In remaking its website, Jewish Federation of Monmouth County reached down deep to make structural and content changes that go way beyond the cosmetic.
“We have a new look, too, but that’s only the most superficial of the improvements we’ve made,” said Lisa Karasic, the organization’s director of marketing and communications.
Noting that the old site was based on a platform that was over five years old, Karasic said, “It was not consistent with what today’s on-line users want and expect from a website. Our goal, from the moment we undertook this project earlier this year, was to apply the best contemporary practices to make the site clearer, easier to use, and more efficient to manage.”
Not all the changes are apparent on the screen (jewishmonmouth.org). According to Karasic, who joined federation last November, the new version relies on state-of-the-art software to offer interactive capabilities that were not present in the past.
It also features what she called “a cleaner design, simple written copy, and compelling images to concisely answer such questions as ‘Who is federation?’ ‘What does federation do?’ ‘Why support federation?’ and ‘How to get involved.’”
Karasic described a new system for making secure contributions at the site. “The changes streamline a secure on-line donation process, including options for donor-driven philanthropy, which allows contributors to direct their gift where it is most meaningful to them.”
Another new user-friendly feature is an interactive community calendar to which organizations may submit events. “It offers simple ways for community members to interact with federation, and it links to synagogues, schools, social service agencies, and other community resources.”
Karasic said that the site’s development process included a month of beta testing to uncover bugs and invite suggested improvements. “The new site was shared with approximately 30 individuals, including our board.”
“Some requested changes have already been implemented, and others will be made in the future,” Karasic said. “Since, by definition, a website is never really finished, we will keep the door open to ongoing refinements.”
This is just the beginning, said federation’s executive director, Keith Krivitzky. There will be initiatives in the use of social media, along with continuing efforts to maximize on-line and more conventional communications techniques, as well as incorporate new content, including videos, and greater interactivity. “The ultimate goal is to expand on federation’s responsiveness, engagement, and relationships with stakeholders,” he said.