Urban Boatbuilders utilizes the building and use of wooden boats as a vehicle to engage at-risk youth to develop their academic, leadership, and vocational skills. Through two signature programs, Boatbuilding Partnerships and Apprenticeships, Urban Boatbuilders serves hundreds of youth across the Twin Cities each year.
In Boatbuilding Partnerships, Urban Boatbuilders partners with local middle schools, high schools, and youth-serving agencies to deliver academically enhanced boatbuilding instruction. Two days a week for ten weeks, students work under the guidance of an experienced boatbuilding instructor learning science, technology, engineering and math concepts in a unique and tangible way. What was once a pile of lumber is transformed into a finished boat fostering confidence and a sense of accomplishment for our youth. The culmination of each project offers the youth a chance to launch and paddle the boat that they built with their own two hands, fully experiencing their success.
The Apprenticeship Program offers an intensive and longer term opportunity for youth to develop tangible academic, leadership, and vocational skills. Three afternoons per week, apprentices work alongside an Urban Boatbuilders instructor and community volunteers learning and practicing both hard and soft vocational skills, developing work experience, and earning a small stipend. Time and again the Apprenticeship Program has demonstrated its ability to provide transformative experience in the lives of at-risk youth.
What new functionality we are looking for
Our ideal website would assist our organization in reaching our target audience, communicate our mission of providing a hands-on learning experience in an impactful and measurable way, allow us to better understand what is important to our partners through analytics, provide a mechanism for our employees and board members to manage content, and provide support for fundraising and volunteer recruitment.
We would like to encourage active engagement with Urban Boatbuilders from school partners, volunteers, and donors through our website to keep our joint accomplishments and mission in the spotlight. Examples of how we might use the website to deepen our relationships include an upcoming events calendar, facebook and youtube integration, an apprentice blog and a photo gallery.
We have the opportunity to significantly consolidate our administrative tasks. Much of our fundraising and volunteer recruitment takes place online, but currently our website supports neither. One of our goals is allowing our website to accept GiveMN and Razoo donations directly. We also hope to create an electronic volunteering request form and a constant contact newsletter subscription form. Providing all of these services in the same web-space simplifies our outreach.
Finally, most of our boat sales come from our website. We need a basic, easily updated â€˜boats for saleâ€™ listing page- no e commerce required.
In summary we here is a complete list of everything we would like in a new website:
â€¢ Updated website design
â€¢ Content management with basic security and publishing
â€¢ Photo gallery
â€¢ Apprentice blog
â€¢ Facebook integration
â€¢ YouTube integration
â€¢ Google calendar (upcoming events)
â€¢ Online donations (GiveMN through Razoo)
â€¢ Volunteering request form
â€¢ Newsletter subscription form (constant contact)
â€¢ Boats for sale listing page (no e-commerce needed)
â€¢ Basic website analytics
â€¢ Search engine optimization
How the new functionality will help
We are a small organization that employs a unique approach to improving the lives of youth. The guiding members of our organization are wizards at using wood glue and steaming canoe ribs but still use a Rolodex around the office to track contacts. However, we do not have the resources or knowledge to build a website for our organization that we believe will help us fulfill our mission.
Our current website was built by a volunteer and it does not provide all of the features we need to grow our organization. It has been very difficult for us to keep our site up to date giving visitors the impression that we are a defunct organization. Our inability to make the website seem â€˜aliveâ€™ with social media integration and blog posts discourages potential volunteers and customers.
We believe a new website would allow us to fulfill our mission by being our central location on the web to drive more partnerships, volunteers, youth, and donors to our organization. A more modern site would increase the amount of work coming to our organization and make us more approachable to volunteers.
Our website receives a large amount of traffic and is very visible to the niche community seeking our services. We need to connect more effectively with this interest group: as an organization that provides a service, the usability and accessibility of our website is vital in moving us forward.
This year, one of our most important plans for expansion is ramping up our partnerships with schools and juvenile justice organizations. Partnerships are our most effective method of engaging and impacting more youth, and increases the pool of applicants for apprenticeships. Our website currently lacks a proper application and description for partnerships. Providing background on partnership description, a project calendar, blogs, and a photo gallery would streamline our outreach process significantly. All of these are vital to an organization with limited staff capacity.
We plan to significantly expand our organizationâ€™s impact in 2013: a new and vibrant website would go a long way in making that possible.
How our organization will use the technology
Who will use the technology
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