Web design, hosting, internet services

Getting the right deal

Many companies do special deals for charities. Unfortunately, there is no standard way of charging or setting up a web facility at present. You need to get a number of companies to quote for the work you want doing. Get them to explain what updating will be done by whom, when, and at what cost, or negotiate this. A clearly out-of-date web site reduces credibility! What time scales are they working to in design, who will be hosting (where your web site data/pages are actually kept) and are they likely to provide a reliable service with enough capacity for the level of interest you hope to generate?

Above all, make sure you get a specification which takes into account your existing IT systems (if any) and every aspect you need to keep it going for at least a year. (For example, could be hidden costs of extra pages above your basic agreement, need for expensive links to ‘upload’ data.)

Use of accessibility criteria and W3 standards is of increasing importance for any organisation.  Open Source software (such as WordPress) is a serious option, reducing basic costs but still usually needing help to implement, tweak design and interface with other systems. Sites like OpenSourceCMS have fairly techie info on the options.

Service Providers

Do it yourself

Web platforms such as WordPress (open source) and Google’s Blogger can enable you to set up your own basic website without specialist input. For best results some techie knowledge still helps.

There are also ‘drag-and-drop’ facilities such as Wix and Weebo, although these have limitatons and may not be fully accessible to all users.

Voice is an “easy-to-use website builder available free of charge to all community, not-for-profit, and voluntary groups in the UK”.

Mainly technical – ISP, hosting, packages

ISP = Internet Service Provider

  • GreenNet provides web services to organisations involved in peace, economic and social justice, human rights, environmental sustainability issues. Broadband, email, web (Drupal) hosting etc. Phone 0845 055 4011 / 020 7065 0935.
  • The Information Works Associated with Co-op Systems, specialising in web databases, web site support and strategy. Unit 4.09 Bondway Business Centre, 71 Bondway, London, SW8 1SQ, phone 020 7793 0677.

Mainly design and development

Also see specialist software developers.

  • Catfish Web Design produces anything from small ‘start-up’ sites to more complex designs with databases, e-commerce and content management systems – conform to W3C web-accessibility guidelines. Can also help with logo design, image branding and internet based marketing. Clients include Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, Brain Research Trust, naz project london. Phone 01223 873349
  • Codeface, a small web solutions agency, has worked with a variety of voluntary organisations. Office 11, Curtis House, 34 Third Avenue,Hove, BN3 2PD.
  • Electric Putty Works predominantly with organisations in the non-profit sector and specialises in creating accessible information based websites using their own content management system.
  • Fat Beehive Done stuff for Action Research, Coin Street. Flexible pricing. Website, consultancy, design, backend, databases, browser testing, hosting, content management systems, e-commerce. 59 Rivington St, London, EC2A 3QQ, phone 020 7739 8704.
  • Frieze Web Design has a policy that “charities pay only what they can afford”. Plenty of experience working with non-profit organisations.
  • GreenNet Design specialise in ‘creating fine web sites for the NGO and non-profit community’. 74-77 White Lion Street, London, N1 9PF, phone 020 7713 1941.
  • Headscape Have worked with Back Care, Butterfly Conservation, CAFOD, Fire Fighters Charity, Aidsmap, National Trust, National Parks, and Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, and strong on usability and accessibility aspects of web design and development.
  • Hugh Barnard Web design and programming (using open source tools), consultancy and teaching at all levels. Voluntary sector references available. Based in Hackney, East London.
  • Jamkit From simple web sites to complex extranets and mailing lists, with a particular emphasis on usability, accessibility and client control. Customers include Moorfields Eye Hospital, Breast Cancer Care, London Housing Foundation. Phone 020 7549 0520.
  • Jim Byrne Accessible web design, audits and training.
  • spotts Website Development for the Voluntary Sector by a freelance developer.
  • Suspire Media A number of charity clients. Phone 020 8521 8505.
  • Un.titled (was tincan) Their portfolio shows that they have produced a number of content management system based web sites for major charities and arts organisations.
  • Torchbox RationalMedia content management system, web-based software such as management information systems and reporting applications, online community building, consultancy, training, managed hosting and support services. Charities and public sector are core areas.

Technology Services

Also see Technology: software.

