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    Free websites for nonprofits -- 48 of them are coming

    Small nonprofits often can’t afford fancy websites; pricy technology just isn’t in their budgets.

    So the prospect of a free, sophisticated website is music to their ears — and it’s about to become a reality in Boston.

    The United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley is partnering with an organization called 48in48 to build 48 customized websites for 48 Boston-area nonprofits in 48 hours, courtesy of a group of volunteer developers and designers.


    “At the end of it, 48 nonprofits will get brand-new, souped-up websites,” says United Way vice president Karley Ausiello. They’ll be easy-to-use, easy-to-maintain, WordPress-based sites that work on mobile devices as well as desktops.

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    To be eligible, nonprofits must have an annual operating budget of $3 million or less. Applications are being accepted through March 31 at Winners will be announced in April, and the websites will be built the weekend of June 2-4.

    “It’s important for a nonprofit have a good digital presence, especially in Massachusetts and Boston, where we have a lot of nonprofits,” Ausiello says, “so something like this can be incredibly transforming for an organization.”

    In an added bonus, every nonprofit that applies will be offered free professional head shots of its employees — another luxury for smaller groups.

    Sacha Pfeiffer can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @SachaPfeiffer.