Raul is only 12, but his nickname is “Old Man.” The nickname was given to him by the therapists at CMMB’s Rehabilitation with Hope program in Trujillo, Peru. Raul laughs every time he hears it. When the therapy team first met Raul, he was curled into a ball. He couldn’t hold or grab anything, or speak.
With commitment and persistence, Raul can now sit up, open his fists and say a few words. Now his rehabilitation team is working on getting him standing. Raul’s story is just one of CMMB’s many stories of impact – but until recently, they didn’t have the tools to share their best stories. This year, Briteweb has been working with them to change that.
Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) delivers locally sustainable, quality health solutions to women, children, and their communities around the world. In 2015, they engaged Briteweb to create a new website that reflected some significant organizational changes: for one, they had recently rebranded and needed a new site to reflect their new look and feel. And they were undergoing a big shift in their fundraising strategy, launching a new monthly giving initiative called Angel Investors. Their existing website didn’t have the technical tools to support that shift.
CMMB’s site was under-serving them in a number of other ways. First, it didn’t do a good job of illustrating what CMMB does – or highlighting their impressive international impact. With field offices in Haiti, Kenya, Peru, South Sudan and Zambia, their reach is significant, extending to some of the most remote and underserved corners of the world. But their existing site didn’t tell that story – or the stories of the incredible on-the-ground work the people in those offices were doing. CMMB wanted to share those stories but had nowhere to do so effectively. Their content management system didn’t enable storytelling, so CMMB often had to create clumsy workarounds like referring traffic out to Tumblr. With no templates in place, content creation was so cumbersome that they had essentially given up on it, leaving their best stories untold.
Their site also lacked easy-to-implement templates for administering their programs, like Gifts for Change, so each gift had to be manually added to their online catalogue. In emergency aid situations – for instance, when a natural disaster necessitated the prompt creation of a new fundraising campaign page – those pages had to be created manually. CMMB’s lack of web content templates meant there was no consistency of experience across the various pages on their site.
CMMB came to us with big dreams – and a need for digital tools to support those dreams. At the heart of their vision for the new site was a desire to tell great stories. There’s nothing Briteweb loves more than helping impact-makers become better storytellers.
Briteweb has a tried-and-true digital process that has been relentlessly refined over the years. Because no two organizations or two projects are the same, we designed our process to be flexible; to be a road map – a recommended route to get to our clients’ desired end result, but never the only way to get there. In fact, it’s a rare thing for us to follow our process exactly, without adaptations or deviations. But our collaboration with CMMB is an example of a website project for which our process didn’t require many significant deviations.
The first phase of our digital process is always Discovery. During this phase, we find out everything we need to know about an organization, its vision and goals, its audiences and stakeholders.
This phase enables our team to come up with an effective digital and content strategy, ensuring that the new digital tools communicate with the right audiences in the right way, and ultimately support the vision and goals of the organization.
For CMMB, discovery included strategic planning and discovery sessions, an extensive audit of CMMB’s existing content, stakeholder interviews, surveys, and peer analysis.
Because we recognized the importance of highlighting the country offices – and creating a site that served those offices’ needs – staff from all over the world needed to be consulted, and their input incorporated into our strategy. This was particularly important because CMMB’s existing site had been a source of frustration for the organization’s Country Directors, who felt that their on-the-ground work wasn’t recognized or acknowledged. The site also didn’t function as a tool for in-country fundraising; there was no appropriate site to which Country Directors could direct prospective donors.
After Discovery, we move on to Phase Two: Content Strategy and Art Direction – two concurrent processes by which we determine what content will appear on the new site, how users will navigate that content (its user experience and information architecture) and how it will look.
Once CMMB’s content strategy, user experience and art direction were approved, our design team began designing the site’s front and back ends, including templates to simplify and support the creation of consistent, cohesive content for each of their programs, for fundraising campaigns, and for everyday storytelling.
Content Creation (Phase Four) occurs in tandem with Phases Three (Design) and Five (Development). For CMMB, the Content Creation process was elaborate, since their previous site was missing a significant amount of content that was needed to inform stakeholders of their programs as well as their impact and reach. After developing CMMB’s content strategy, which relied heavily on storytelling, Briteweb oversaw CMMB’s internal copywriting team as they produced the content the organization needed to be recognized as the international impact heavyweight that they are.
Our content strategy for CMMB also included video storytelling. Briteweb arranged for CMMB to collaborate with our production crew in Africa, and provided guidance as to what kind of stories they should tell, and how.
Approaching the end of the process, Phases Four and Five converge, and the nearly-ready site is populated with the new content. At that point, our client gets to preview the site before final refinements are made. In this case, the timing worked out brilliantly, and we were able to preview the new site in New York with the Country Directors from each of CMMB’s international offices.
We couldn’t have hoped for a better response from the visiting Country Directors, who were so excited about the new site that they broke into applause. Our Director of Strategy even got a grateful hug from Muthoni Ruth Kariuki, the Country Director from Kenya.
The new site’s features – including microsites for each country office and templates that made content creation simple and painless – marked a big shift for them. They’re able to do their jobs better, including telling their remarkable stories more easily and effectively. And their ability to fundraise was drastically improved. How drastically? After launching the new site, CMMB saw a 30% year-over-year increase in online donations. If that’s not worthy of a hug, we don’t know what is.
The new site looks really beautiful, and it’s perfectly aligned with our new brand and visual identity. It communicates our mission very clearly and allows us to visually tell the story of our work and the people we serve. In terms of performance, we’ve seen an exponential increase in web traffic and double-digit online revenue growth after only a few months.
– Lara Villar, SVP Strategy, Marketing and Communications