AFP Golden Horseshoe: Building Online Resources
By John Lepp
As an AFP chapter, we have a responsibility to be the primary resource and professional lighthouse to our members and our philanthropic community. With that in mind, our chapter set out to rebuild our online home.
In the past few years, AFP Golden Horseshoe Chapter has focused completely on the needs of our members. This includes the way we talk, the events we host, the places we interact with them, the questions we ask them and the way we respond to their concerns.
We have become completely collaborative as a board (especially amongst the communications, education and membership portfolios), realizing that we will become stronger through the sharing of resources and knowledge and by building teams of passionate volunteers who are empowered to contribute and execute.
We also knew that the time had come to pull all of it together in one place: our chapter website.
Last year, we asked our members what they love about being a member of our chapter, what they hate about it and what would be the one area they would most improve. Across the board, our members requested one thing: more opportunities and ways to connect with one another.
Our chapter is made up of mostly of small-shop charities with passionate folks who keep their heads down trying to solve the constant issues and problems that land on their desks. Knowing that they have friends and peers around them that they can call on or share successes and failures with is tremendously important.
Our chapter also covers a lot of geographical ground: from Niagara Falls, through the vineyards around southern Lake Ontario, to the north shores of Lake Erie, Hamilton, Burlington, Waterloo, Guelph and Oakville. So, building a website that was member- focused and retained a sense of community was tremendously important.
Our site now includes a member directory where members can log in, update their personal contact and social media details, add photos of themselves and include a bit about their philosophy or beliefs. We also designed a visual job board that makes it easy to see what new opportunities may be around the corner.
In-depth information about memberships, easy-to-access information on chapter bursaries, blog posts about our amazing volunteers, news from around our chapter with a focus on successful events or campaigns and engaging visuals of members from our various events all add to the human and social-collaboration of our chapter.
We also chose to keep our language warm and engaging while making it easy to connect with someone from anywhere on the site.
The long-term goal is better integration with IHQ and the membership database so that a member of our chapter can renew, join or update any of their information at any time without ever having to leave our home site.
In the 20 days since we’ve launched, we’ve had more repeat traffic to the website than our old site did in the last two years. Creating an online resource that gives members a reason to return and interact with was definitely our goal. We are proud to deliver a website that our members and community deserve.
John Lepp is a donor champion and partner at agents of good. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org