- Oct 09, 2013
AMECO member Exploited Children’s Help Organization (ECHO) has undergone a lot of changes over the last two years. Most recently, they launched a new website which offers easier navigation and much more content than the old site. Executive Director Kendell Nash was kind enough to answer a few questions for other organizations planning a similar change.
AMECO: Did ECHO have help creating the new site or was it done internally?
Kendell Nash: We definitely had help. We have the equivalent of 2.75 full time employees and none of us have the skills to do anything like this. We knew what we wanted the end result to look like and what we wanted it to accomplish (e.g. online requests for programming, online volunteer applications, etc.), and we sort of worked backwards with some creative guidance from the designer.
A: Who helped you and how did you find them?
KN: We are fortunate to have a PR professional sit on our board who was having a conversation with a former co-worker who happens to be a web designer. The web designer was interested in giving to his community but didn’t want a long-term commitment. He was looking for a project that had a beginning and an end. Our board member jumped on the chance to get him to volunteer for ECHO.
A: How long did the process take?
KN: We’ve been working on it for about 7 months. There are still some kinks to work out. We have to be trained on how to create and manipulate content. If we were able to pay a designer, it would have been a much faster albeit much more expensive project. We were super fortunate to have a volunteer and one who is flexible and dedicated to a good end product. We just had to be patient with some delays due to his personal schedule, but I’m not complaining. It’s a beautiful site!
A: What was most important to you as you planned the new website?
KN: We definitely wanted something that was interactive, user friendly, and a one stop shop. You can come to our site and request programming, make a donation, sign up to volunteer, and learn how to recognize and report abuse. It was also important for us to have something that was colorful and positive…something that reflects hope.
A: Do you have any advice for other AMECO members or partners planning on updating their websites?
KN: Make a timeline….and two alternative timelines….and be sure to create a site that is user friendly on the back end so employees can easily update content. Our old website required us to send all changes to a volunteer web designer and wait for them to update. That was super frustrating! Now we can update as needed. Take the time to plan and have lots of pictures!
NOTE: ECHO’s experience not only illustrates the importance of creating a website that can be easily edited by staff but also the importance of building a Board with helpful connections. Thanks to a Board member’s associate, ECHO now has an informative, beneficial website that they are able to update in a timely manner. Please visit http://echo-ky.org and take a look around. Congratulations, ECHO!