Old World Meets New World
This Non-Profit Educational program found themselves in a vicious cycle: a decades old website that piece by piece had stopped working, a rotating volunteer staff and rapidly decreasing customer base. They knew they needed to reach a wider audience, communicate better with their members but the use of technology was seen as contrary to their mission and value system. They couldn’t figure out a middle ground that would respect their slow, traditional values emphasizing humanity with the fast-paced, intrusive world of technology.
Start at the Beginning
The Discovery session was extensive, including several in person conversations, observing the group lifestyle, speaking with several younger members regarding ways they managed to bridge the gap between tradition and modernity. Out dated processes, unnecessary redundant manual tasks left them with little time to plan for the future legacy. Instead requiring all resources to put out daily emergencies. Further in-depth questions revealed that they hadn’t fully realized how much they had grown as an organization and needed to change its communication to better serve it’s growing community of younger generation.
Being a low-tech environment, an all-in-one platform was the best solution keeping the website set up and security hands off, only to focus on the content. This allowed the bulk of the communication to stay in methods that were more comfortable: email, letters and in person. Once they confirmed the direction they were aiming to grow and develop their program, I selected a template that was best suited to these needs. A flexible template for future growth but that reflected their warm open and rustic aesthetic. We stayed with hand sketched designs and edits until the final round to stay focused on the creative tasks and not distracted by the unfamiliar technology.
Technology Saves The Day (or at least Daily Tasks)
By installing data collecting application forms, automated mailing lists, online payment options and drag/drop templates of recurring events that are easily duplicated and posted, the staff manual workload decreased by 75%. This huge relief from redundant tasks inspired a creative flood of energy and time to devote to future planning of the organization. Even more significant, programming registrations doubled and much needed revenue began to flow in. Website maintenance is now a minor concern as most volunteers are familiar with the platform, helping edit and add content to the website without training.
Two years later, the Studio’s growth is slow but steady. Their relationship with technology is still minimal but selective, realizing how learning to leverage the right tools, they are freed to pursue greater work within their passion.