Inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future with a website offering a wide range of engaging information and online actions
As the largest nonprofit conservation organization in the United States, the National Wildlife Federation focuses its efforts primarily on protecting wildlife and its habitat. To accomplish this goal, National Wildlife Federation relies heavily on its online presence to: inform the public about its activities and important conservation issues, gain more members and engage more people in the organization’s work, and raise revenue for the organization. With more than four million members, partners and supporters, National Wildlife Federation depends on having an updated website using the Sitecore Content Management system, which has proven crucial in supporting its mission. In April 2010, when the Gulf oil disaster began, National Wildlife Federation staff needed the ability to constantly update the website. Staff members were answering questions from people all around the world regarding the effects of this spill on the wildlife and ecosystems. Working in an atmosphere of uncertainty and skepticism, staff had to supply credible information at a moment’s notice, and with its frequently updated website coverage, the organization became the nation’s “voice” for wildlife in this crisis. National Wildlife Federation maintains that Sitecore´s Content Management System was central to the successful response to their webpage.
In the past, National Wildlife Federation had a fragmented website made up of various home-grown CMSs, which caused painful experiences for internet management professionals. Time consuming to maintain and extend, these old-fashioned systems require IT teams to edit content for editors. “This has created a gap between the people who produce content and the web presence. Consequently, the user experience across the site was inconsistent,” comments Carla Brown, National Wildlife Federation’s Online Project Operations Manager.
National Wildlife Federation worked with Sitecore´s partner, Non-Linear Creations (who has since been acquired by Valtech), to help the organization create a two-year online strategy that has refreshed the website from top to bottom.
Essentially, National Wildlife Federation wanted to install a content management system that would dramatically reduce the time and complexity of content publishing, as well as develop a new information architecture to improve key performance indicators.
In order to outline the website upgrade strategy, Non-Linear Creations conducted nearly 100 interviews with National Wildlife Federation stakeholders in the United States and developed a plan that covered infrastructure, e-marketing, social media, content and audience profiling. It also planned to roll out the site in a logical and non-disruptive deployment that took into account architecture, usability, design and search engine optimization.
To complete the picture, National Wildlife Federation built custom devices such as a tagging module, a story-telling module and a photo slideshow. It also extended the Web Forms for Marketers in a number of ways to automate data feeds to disparate repositories. Lastly, the organization created an integrated Web Forms for Marketers module and built a number of forms, including those that allow payment through PayPal.
“We like the logic of the libraries and how it facilitates content re-usability. Not to mention how the API functionality is truly ’open‘,” concludes Carla Brown.
Since the website launch, National Wildlife Federation has seen a significant return on its investment: User time on the site has increased because the flow of information is much cleaner. Having the Sitecore CMS has also been transformative for the whole internet team. Rather than doing mundane content edits, IT staff now have time to create truly inventive web properties and functionality. In addition, editors are more willing to work on their content now that they can access and update content directly.
“The conversation has shifted from, ‘Can you build this for us?’ to questions of governance and what would be the most valuable thing for the organization to build,” says Susie Ibbotson, Marketing Director at Non-Linear. When an oil spill occurred in Michigan not long after the Gulf oil disaster, National Wildlife Federation was an old hand at using Sitecore in a crisis situation.
Solution Special Ingredients
- Sitecore CMS
- OMS integrated
- Their blog is hosted in Wordpress
- They use Convio for online donations, email delivery, advocacy and surveys and a separate online store for their catalog
- They use home-built .Net web applications for their children’s magazines subscriptions, habitat certification, photo contest, Wildlife Watch and Nature Find programs
- Magnify for video delivery
- Omniture and Google Analytics for web analytics
- Flickr, Facebook and other social media platforms