Computer hardware, maintenance and support

  • See Extra: Environmental Impact for information on computer recycling services. Some of these provide cheap computers to community groups and other charities. See Suppliers – Computers for ‘hardware only’ deals.
  • Charity IT Association (CITA) provides charities with a free 2 hour consultation with a strategic IT volunteer “optimised for organisations turning over between £50K and £5M”.  For charities registered with the Charity Commission (England and Wales) or the Scottish Charity Regulator currently (summer 2016).
  • IT4Communities is now part of CITA (summer 2016).
  • A-POJ Ltd A Reading-based ICT consultancy specialising in the charitable and education sectors. Services include network installation and management; database design, development and management; remote access solutions; systems analysis and planning; ICT support and troubleshooting. Phone 0118 901 7078, email: info@apoj.com
  • Avec Solutions redistributes profits to charitable bodies working for the benefit of the community. Bloomfield House, 395-405 Newtownards Road, Belfast, BT4 1RH, phone 028 9045 9000, email: info@avecsolutions.com
  • The Blue Lizard provides IT support, disaster recovery, web design and hosting, plus support for V-Base, WWV, HAL and other specialist applications. Studio G6, building OB, East 10 Enterprise Park, Argall Way, London E10 7DQ, phone 020 3287 0792, email: info@thebluelizard.co.uk
  • Co-operative Systems Specialist provider to voluntary and educational sectors. Installation, maintenance and hotline support for PCs, networks, Microsoft specialists. 20 Miles Street, Vauxhall, London SW8 1SD, phone 020 7793 0395, email: team@coopsys.net
  • Comm-tech provides recycled computers, network support, consultancy etc. mainly for south/central London Groups.
  • Computercraft Supply, install and train on accounts systems and database development. Plus “First Point of Contact is a complete organisational database system.” Also networking, support and advice, and training. 100-106 Leonard Street, London, EC2A 4RH, phone 020 7739 5953, email: enquiry@computercraft.co.uk
  • Elbourn Computer Services IT installation and support to voluntary organisations in Surrey, also recondition PCs donated by businesses, open source advice.
  • ESP Projects is a Social Enterprise providing network installation and maintenance, PC repair and purchasing, web site development, email and internet systems, and a software team to design and construct bespoke VB, Java or ASP applications. Phone 0114 2787229, email: sales@espprojects.co.uk
  • Ethical IT – IT solutions for Charities, Social Enterprises, Voluntary & Campaign Groups, including cloud services. A partnership between JADe and the Ethical Property Company.
  • IT Croydon Information Technology consultancy and a range of computer services, 20-30% discount to voluntary sector organisations. Phone 020 8777 2921, email: info@ITCroydon.co.uk
  • JADe provides generic and specialised IT services to a variety of non-profits, such as Action Aid, Global Witness, Ramblers Association. Have also created a ‘contacts-centric’ database system for charities, C2.
  • Roger Jones/RJ Partners has worked in arts and voluntary sectors as an IT consultant and trainer for 7 years. Includes customising Access databases.
  • Seeds for Change Linux advice/consultancy – free for social and environmental campaigns groups.
  • Senior IT and security specialists, based in Nottingham.
  • Vermont Systems Based in Hampshire, computers, software installation and support, basic accounting packages. 10 per cent discount for charities.

Training and Consultancy

  • Happy Computers Charity discount, usually extended to all voluntary orgs – approx. 40% off. Programme of courses on popular software and systems, also do customised and onsite by arrangement. Online (web based) training available too. Happy Computers is the first training company to achieve the Gold Standard of the Institute of IT Training, meaning that 100% of trainers are accredited. Cityside House, 40 Adler Street, London, E1 1EE, phone 020 7375 7300, email: happy@happy.co.uk
  • Charity IT Association – see above for tech surgeries and consultancy.
  • Computercraft – see above.
  • IT 4 Communities now provides its consultancy as part of CITA.
  • Other possible sources of training at special rates for charities etc. are local further or higher education colleges.

IT and Fundraising

See also Fundraising Resources page. Membership software has its own page too, as does online income services and tools.

  • IT for Charities An IT consultancy for the sector run by Ivor Wainewright mainly focusing on marketing and fundraising. The website gives info. on software, organisations, CD databases etc.

Technology: Software

IT training is on the Technology Services page.

Digital Resources

There are/were various sector sites with some coverage of useful software/technology. Key ones include:

ICT Developments

This section, and connected IT pages, have largely been retired with the VolResource reboot, Dec 2013. We’ve left some links about Open Source, but these need an update too.

Open Source, use in the sector

Sourced from a discussion on UKRiders list, June ’06:

Creative Commons is wider than open source software, working to create new forms of open copyright.

Software Development Advice

Warning: free advice in this area can be very costly! Developing software from scratch, or even assessing and implementing existing packages, based on a volunteer’s personal approach, often with little or no documentation, can lead to short-term gains but medium to long term disasters.

Miscellaneous Specialist Software

For software written for specific types of organisations, check out the appropriate umbrella organisations listed on Professional bodies or Areas of Concern.

Charity tax reclaim software. Often part of membership software, but also see specific programs listed on our Tax Reclaim page.

Churches and hospices. See the IT for Charities website for software lists.

Community profiling/appraisals. See Community Resources page.

Contacts management As it is often connected, this is included under membership software.

For infrastructure or umbrella bodies, see Membership software. There are also a number of other databases written for Councils for Voluntary Service – the Merlin system was one, developed for Basingstoke Voluntary Action, but no longer any info on their website? See our Local contact page for your nearest CVS, which may know more.

Lobbying See Campaign Resources page for what is happening on email and other communication facilities.

Volunteer management software – see Volunteer page.

Data Management

Care, client, case, advice management

  • AIMS (Advice & Information Management System) is produced by LASA.
  • Caseworker Connect from Blue Door Software.
  • Social Care Network Solutions (was CHL Systems).”SCN provides the CHARMS system which is the most widely used by independent adoption, fostering and children’s residential providers. The Adults version is also widely use by adult care providers both statutory and independent across the UK. CHARMS manages all aspects of case management, securely and online.”
  • The open source CiviCRM has a case management option, as well as events, members, campaigns etc.
  • Gallery Partnership’s Apricot online data management system for charities – clients, services, performance.
  • careLINK from IT sorted: A database for organisations providing help and support for patients, and help and assistance to the elderly, disabled and disadvantaged.
  • Real Systems, a social enterprise connected with St Mungo’s Broadway, designs and manages client monitoring databases for voluntary and public sector organisations.

Contract and Grant Management

  • Benefactor from Gallery Partnership is designed for grant-making organisations.
  • Keen Systems has developed a system to manage institutional funding contracts.

Specialist Software Developers

  • Real Time Information Systems ‘is an Information Technology partnership specialising in designing and developing database applications, delivering in-house training and performing data analysis for the voluntary sector as well as manufacturing’. Email: mail@rtis.co.uk
  • The Information Works Associated with Co-op Systems, specialising in web databases and strategy. Unit 4.09 Bondway Business Centre, 71 Bondway, London, SW8 1SQ, phone 020 7793 0677, email: team@infoworks.co.uk
  • Keen Systems Bespoke solutions for the sector, including the “interactive template for Full Cost Recovery”.