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From Pumpkin to Chariot: The Tale of a Nonprofit Website

Posted by Katja Shaye

Team Read’s website was old. Really old.

“Before giving people our web address, I used to tell them please, don’t judge the quality of our programs by the quality of our website,” explains Team Read’s Executive Director, Maureen Massey.

What was a solid website in 2008, looked woefully outdated by 2015 and it was getting in the way of Team Read’s fundraising and growth. Websites are an organization’s front door – and first impressions matter.

Team Read needed a site that matched its outstanding program, which employs teen tutors to help struggling 2nd and 3rd graders make significant reading gains. It was a big project for a small nonprofit with a limited budget, but Maureen knew it had to be done. So she joined forces with a cadre of committed and skilled SVP volunteers.

My name is Katja Shaye, and as Team Read’s Lead Partner, I helped Maureen manage their website project. With support from SVP staff, Maureen and I assembled a crackerjack team of Partners that included project manager Sandra Andrews, marketing executive Sarah Daniels and professional photographers Lisa Merrill and Lisa Bontje (you can see just a few of their photos in this post).

Bontje-TeamRead-519-0021

From the very start, SVP volunteers tapped into their networks and made magic happen for Team Read. I remember our first conference call with design firm, Ten Gun Design. Our project manager, Sandra, had introduced us to Ten Gun and they were outlining their ambitious plans for a new website.

We loved their ideas to totally overhaul our logo, look and feel, but we weren’t sure how to let them know that we didn’t have a radical redesign in the budget. Maureen finally interjected to say that Team Read really couldn’t afford all that.

There was a brief pause. “Oh, we’re planning to do all of this pro bono,” said the phenomenal folks at Ten Gun Design.

Maureen and I were practically rendered speechless and when we got off the phone, Maureen asked me to pinch her to make sure this was all happening! A project that would have cost tens of thousands of dollars was suddenly possible.

Of course, there was still much to do. Maureen and I got right to work writing content. Sarah helped us figure out how our site should look and function and kept us focused on our marketing goals. Lisa and Lisa took hundreds of beautiful photos of Team Read’s students and tutors to bring the program to life. Sandra kept us all on track, and Heather Ottmar and her team at Ten Gun Design tackled the redesign and web development.

Several months later, the Team Read website is the calling card that Maureen always dreamed about.

Team Read Website

Maureen and I have experienced this kind of generous support from SVP Partners and their allies time and again. From the financial wizard who became Team Read’s board treasurer to the angel investor who helped us reach out to major donors, SVP Partners have generously devoted time, creativity and even social capital to help kids become excellent readers so they can thrive in school and life. Kids like Myla, whose story we heard last year.

Maureen is fond of saying that the SVP relationship has been absolutely transformational for Team Read. But it’s important to note that NONE of this would be possible without Maureen. Her vision for Team Read’s growth is ambitious and clear, and every year she maps out her capacity building goals for the organization. She is gracious and kind, and inspires those around her to bring their best for Team Read’s students.

THANK YOU to Maureen and to all the SVP Partners who have worked side by side to make magic happen. You have transformed Team Read’s pumpkin of a website into a spiffy marketing and fundraising tool.

These days, Maureen gives out Team Read’s web address with pride, knowing that the website finally reflects the quality and power of their program.

Inspired to Volunteer YOUR Time and Skills?

Now that you’ve seen what a small group of SVP volunteers can accomplish, maybe you want to give it a try! Check out upcoming opportunities to use your unique skills and talents to strengthen local nonprofits or email Ben Mitchell to learn more.

 

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