June 1, 2002 Clint Carpenter
Homepage Hits Per Month: 5 million
Annual Budget: $113,000
In-House or Outsourced: In-house design work, HTML development and programming with outsourcing of hosting, some design, content management system.
2001 Dollars Raised: $1 million
Unique Feature(s): Virtual field trips feature Internet-exclusive journeys through regions CARE services. Includes journal entries, chat rooms, postcards and screensavers.
CARE’s Web site went from 1,500 pages of static HTML to an interactive, information superhighway, with the goal of growing constituency and providing easily accessed information, while raising money for various causes in the process.
Now the Atlanta-based relief group has the ability for users to email printer-friendly articles to friends. And, users have the opportunity to sign up for email information that they’re interested in.
CARE’s virtual field trips are just a click away and transport users to far away locale such as Peru, Guatemala, Ecuador, Madagascar, and the Niger River. Through detailed stories and stunning photos, users become even more informed of what CARE does, and therefore CARE generates more awareness and donations in the process.
Another feature of the site displays 10, 20, 30 and 60-second Apple Quick Time video public service announcements. This brings full circle what CARE represents and features the people they serve around the globe.
There are related links on the site. CARE Internet Strategist Toby Smith said some minor kinks are still being worked out since the organization re-branded and decided to become an in-house shop a year ago.
In addition, published content is much faster and site changes are made at light speed, compared to the previous static HTML.
“Our overarching goal, really in the end, is to provide an interaction tool and sort of constituency-building,” explained Smith. “It’s going to be a fundraising, constituency-building and awareness engine for CARE.”
According to Smith, CARE uses a combination of in-house design work, HTML development, and programming for the site. The organization outsources hosting, some design, and purchased a vendor application for a content management system, which the two-member staff implements.
“We run it in-house so it’s sort of a combination. It’s a third party product, it’s not an ASP solution,” explained Smith. “It’s third party product that we purchased — a piece of software.”
Smith said that CARE has some overlapping strategies for its Web site. One of those strategies is trying to make the site more global and centralized. The current setup has 11 CARE entities operating with different hosting and design agencies. Some have Webmasters and others don’t.
“Globally, it’s a huge waste of resources, time, energy, money and effort,” noted Smith. “CARE USA has the most money, time, energy, resources, influence, everything, right? So we are trying to lead the way of building a system of Internet information architecture. And, I don’t mean what you see on the Web page. I mean behind the scenes, back-end architecture that is global in nature so that all (are integrated into one).”
By making the site more interactive over time, providing tools and sought after information, CARE donors and first time Web site users can interact with the organization easily and the organization can extract the most out of its donors and constituents.
“We hope to move donors and constituents along sort of the path of building awareness at first and becoming more interested and then possibly either being a constituent or a donor,” said Smith. “And it’s really not the same thing. … Donors can give money but constituents give advocacy help or give volunteer help, or time or something else to part of the community of CARE.”