Responding to member requests for a more user-intuitive website, the Council for Health and Human Service Ministries has listened and responded: a new CHHSM website launched over the Easter weekend, replacing a dated version that had not seen a substantial facelift in nearly six years.
“We listened to what our members wanted and responded,” said Michael J. Readinger, CHHSM president and CEO. “We are already receiving nice reviews from our board members and others across the United Church of Christ.”
The nature and use of websites have changed over the years, said the Rev. J. Bennett Guess, vice president, who oversees CHHSM’s communication and marketing.
“People receive ever-changing content via social media now, but expect websites to be repositories for more in-depth information about an organization’s mission and key programs,” Guess said. “Our old website was designed well for another time when news stories continually changed the content of the homepage. But, now, that kind of website only serves to frustrate people because website visitors surf in looking for something specific they can’t locate on our Facebook or Twitter pages.”
The new homepage features a more prominent “search” feature at the top of the page, as well as featured content for some of CHHSM’s most popular programs: the Nollau Leadership Institute, Passport to Travel, Annual Meeting, and CHHSM’s Consultants Network.
The new website was built from the ground up with smart phones and tablets in mind, says Tyler Hoffman, CHHSM’s technology solutions consultant, who designed and engineered the site.
“CHHSM and its member ministries share and work towards a bold vision for the world,” Hoffman said. “I wanted to create a website that captured this effort and effectively conveyed it to diverse audiences.”
Hoffman emphasizes that websites no longer need to be viewed as the complicated budget-busting behemoth they once were.
“From web development to business applications, today’s technologies are increasingly accessible to nonprofit organizations,” Hoffman said. “Costs are declining, tools are becoming easier to use, and organizations are more empowered than ever to tell their own unique story.”
For CHHSM, the groundwork is now in place for future “Find a Provider” enhancements, Hoffman said. More robust analytics also will make it easier to understand how members are using the site.
Hoffman, a member of CHHSM’s Consultants Network, recently completed another website overhaul for CHHSM-member Crossroad Child & Family Services, based in Fort Wayne, Ind.