For over 20 years, CNHED has advanced community development solutions that address the inequity of under-resourced communities in the District of Columbia. CNHED’s members include nonprofit and for-profit affordable housing developers, housing counseling and service agencies, community economic development organizations, business development entities, lenders, intermediaries, and government agencies.
CNHED came to Sabra with an interesting challenge to solve: consolidate the entire decade-old web presence of CNHED and its programs into one, powerful, easy to manage website. Being a largely educational site, they didn’t want to lose their library of helpful content, but it was just too difficult to navigate. Their primary goal was to make it easy for their visitors to find content and take action.
It was also important to highlight the benefits of becoming a CNHED member and make it easy to join, manage membership, and pay. The old process made membership a hassle to sign up for, and CNHED felt they were losing otherwise interested people in the sign-up process.
In addition to their goals for the public-facing website, CNHED also needed a backend system that would make managing content streamlined and take less time, thus enabling their relatively small team to focus on their important mission.
We could feel that CNHED was apprehensive about just handing us the keys to change everything, so we focused initially on a kickoff meeting with the entire CNHED team, including the CEO, to understand their goals and vision for the new website. We let them know that this was still their website, and we were not going to upend anything they wanted to keep.
We followed that with efficient team interviews to track down their many web pages and content – all hosted in different places and managed by different people. Once we had audited everything they had, we used those interviews to understand the CNHED initiatives, and discern the primary actions they wanted their visitors to take on the new site.
We knew reworking their back end would also require careful project management. To make that successful, we would need to put in place coordinated and centralized content gathering and organization, collaborative review tools and review meetings. A critical part of these processes included team CMS training; we knew we would eventually need to empower CNHED staff to manage their own content.
We consolidated three separate CNHED managed websites into one, unified under a single CMS. But far from eliminating the many nuances of their different services, we color-coded their initiatives and programs throughout the website, making browsing information more intuitive and visually contextualized.
On the back end, we integrated 3rd party systems like WildApricot and SalesForce for their membership management – gone were the complicated sign-up processes of the past. We automated and streamlined the entire UX for their members.
As for their content process, we knew they needed custom CMS user permissions for team members that provided clear roles. We also provided a feature-rich page and article builder and an event manager that empowered their staff to start taking control of updating the site. That also came with a robust search function, so CNHED members could access what they needed more efficiently.
Today, the convoluted, manual membership renewals of the old CNHED are automatic, with a member portal for membership management. This has led to an exponential reduction in manual data entry and member management by CNHED staff across their many platforms.
CNHED appreciates that their brand is finally coming through in the new website designs. Captivating visuals have unified their key messages and made their site a better representation of their mission.
For CNHED staff, recurring events can be set up on a schedule and can easily be edited, significantly reducing event management time on the site. A powerful calendar of events makes it easy for their members to find and join upcoming meetings.
As far as their content chaos issue, admin CMS permissions are enabling team members to manage their parts of the website without doing double work or having version control issues.
Their patience and dedication to understanding the project were important. We needed a new website that would represent our organization and attract different audiences. They’ve worked with a nonprofit before but all nonprofits are slightly different in terms of audiences and membership. Sabra Creative understood that and was patient throughout the entire process.
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