Pricing Church site design = Charity pricing? (opinions needed)

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by ac6789, Feb 27, 2008.

  1. macrumors member

    Jun 28, 2007
    Question for designers:

    I got referred to design a church website but I'm not quite sure what I should charge them.

    I have no affiliation, loyalty (whatever) to any religion/church so therefore, my first reaction is to charge them like any other client. A brochure site (for me) starts at $1200.00

    However, in the back of my mind I'm thinking that the Pastor is looking for "charity" pricing. I'm not sure how churches make money but from my past experience in dealing with other religious organizations, they're probably expecting a steep discount (or doing this nearly for free, which I cannot do).

    Any thoughts or opinions would be appreciated.

  2. macrumors 68000


    Jan 3, 2008
    Liverpool, UK
    I think your best bet would be to ask the Pastor what he's expecting to pay. I built the website for my church and didn't charge them at all (apart from the hosting fees) but then again, it's the church I am heavily involved in on a weekly basis.
  3. macrumors 65816

    May 16, 2007
    That's a tough call. I know you are in business for money, and you certainly cannot do your work for free. The pastors of most churches don't work for free either. I think you should offer a discount, but I don't feel it should be substantial. Again, this is just my opinion on the matter.
  4. macrumors G4

    Mar 4, 2006
    Pardon me for butting in Although I'm not a designer, I am a freelancer.

    I would charge the full amount in your position. If you attended the Church it would be different, but as you have no previous relationship with them treat them as an ordinary client.
  5. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2006
    Honolulu, HI
    Churches get huge tax breaks. Charge them as with any other client.
  6. macrumors 68040


    Nov 17, 2007
    das Fort
    Go to the church and look around. If it's a little operation, you could consider giving them a discount. If it's one of those huge places with flat screens and such, charge them the normal amount. Churches get tax breaks out the wazoo, so factor that into your decision.

    Also to keep consider: would you give a price break to a different type of non-profit?
  7. macrumors 68020


    Sep 3, 2004
    London, UK
    I agree with what others have said. Unless you have a practical reason to charge them less, quote the project like any other. If they can't pay that much they will probably tell you.
  8. thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 28, 2007
    Thanks for your opinions these help a lot.

    @Ignatius: Can't really visit them since they're 10 hours away. I would have loved to visit them as part of my research.

    In regards to other non-profits, I do give discounts but, and I don't mean to offend anyone, I don't believe in orgainsed religion - which is why my gut instinct was to charge them full rate. I will give discounts, but only to orgainsations that I believe in (for lack of a better word). A practice, which I'm sure other designers, do as well.

    Only in very specific circumstances will I turn away work due to conflict of interest or moral reason, but for the most part I try not to turn away projects since, to me, they're a source of income - nothing more, nothing less (it's more objective this way) which is the approach I'm taking with this project.

    @ dynamicv: You're welcome to voice your opinion :) I'm a freelancer as well so it's all good. I agree that it would be a much easier decision if I was a part of their congregation.
  9. macrumors regular

    Jan 25, 2008
    One more point to consider if you decide to give them a discount.
    Bill for the whole amount and then apply the discount. This is so that they know the value of what you did and not devaluate it.
    It also helps others in the industry to keep prices consistent.
    Plus your discount will be a charitable donation and will be tax deductible (if you are in the us. I don't know about other countries)
  10. macrumors 65816


    Feb 4, 2006
    Price it like everything else. However, if you would give a discount to non-profit organizations, consider doing the same for the church. That is if you think it's a good church.

    WildPalms: Not all of them do. In fact, almost none.
  11. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2006
    Charge your "premium" pricing but "donate" it then write it off.

    Everybody is happy.

  12. macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    As a church goer (and on the board of directors of a non profit), I am nodding with all of you in the above posts.

    There are definitely many different sizes of churches, from your 10-member country chapel to a megachurch with tens of thousands of members. The former might be looking for handouts while the latter probably has annual budgets that rival small cities.

    Since you're not affiliated with the church I wouldn't feel any pressure about offering them discounts -- when I get quotes for installing new blinds at my church, or when I buy sound equipment for the A/V room, I don't expect a discount. So bill them your normal rate.

