House of Hope Vision school is a Palestinian organization dedicated to strengthening Palestinian civil society with holistic elementary education for marginalized children, youth, and women in the suburbs of Jerusalem. Founded by Milad Vosgueritchain and Manar Wahab Vosgueritchain in 2008, House of Hope's vision is to see a prosperous Palestine that preserves the dignity of every human by upholding the vital principles of nonviolence, educational equality, and civil society engagement for social change.
I met Thea Lavin, a House of Hope board member, at the Everyday Peacemakers Conference in the fall of 2018. She was there creating awareness of the vital work House of Hope Vision School is engaged in. I was impressed with their efforts, and we both looked for ways I could get involved. Later that year, I was asked to help tell the story of House of Hope, in a fresh and compelling way by creating a new best-of-class website.
The foundation of any website development process at Bryt•Idea is to create a detailed project scope document that identifies website goals, deliverables & requirements, information architecture, page wireframes, timeline, and design direction.
After several preliminary meetings reviewing the project scope document and foundational brand direction, we created the following goals and objectives for the new website:
At the beginning of 2020, I traveled to Jerusalem in the West Bank to meet with the founders Millard and Manar. My goal was to thoroughly understand their work and get a sense of their vision. I instantly was welcomed and given the grand tour of the school and the town as well. Everywhere we went downtown, Milad received warm hellos from former students; I told him he must be famous! If he is, it would be for the hope and love he and Manar have given to their community.
Life in the West Bank, specifically area C, is very difficult, yet despite the poverty, lack of municipal services, and worse yet, lack of hope, Milad and Manar have created a place of hope and safety for the children and the community of East Jerusalem. It was inspiring.
Although the previous website provided excellent information and successfully created awareness of the school, it lacked the branding, messaging, and functionality desired for future fundraising goals.
In addition to a new website, it was clear that a new and more powerful nonprofit CRM (Customer Relations Management) solution was needed. Moving all historical donor information from various databases (Excel, Facebook, and previous donor databases) and accurately importing them would prove to be challenging.
In addition to a complete design overhaul, new and fresh content was needed to tell House of Hope's story in an engaging way.
At Bryt•Idea, we utilize Agile Project Management methodologies for all website development projects. Our platform of choice is Teamwork Projects, which provides sophisticated, yet intuitive, Agile project workflows. Agile mythologies allowed for an efficient and cohesive web development process, ensuring HOHs needs and requirements are met. .
Tom stewarded our project workflow with humor, clarity and ease. The whole process was so fun and satisfying, that I forgot we were actually working. - Thea Lavin
The old website was an exceptional first effort for the House of Hope team but lacked any brand identity, including a logo, and was rather text-heavy. Based on Brand Archetypes (The Lover and CareGiver) and Buyer Personas (Caring Kathy), a logo was designed and a color guide created to communicate House of Hope's brand visually.
Critical to any web development strategy is the importance of understanding user experience and user-centered design principles. These principles constitute the foundation of creating a best-of-class and high performing website. I worked closely with the House of Hope team to ensure we made this a consistent focus.
A big part of creating a visually stunning website was the professional photography and videography provided by Matt H. King. You can see his incredible work throughout the site.
The ability to edit the website easily and quickly was essential. We selected the Concrete5 CMS platform to accomplish this. The advantage to Concrete5, over WordPress and other platforms, is it's exceptionally easy-to-use editing tools, yet it allows for robust scalability for future functionality.
As mentioned above, a more powerful full-featured CRM was needed to integrate into the new website. After extensive research, we chose Keela's nonprofit CRM. It offered all the best-of-class functionality expected from a professional CRM in a modern, clean, and easy to use interface. The support from Keela was also outstanding, providing responsive and friendly help at the drop of a hat. Many Kudos to the Keela support team! The process took considerable planning to retain data integrity. Working with Kristi Boesen and Thea Lavin from House of Hope and the Keela team, we developed a detailed and thorough process to accomplish this without the loss of donor data. To learn more about how Keela can help your nonprofit click here.
As mentioned earlier, developing deep and rich content that told the HOH story in a compelling way was critical to the success of the website. The HOH content writers utilized Story Brand methodology to create content communicating the partnership and impact supporters have with their work. Thanks to the incredible work from Thea and Jamie, we were able to do just that.
By combining stunning design, intuitive user experience, professional photography, videography, and copy, we created a best-of-class website, ready to perform its desired purpose - inspire, engage, and compel users to action. This surely was a labor of love, and I'm so grateful to be apart of the vital work House of Hope is engaged in for the people of Palestine.
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