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The  Saint Paul Area Council of Churches  (now Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul) brought me on-board in 2010 to bring a fresh eye to ongoing efforts to communicate their mission and goals.

About the Council

The Council unites the people, resources, and voices of the faith community to build a more just, safe and livable East Metro Twin Cities for all.

About this project

One major project the Council asked me to work on was their website. Initial analysis showed it needed expanding and redesigning. It also needed social media. For example, they did not have a blog, which, for a service organization like the Council, is an essential communications tool.

The Communications staff (Development Director Kristi Anderson, Communications Coordinator Melanie Lund and myself) held a brainstorming session with a small group of outside web and non-profit professionals where we gained a ton of feedback, as well as knowledge and insight on what was current in the non-profit world. We combined the ideas from that session with the day-to-day issues facing the organization on how to best engage with donors, volunteers, program participants, and the public. Finally, we also surveyed our audience both online and through the Council’s printed newsletter, Faith Works.

Armed with all the information we gathered, we proceeded with the redesign. My overwhelming goal with this redesign was to keep the resulting website as simple and as clean as possible. Factors that played into my design problem-solving on this project were:

  • There is much complexity to the Council, in structure, in audience, in almost every aspect, but we did not want that as our take-home message.
  • Many of the Council’s supporters have been with the organization a very long time, so we did not wish to alienate anyone by changing things too drastically. So we kept a lot of the same elements in the website.
  • At the same time, as with any non-profit, investment in a relationship with the younger crowd is vital to the organization’s survival.

So, while we did not wholesale rearrange the website, we did streamline the navigation a bit, but also left some changes for a future date, once our audience had adjusted to the changes. At the same time — and this is where the graphic design came in strong — we simplified everything, from the layout to the navigation. We also added a WordPress-powered blog,  SPACC News , to the website.