    If the pastor asks about discounts, or if you feel particularly charitable, then that's certainly your call, but do as the others have said and invoice them the full amount minus whatever discount you decide to give them, and ask them for a charitable donations receipt. This will give you the benefit of a tax deduction and at the same time provide them with the accounting numbers that accurately reflect the real costs. If they are any good with their financial accounting, they will actually appreciate this.
  13. macrumors regular

    Mar 16, 2007
    I agree, I only charge a lesser rate to the church I attend. All other churches are should be charged like regular clients.
  14. macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2007
    we do work for a couple of charities and we have no guilt about charging them the full price.

    Charities get huge tax advantages like someone has already said, and they have budgets set aside for marketing in the same way they have a budget set aside for their main charity work.

    You have to put food on the table like anyone else - charge the full price. Perhaps you could offer something else at a reduced price (a set of flyers for 20% off say) - but keep the main commission at the usual price.
  15. macrumors 65816


    Aug 16, 2004
    Charity pricing, what's that. Can I pay bills with charity pricing? :eek:
  16. macrumors 6502


    Sep 25, 2007
    Indiana, USA
    I'm heavily evolved in my church. We aren't very big, about 300 in the main service on average. We don't expect or receive very many discounts. A church is basically a business, it just runs off of the congregation.
  17. macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2007
    churches are huge businesses - they turnover more than many other small and even medium businesses. Don't be fooled into thinking that because they are listed as a charity, they have no money!
  18. macrumors 65816


    Feb 4, 2006
    No, it's the other way around. Huge churches are businesses. My church is medium sized, and for all the decades it has existed, it's allways been just on the verge of bankruptcy.
  19. macrumors 68000


    Jan 3, 2008
    Liverpool, UK
    I totally agree! I really don't like peoples ignorancy when they say "churches are big businesses".

    Of course, there are churches that have thousands of members and full time staff that are all well paid, but my church has approximately 60 adult members (plus uni students and teens), we get approximately £60,000 per year and running the church for a year on that money is very difficult (we have to hire a venue because we can't afford to buy one), but I agree, we do set aside a budget for publicity but it doesn't cover anywhere near what a fully professionally designed website would cost.

    I'd just ask that you don't be too quick to generalise churches. Some actually need the tax breaks to keep going.
  20. macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    No, of course not. There are all kinds of churches, some struggle to make ends meet and some have tons of money in the bank. Do we know what kind of church the OP is dealing with? Not really, but we can guess that if they approached him "out of the blue" (as he states he has no affiliation with them) then they presumably have some kind of budget set aside.

    If I was in charge of getting a website for a church or other non-profit organization, and we were really strapped for cash, I wouldn't be hiring a web design guy... I'd be learning PHP and doing it myself! (Oh wait... that's exactly what I've done ;) )
  21. thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 28, 2007
    Again, thanks for all the replies! They've been a real help.

    I have one more needs assessment phone meeting with the pastor to get the finalised details as he wasn't sure himself on some aspects, but I will for sure take what you've all said under consideration.

    @notjustjay: I'm not sure if the church as a marketing budget (again, something I will be asking) but it wasn't entirely out of the blue. They were referred to me by a printer I work with - what that means I don't know, since my printer knows I don't design things for "cheap". I'll take that as a soft positive that they do have a realistic view in terms of how much web design can cost.

    Thanks again everyone!
  22. macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2005
    Get a letter of credit from them as a non-profit. As a freelancer, the value of the work will reduce your taxable income for the year. if you're the patient type that is.

    If not just charge them full price and pay the taxes on it at the end of the year.

    Or if you're just starting out and not claiming your taxes properly then writing the work off won't save you anything so still charge full price.
  23. macrumors 68030

    Jun 20, 2005
    if not affiliation then treat them as a normal client.

    As someone mentioned, they get big tax breaks and religion is big money....they have enough. if you offer a discount, make it small.

    I personally wouldn't if I didn't go there.

    good luck,
  24. macrumors 65816


    Dec 7, 2001
    Charleston, SC
    I've done some work for non-profits before. I usually charge them either a quarter or half rate. However, I subtract the difference between the full and non-profit rate and treat that as an in-kind donation. And that usually makes Uncle Sam happy.
  25. macrumors 68020


    Jan 30, 2008
    Washington DC
    That's right on the money. You can write off any expenses during tax filing season. So, charge what you normally would. It does not effect the church at all.

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