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Does Title III of the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 Apply to our Nonprofit Organization’s Website?

If you are like most of the businesses and nonprofit organizations we consult with, you’ve probably heard about the lawsuits that are happening related to digital accessibility. There has been a staggering increase in the amount of lawsuits being filed (over 2500 in 2018!), which has caused a rise in accessibility education & implementation of accessibility fixes for digital properties. Many folks think that nonprofit organizations are exempt from these laws. This couldn’t be further from the truth!

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that most 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, just like private businesses, provide equal access to services, which includes digital content and functionalities. Nonprofits who receive federal financial funding (such as grants or loans) are also subject to sections 504 and/or 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, which closely aligns with the ADA. In order to meet these legal requirements, nonprofits need to ensure that their websites and digital assets meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 (soon to be updated to 2.1) AA standards. 

Now you’re probably wondering how to tell if your site is accessible to users with disabilities or not. There are a number of free and paid tools that you can use to help with this task (such as the WAVE scanner), but no technology can automatically detect all accessibility issues. This is where Accessible Web can help – we assist our clients with auditing and testing of websites by utilizing actual users browsing the web with real assistive technologies. This is the only legally acceptable way to find the issues that cause users frustration with browsing websites, and then confirm that the issue was fixed after remediation code is deployed. 

Since websites are constantly changing with new content being added, new features being added, etc, monitoring and maintaining is another part of the digital accessibility puzzle. Accessible Web can help to monitor your site for changes that cause new accessibility issues. When a new issue is identified, we either fix it for you or you can use our knowledge base to gain an understanding of the issue and how to remediate it. Contact us today for help with your web and digital accessibility needs.