The Challenge

If you have a new nonprofit, how do you introduce it to your community? In this example, the community leaders of Red Wing, Minn., who founded Every Hand Joined, wanted to explain why this organization was started and how it is different from other nonprofits in town. They wondered how they could generate enthusiasm for “one more charity” and also, present dry data and a complex strategy.

The Solution

Start with an inspiring, compelling website that citizens can’t resist browsing. It must make a strong case, have powerful photos of local people, present dry data in a visual way, and have a modern design. Community and business leaders on the board of this nonprofit were then able to encourage residents to read more about this exciting initiative on the website.

Photo credit: Stacy Bengs

We hired the local newspaper photographer to snap photos of Red Wing youth and blended these in with stock photography. Striking professional photos drive home the reason why Every Hand Joined matters.

As the content strategist and project leader, I worked closely with a communications committee of Red Wing leaders to

  • Develop personas to help us think through who we wanted to reach and what we wanted to say to them
  • Wrangle dry content like data and outcomes so it’s easy to grasp
  • Work with a web developer to design an inspiring, interesting website, including a Spanish-language page
  • Direct a photographer and videographer to tell a visual story about who Every Hand Joined will serve
  • Hire user testers to find out if the site was as understandable and easy to navigate as we hoped
  • Set up an e-newsletter to keep residents up to date about Every Hand Joined.

On the original home page, we had two dominant features. One was an “Imagine” slideshow that caused visitors to pause and wonder. Even our user testers (from couldn’t look away.

The second feature was a video of the organization’s leaders describing why Every Hand Joined was so important to Red Wing.

The website was completed in April 2013.

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