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Web Sites for Non-Profits How to Get Ready for a Volunteer Designer About KORRnet — East Tennessee’s community electronic network — serves Knoxville and the surrounding 16 counties of East KORRnet Tennessee. KORRnet promotes dialogue and community in the region by: 1) Operating korrnet.org, an interactive portal to the region's Web-based resources; 2) Hosting Web sites and group mailing lists for non-profit community groups; and 3) Providing computers and Internet access to homebound seniors and supporting similar efforts to bridge the digital divide. Orientation KORRnet encourages the publication of community-generated content on the World Wide Web. We help non-profit community groups produce their own Web sites, and then we host those sites on KORRnet’s server. We also train community groups in how to maintain and update their sites. This assistance is provided by these volunteers on an as-needed, as-available basis: *** Students enrolled in Web design courses at the University of Tennessee and Pellissippi State Technical Community College. *** KORRnet’s Web Design Team, composed of individuals and design firms who want to share their expertise with community groups. These design services are limited to community groups whose sites are or will be hosted by KORRnet. It is not necessary to be incorporated or to have legal non-profit status to use these services, but the group MUST function as a non-profit community organization. Also, the group itself – not the volunteer designer – must be responsible for applying for a KORRnet membership and Website account. Creating an effective Web site requires a lot of advance planning and effective communication between the non-profit organization and the volunteer Web designer. We offer the following suggestions to help you prepare for your designer, work with him or her during the life of the project, complete the project, and plan for the future. Before the You MUST have several things in hand or in mind before you meet your designer for the first time. Please be ready with your content Designer and graphics. Know the overall message you wish to convey – and Arrives the experience you want site visitors to have on your site. Finally, identify any other site-related needs and interests your designer should know about. Obtain a KORRnet Web Account. If you have not done so already, go to korrnet.org and fill out the Web account application. Refer to the FAQ (frequently asked questions) for Web accounts. KORRnet will contact you with the relevant account information, including the password so you and your designer can access your electronic folder on the KORRnet server. Who is the contact person? Identify within your agency the person who will be the chief contact for the project. This one person should be reasonably accessible (doesn't travel too much, has voice mail and/or email, responds to telephone calls or emails within 24 hours). This might be a technical contact or an administrative person who can reach others in the agency who are involved. Who will maintain the site? In other words, who will be the Webmaster? (Your KORRnet volunteer will not be responsible for continuing to change or update your site.) Talk to people interested in the project to identify who is willing to learn HTML and other skills to keep the Web site up to date. This could be a staff member or a very committed volunteer. If this person is not very familiar with computers and the Internet, it is important he or she takes classes (such as those offered by most public libraries) to get up to speed. Consider using two people to maintain your site -- a non-technical person who is in charge of WHAT gets updated and WHEN -- and a technical person who carries out the updates. If possible, your Webmaster should be involved in the development of the site from the beginning Contact headquarters. If you are a local chapter or group of a national organization, contact your national headquarters office and find out if it provides sites for satellite offices. You may not need a local designer if your national office provides this service. If you do need to generate your own site, find out the national organization’s rules for use of the association's logo, graphics, and other materials. The organization may have rules about whether and how their insignia or other images are used. Is there an approval process? Is it necessary for your Board of Directors to review or approve any communication or publication? Make sure necessary approvals are obtained for specific elements of the site before you have the designer spend time working those elements into the design!!! Understand the limits of what KORRnet and a volunteer can do for your organization. We cannot be expected to take on large or complex sites. We do not, for example, provide databases or database support. Your designer may not have time to create or use animated graphics. There are certain advanced services, such as custom scripting, that we do not expect our volunteers to offer. The amount of time that can be devoted to creating your site is a matter of negotiation between you and your volunteer designer. If an organization is well prepared with content and has a clear idea on how its site is to be organized, then it might take a skilled designer 10-12 hours to create a small site (four to six pages). If you think you want a larger site, talk to your designer about her time and availability. If your needs cannot be reconciled with the designer’s time constraints, contact the KORRnet office. You and your designer should address these issues as you assemble your materials and decide on how big your initial site needs to be. Who is your audience for this Web site? Who are you trying to Target Your reach? What do you want them to know about you? What do you Audience want to know about them? Nail the answers to these questions, and you will likely have a successful site. Gather Your Create a Design File. Your designer will need details, details, details in order to do a good job for you. Start by creating a file Materials folder into which you place your research, content needs and other guidelines for the designer to follow. This folder should contain the information you obtain from the following tasks: Gather copies of all brochures, newsletters, and other documents you have used for the last several years — even those you felt were ineffective. Identify the slogans that worked and didn't work. What marketing campaigns have you already tried? If this information is available in digital format, update it for your current needs and then copy it to a diskette to give to the designer. Gather pictures that relate to your organization. These might be pictures of staff, the building, the grounds, participants in activities, and the like. Photographs are not necessary for a successful site, but they do help personalize your site. Due to space constraints, there IS a limit to the number and size of pictures you can post on your site. Your designer can help balance the need for a few pictures with the need for a fast-loading time and the need to stay under the maximum limit of 10 Mb for all your KORRnet files. Gather graphics such as your organization's logo, a symbol that is used in your newsletter, or something from your letterhead. If these are in digital form of any kind, so much the better. Make sure logos and graphics are scanned at screen resolution or else are in excellent printed form so your designer can scan them. Content is King! The content of your Web site will be one of the most important elements in bringing people to it and in making it useful to them. Your content may include some or all of these elements: Your Mission Statement Welcome