Two years ago, we started talking to the Fine Arts Institute (FAI) of Edmond about a single item: the retirement of their long time (25 years) executive director. Mitzi Hancuff had run the organization since it’s founding but she was ready to retire. Long time employee Shannon Price was selected by the board of director to fill Mitzi’s shoes. The concern was if this transition did not go well, the organization could lose supporters or standing built up over the last two+ decades.
This transition actually went amazingly smooth, with supporters, staff and community all excited for the future at FAI. But that’s not the end of the story. During the planning of the E.D. transition, we noticed a few marketing and communication tools that really needed to be improved. The most glaring example was their website. The site had been designed many years back and was obviously out-of-date. On top of that, making changes or upgrades was expensive and the control panel was less than user-friendly.
We immediately suggested a website redesign to match the new leadership, new branding (logos and cutline) and future direction of FAI. But we didn’t stop there.
It’s not enough for a website to be attractive, but it has to be highly functional. As we discussed the use of a website with the staff, we realized there were several opportunities to create efficiencies and lower operating cost.
- FAI spent a great deal of time and money every semester printing and mailing class catalogs, brochures and other annual marketing materials. By putting all class descriptions, with links to online enrollment and payments, on the new website in a searchable format we made it possible for FAI to stop paying printing and postage for catalogs. Class enrollment went up and cost went down.
- Previously, general brochures and other fundraising materials were also mailed to past and potential supporters. With the new website, we send a postcard to the supporter list with information about the FAI programs and the new website. Again, donations are up and costs are down.
- We also added tools to increase efficiency in enrolling and tracking students for classes, promoting special events and fundraisers, listing all the programs offered by FAI and promoting the mission of Creativity at All Ages, All Stages for kids, adults and senior.
By taking the time to uncover the real needs of the organization we solved a lot of problems and created new opportunities for FAI. Working with the staff and leadership to make the organization better, instead of focusing on single projects, resulted in a highly effective solution for FAI. We also made sure the staff at FAI could use this new tool to its full potential, without any need to rely on us or anyone else (no more fees to pay). The new website is truly theirs to use and benefit from.
Obviously, a huge difference between the two. Special thanks to T&S Web Design for taking our ideas and making them into a real, highly functioning website. We swung for the fences on this project, and we hit a grand slam. Take a moment and read all about the great work FAI does in the Edmond area.
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