Recently I volunteered to rebuild a website for a local organization, the DC Childcare Collective. They are a grassroots organization that provides free childcare to social justice organizations in the DC metro area. It’s awesome work that enables caregivers to participate in activism, so I was thrilled to partner with them.
The problem? Their website needed help!
The collective structure has a number of benefits, but the lack of hierarchy and oversight was clearly reflected in their website. It was a WordPress blog full of sprawling, outdated information, without clear CTAs.
Collective members even admitted that before they joined, they had assumed the organization was defunct just from looking at the site. Yikes!
I knew I could offer them a significant improvement with just a few hours of work, a drag-and-drop site template, and some basic IA and content improvements. Even my #NotADesigner self was ready for the challenge.
The DCCC’s Goals
DCCC is in a somewhat unique position. As an extremely low-overhead collective that serves nonprofits, they prefer that cash donations go to their partner organizations. Generally, collective members are able to provide the supplies that they need for childcare, so donations are de-prioritized.
Their primary aims are instead:
1) To educate people about the DCCC’s work.
2) To gain new members of the collective.
3) To support their partner organizations.
I kept these goals in mind as I trimmed down and restructured the content.
Improving the Nav
The original navigation structure wasn’t terrible, but it needed to be edited and made clearer.
Home | About Us | Resources | Get Involved | Who We Work With | Donate!
Specifically, the Resources tab needed to go away. It contained links to organizations that are tangentially related to DCCC’s work, but ultimately didn’t serve any of the 3 primary goals.
The new navigation is shorter and easier to understand.
I purposely prioritized education over action (About and Our Partners are both informational pages that clearly express the group’s politics). This is because anyone who joins the collective should have a strong understanding of the mission and philosophy before deciding to apply.
A Simpler Homepage
The new homepage is extremely straightforward — it’s essentially a landing page that succinctly states the group’s purpose and invites you to learn more about the collective. Now nobody who lands on the site will get lost in an intimidating wall of text.
Clearer IA for the About Page
The original About Us page was never going to get read. It was too long, it repeated information from the homepage, and do you see the CTA at the bottom instructing the user where to go to join? No?
I did a heavy edit on the content of this page and condensed it into categories to make the page easily navigable and digestible. The two CTAs drive traffic to the Join page, so if you love our mission you’ll know the next step is to find out how to get involved in a tangible way.
Making Join Easy as Pie
The old Get Involved page also needed a revamp. While the page includes all the information you might need when you’re considering joining the collective, it wasn’t easily skimmable.
Not only is the application is buried in hyperlinked text, it’s not clear why the option to submit via email is an option at all. In the interest of creating less administrative work for the collective (always a good thing!) I decided to only drive traffic to the online survey.
The revamped site prioritizes outlining the rigorous application process and also expectations for volunteers. By clearly defining this information we can encourage self-selection and perhaps reduce dropoff during the interview process.
If someone reads these requirements and decides that volunteering isn’t for them, we offer them the secondary Donate CTA in case they feel compelled to give instead.
The site is still a work in progress — we’re working on refining the partners page and we’re missing a couple of links, but what we’ve got is already worlds away from the original. No need to be “Just another WordPress weblog” anymore!
The site just launched recently, so no word yet on the results of these improvements. I’ll update this post when I hear more. If your site is looking for a similar treatment, go ahead and contact me!