message Description of your programs & services Contact information for the organization, including address, email, phone, and fax Calendar of events Links to related sites Link to a forum, bulletin board or email discussion group Map & directions to your location History of your organization Charter and By-Laws Officers & Directors How to: join, volunteer, donate, etc. Prepare each of these elements in separate word processing files. You must provide this content in electronic format; your designer cannot create it for you. Also, please make it straight text – no formatting – on the diskette. Give the designer a hardcopy so he/she can see how it originally looked. Create a mock-up of your site – one sheet of paper for each page of your site. Make a reference on each sheet of paper to the named file (located on your diskette) that is to be placed on that page. If you will have difficulty meeting these requirements, and if you cannot find someone with a computer to help you out, contact your designer or the KORRnet office for further assistance. Inventory your software and hardware. Your designer will want to know several facts about your computer and its setup. Gather these facts and put them into your folder: (a) the name of your Internet Service provider, (b) the speed of your modem, (c) the name and version of your FTP client. If you cannot answer these questions, your designer will assist you in answering them. Study Compile a list of 4 or 5 Web sites — or parts of sites — that you like. Compile another short list of sites that you dislike. If your Other Sites agency does not have access to the Web, visit a public-access computer lab and ask a volunteer to help you surf for sites of organizations like yours. As you examine these sites, think about various functions and design elements you might want on your site, such as: Site Structure – One page or multiple pages? What information is deemed critical to the home page, and what information has been placed on sub-pages? Is site content too spread out across too many pages? Too packed in to too few pages? Menu & Navigation – How does the site visitor move from the home page to sub-pages and back again? Is it easy or difficult: To understand how the site is organized? To locate specific types of information? To find your way around the site? Animation & Sound – You may find many sites with fancy graphics, animation (flashing icons or streaming messages), and music. Due to the limits on our volunteers’ time and the fact that many complex graphics are inaccessible to people with disabilities, KORRnet discourages the use of these features on sites we help design. Accessibility — Be sensitive to the needs of people with disabilities who will be visiting your site. See KORRnet’s Web Tools page (korrnet.org/webtools) for sites and tools concerned with accessibility. Graphics - Colors, placement, uses. Keep in mind that graphics- heavy sites take longer to load and can be harder to update. Interactivity – Are site visitors given an opportunity to contact the organization, give feedback, donate money, volunteer, comment on issues facing the organization? Site Maintenance – Is the site well maintained, or is some information out of date? What impression do you have if a site: Lists data the site says was current in 200l? Provides a phone number or email address that does not work? Image/Experience — What feeling do you get from the sites you like and dislike? What is the impression you get of the organization? Is the organization’s mission compatible with the look, feel and style of the site? You might make a list of your favorite sites and grade them on each of these elements. This will help you decide what you like and don’t like about Web sites — and will also guide your designer, who needs to know your preferences. Your First Be prepared! Have all of the materials noted above together in your folder so that you can talk about them. Be sure to have a copy Meeting of all relevant materials – preferably on a diskette -- which your designer can take with her. You may wish to send or email some of this material to your designer in advance so he/she can anticipate some of your needs. Exchange Contact Information. Be sure you and your designer can reach each other via email, home and office phones, mobile phones, etc. Design projects can lose a lot of valuable time because the key people cannot reach each other — or fail to return messages in a timely manner. Set a Project Timeline. Exchange dates and deadlines that are important to each of you. Be aware of the dates a student volunteer’s design work is due for class credit. A volunteer from the Web Design Team also has limited time. It is your responsibility to work within the designer’s schedule, and the designer will do her best to meet your needs. For example, be sure your designer knows if you have an important meeting at which you need to seek approval for a preliminary design or an event at which you wish to debut your site. Working Continue to locate assets such as relevant text, images, and the like that might be included in the Web site. But do this early on! Through Late submissions make life difficult for a designer. the Project Answer your designer’s questions as quickly as you can. Preview sample pages and other design ideas proposed by the designer, and comment on them as soon as you can. A quick turn- around is extremely important in aiding the designer to meet your needs and her own schedule. You and your designer will achieve the best design if you communicate what you like and don’t like, and if your designer communicates what works in site design and what doesn’t. Finishing Think about schedules. As you set your final meeting and prepare to wrap up the project, be sensitive to the deadlines and Up class or work schedules of your designer. Prepare for transition. Your designer will want to turn the project over to you and will likely want to schedule a workshop or meeting to show you the completed project. Be sure that the person who will be responsible for maintaining the site attends that meeting and has adequate time to learn what he needs to learn to update site information from time to time. Get the recognition you deserve. Be sure to post a message to email@example.com and let us know that your site is up and running. We will want to list your site on our ―Featured Web sites‖ page. Also, be sure to post your site in KORRnet’s ―Community Links‖ menu system by filling out the ―Add or Modify a Link‖ form. You can locate the link to this form under ―Site Utilities‖ on the KORRnet site. Finally, please make sure your designer has placed a link back to KORRnet at the bottom of your home page. See ―Link to KORRnet‖ on the KORRnet site. This is a requirement for KORRnet hosted sites. Learn How to Update Your Site – KORRnet can provide you free programs to download, edit and upload your pages. At all times, it is important that you keep back-ups of your current pages and graphics. Backups, along with currently unused graphics and pictures that you may use again, should be stored on your own computer so you won’t exceed your allotted 10-megabyte limit on the KORRnet server. Conclusion If you have suggestions for improving this manual, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. KORRnet's web-hosting services are made possible by the non- profit organizations who join KORRnet as 'Hosted' or 'HostedPLUS' members. See www.korrnet.org/membership for more information. KORRnet's services to the community are enabled by the support of Knox County and the University of Tennessee. See ―Partners and Sponsors‖ on our Web site for a complete list of page sponsors, in-kind donors, and other supporters.
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