Having Your Own Website is Better than Relying on Social Media

In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial for any business or organisation, including not-for-profit and community-based organisations. While social media and other third-party websites are free to use and offer convenience and reach, relying solely on them is not a good idea. It may even limit your ability to grow your organisational reach and impact. 

In this article, we explore the limitations of social media, the comparative advantage and benefits of having your own website and provide practical considerations for the building and running of your own website as a not-for-profit and rescue organisation.

Social Media’s Limitations and Disadvantages

Social media platforms have undoubtedly played a significant role in enabling and facilitating the work of rescue groups of all sizes to connect with others online, post information such as animals for adoption, build a following and seek donations online.  However, they come with their limitations and disadvantages.

Lack of customisation and algorithm-driven

One of the main limitations of social media platforms is the lack of customisation and control. While you can customise your profile and posts to a certain extent, the overall design and layout are pre-determined by the platform.

Moreover, which content gets promoted or viewed is also determined by algorithms, which prioritise user engagement and popularity at best, and at worst, have undue and unconscionable influence over its users. As such, not only has it become challenging to stand out and make a genuine and lasting impression, users are also being manipulated by the algorithms and subject to the whims and dictates of these platform owners.

Not everyone uses social media

Another important point is that not everyone is on social media. While these platforms have billions of active users worldwide, there are still many individuals who prefer not to use them or have limited access due to various reasons. If you are solely relying on social media platforms for outreach and communication, you may miss out on connecting with potential supporters who could contribute significantly towards achieving your organisational goals.

Privacy concerns

Privacy concerns also come into play when relying solely on social media platforms. These platforms collect vast amounts of user data for advertising revenue and other purposes that may not align with the privacy preferences of individuals or organisations.  By having your own website, hosted by a reliable independent provider, with a privacy policy/statement about how you collect user information, you have more control over data privacy while maintaining transparency with your audience. In the next section, we explore this and other advantages of having your own website. 

Advantages and benefits of your own website

Privacy and data control

One of the most significant advantages of having your own website is the level of privacy and control you gain over your data. Unlike social media platforms which harvest copious amounts of user data for advertising purposes, having your own website allows you to choose how you collect user data and be transparent about it with your audience.

Social media platforms are subject to constant algorithm changes, which may or may not be favourable for your content and objectives. With your own website, however, you have control and ownership of the content you publish. This means you can pretty much tailor it to present your organisational mission, values, success stories, and impact.


With your own website, it is possible to customise various design elements to suit your brand identity. This level of flexibility sets you apart from pre-set templates and limited customisation options on social media and third-party platforms. 

A centralised digital hub

Your organisation’s website can serve as a centralised hub for the key activities of running a successful rescue. You can profile the animals in care and available for adoption, streamline the adoption process, undertake online fundraising, accept donations, share information with supporters and adopters, and recruit foster carers and volunteers.

Practical Considerations for Building Your Website

Now that you’re aware of the advantages and benefits of having your own website, let’s walk through some practical considerations for building and running a website.

Choice of platform

The first step in building your website is choosing the right platform, i.e., the Content Management System (CMS).  Of the many CMS out there, WordPress is our choice of platform because it is open source, powers nearly half of the world’s websites, and offers heaps of customisation and flexibility. With the right web host/hosting plan and the right plugins, the cost of running a secure, attractive and well-oiled website on WordPress can be kept relatively low.

There is a learning curve, especially if you are new to blogging and the online publishing environment. But constant, life-long learning is a necessity in the digital era. We believe that a level of understanding about how WordPress works can unlock the power and possibilities of your website. This is certainly achievable with the right mindset and guidance. If there isn’t anyone in your group who is able or willing to learn the ropes with our guidance, then perhaps this isn’t going to be the right CMS for you. 

Maintaining and updating your website

A website is an ongoing project that requires regular maintenance and updates. Update your content regularly to keep it fresh and relevant. Respond to comments or inquiries promptly to engage with your audience. Regularly check for broken links or outdated information. By maintaining and updating your website, you can provide a positive user experience and keep visitors coming back.

In conclusion, while social media platforms offer undeniable benefits in terms of reach and convenience for rescue organisations of all sizes, having your own website provides distinct and important advantages. and benefits. It allows you and your organisation to build a strong online presence, showcase your work, educate your audience, attract donations, and engage with supporters and a wider audience that may not be active on social media. By owning and controlling the content you publish, you can establish credibility and maintain privacy in a way that aligns with the values of your organisation. 

Further information

Setting up and managing a website – a downloadable guide brought to you by Not-for-profit Law, a program of Justice Connect.

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