What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?
Our volunteer who facilitates the online group said that the new website has changed her life. Our facilitators are volunteers, so when they’re volunteering 2 hours and nobody logs on, or if they do log on and get thrown out, the volunteers get frustrated. She was ready to quit. Now, when she donates an afternoon and a night a week to facilitate the groups on the website, she doesn’t feel like she’s wasting her time anymore. People are able to log on easily, and they stay in the group for the duration.
We also service parents who are court-ordered by protective services to attend our groups. Josh set up the chat so that people who are court-ordered or have to prove they attended the group can check a box. Then, we can go to the website and actually provide feedback to the case workers of how many times the individual attended the online group. That has been a big plus for us because we’re always working with child protective services to get more individuals sent to our group. In many urban areas where people have fewer resources, they don't have access to transportation and can’t get to our house-based groups, but they can log on twice a week and show their case workers the documentation we provide. That has been extremely helpful.
We do 2 major snail-mail appeals a year for contributions. During those periods, Josh has been able to mirror on the landing page the importance of those appeals. People can donate online, and we get a record of who they are, where they are, and how to stay in touch with them. Donors like to see what their money does. If people have donated money for the Father Time group, for example, we can send them email updates about what their money has done. We could never have done that before.
Since we’ve had the new website, our last 2 appeals have brought in more than the previous appeals, and we are getting more online donors than ever before. That’s not only because of the website, but the site has changed the way we do a lot of business. It’s helped us considerably.
We’re just starting to gather evidence that demonstrates TeliApp’s effects on our business. With our old website, we could only count hits. We couldn't tell if people went anywhere else on the website besides the landing page. Josh has been talking with us about all the different ways we can track how people are coming to the website and what they’re doing once they arrive. That’ll cost more, so we’ve postponed it for a bit, but we’re talking about it now. We’re hoping to get more sophisticated with the tracking this year if I can find some more money for that project.
How did TeliApp Corporation perform from a project management standpoint?
Our director of operations and I have scheduled a date to meet with Josh. Sometimes, he comes here; sometimes, we go there. We try to have an in-person meeting with TeliApp on a quarterly basis. In between those meetings, we communicate via emails and phone calls. If we need an immediate update to the website and aren’t able to do it ourselves, we’ll email Josh, and he’ll update the item by the end of the day, even though he’s not billing us to do that. We’ve been very happy.
What did you find most impressive about them?
Josh went above and beyond what anybody had ever done for us before. He has a real passion for making sure that our website’s chat feature not only worked but was also something that we could be proud of and publicize. Before, I was reticent to put a lot of marketing on the website because I knew it wasn't good, but now that it’s running smoothly, I’ve ordered all new materials to promote it.
Josh also educated our staff on the importance of having a dynamic website that was interconnected with our social media accounts. We learned that a website shouldn't be static and sitting alone on the web somewhere. Instead, it needs to be an integral part of all of your programming. As soon as anyone opens our landing page, the first thing they see is the annual appeal process that’s taking place. It’s also easy for visitors to find the donate button, which is now in the proper place. With the old website, no one ever taught our staff person how to make changes on the website. That’s how backward we were. We had to email our consultant and ask them to make changes, and they were sometimes reluctant to make them. Because our previous consultants were separate from us, they didn't understand the culture of our organization, whereas Josh and his team made a point to visit us and talk to our board of directors and staff members about what was important to them. He had multiple conversations with me about what we liked, what we needed, and what aspects we liked on other people’s websites. He was honest with us about what would and wouldn't work on our website. He’s been involved in a way that I have not experienced with any other web person.
Josh also has been patient and understanding about our fluctuating finances. He hasn’t said, “You paid the money, we provided the product, and now we’re done.” Instead, he said, “Here are some different places that might be interested in supporting this idea. As soon as you get the funding, we’ll be prepared to move forward.” That has been really helpful.
Dealing with a vendor like TeliApp has been such a relief. They’re willing to work with people like us who have no idea what makes a website good.
Are there any areas they could improve?
I can't think of any. Our website is sleek and modern now, which isn’t my style, but my board loves it, and the feedback from consumers has been positive. I sent Josh an email last week asking to talk about updating the landing page. He agreed to discuss making it brighter. Unlike some of my other consultants who just said “no,” Josh is willing to hear my concerns. After that meeting, I may be convinced that the world moves in a different way now. He’s open to criticism and often explains why the website works better a certain way.