress for Nonprofits: A Report on the Current Marketplace for Plugins” – download it now!

gravity forms

gravity-forms-wordpress-plugins-for-nonprofits

You may be aware that forms (in the form of an email subscription, quiz or survey) can be a great way to both gather information about your web visitors and to interact with them online. Gravity Forms is a WordPress plugin that helps you build out and manage such forms. You can…

1. Customize the title and description people see on the form, the information you want to gather from each visitor, and the message they receive after they’ve filled out the form. The information you can gather includes visitor attributes like their name, address, email address, website URL, pricing information, and file uploads.

How can your nonprofit use this information? Overall, forms help you get to know your nonprofit’s new potential supporters. This may help in determining whether someone is interested in donating, volunteering, or receiving your nonprofit’s services. It can also help you gather emails and addresses to send out information promoting your next fundraiser or big event. With the visitors’ permission, you could even add them to your nonprofit’s newsletter contact list, in hopes that as they get to know you, they would go from stranger to a friend of your nonprofit.

2. Connect to your email and Mailchimp account to more easily manage any marketing campaigns you run. You simply link a MailChimp list to your Gravity form and any new contacts will automatically be added to your MailChimp list. Another benefit of connecting your email is so you can receive email alerts once the forms are filled out and then quickly reach out to new visitors.

3. Get specific with each marketing campaign by limiting the form’s use according to a designated time range. In this way, you can collect emails during a certain donation period. You can also limit the amount of people that can fill out the form, just in case you have enough contacts already, such as with an event that can only take a certain amount of guests.

Cost? $39/year for use on a single site (no access to add-ons) or $99/year to use on three sites (includes access to add-ons).

Yoast SEO

We run into many nonprofits who understand the necessity of quality SEO, but do not have the time or budget to closely monitor it. If you fall in this category or you simply want to make SEO easier, Yoast SEO may be your favorite new plugin.

yoast-seo-wordpress-plugins-for-nonprofits

1. Craft your blog posts around SEO by using the Yoast meta box. This allows you to enter the keyword phrase you are writing your posts or other content about. Then it helps you to craft your page title, descriptions, alt. tags and the like in order to fully optimize your rankings.

2. Get a visual of the search results page by using the preview section as seen in the image above. The “snippet preview” helps you see what gets bolded in your title and meta description text on the search results page when your blog matches a searcher’s query.

3. Easily access other technical features behind SEO as it automatically keeps XML sitemap up to date and allows you to edit robots.txt and .htaccess files.

Cost? Free. Unless you want to get extra tricky with the paid version – ArcStone hasn’t found the need to.

Simple Share Buttons Plus

It can be challenging to get people on your nonprofit’s site in the first place so once they are there, you want to make it easy for them to share your content. To add these icons, we’d recommend Simple Share Buttons Plus.

simple-share-buttons-wordpress-plugins-for-nonprofits

1. Create social sharing buttons that allow visitors to share your content on their social media pages. This is especially useful for nonprofits who have blog posts regarding recaps of fundraisers and events or that show the successes of donations; people typically like to promote the blog posts to show how they contributed to a good cause.

2. Design these icons around the existing style attributes on your site so that the icons appear more natural next to everything else.

3. Monitor the number of times your blogs are shared to study how much your website visitors like your site’s content. This can also help you to understand your visitors’ social media preferences – for example, you can see if they use Facebook vs. Twitter more for sharing and then determine which channel might be most useful for you to focus your social media efforts on.

Cost? $10 / year for use on one site. License keys need to be renewed after a year but you get 25% off the second time around.

If you need help designing a WordPress site, setting up your plugins, or even just choosing the right options for your nonprofit, reach out to ArcStone and we will connect you with our developers and designers.