The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Minneapolis 2013,

HOPE Adoption & Family Services International, Inc.

Every child deserves a loving, well-prepared family! HOPE is committed to promoting social justice and inclusiveness while eliminating barriers that keep children and adults from thriving.

Founded in 1978 by a grassroots movement of adoptive parents and community professionals, HOPE has worked to make sure loving parents and children of all backgrounds have the opportunity to unite with their forever families.

We have always been passionate about treating each situation as unique, including those involving single parent, same sex or low income families, as well as those involving children from the foster care system with significant special needs.

HOPE has helped place over 2,000 children with permanent, loving families and provided unbiased information to over 500 birth parents experiencing crisis pregnancies. By providing reliable social services for 35 years, we have changed thousands of lives for the better, and we are proud to continue this work.

Our services include:

• Domestic and international adoption: In the last year, children came from Nigeria, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Korea, China, Texas, California, Arizona, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

• Foster care adoption (Minnesota Waiting Children): Currently, 355 children in Minnesota’s foster care system, all of whom have significant special needs, are in immediate need of families. We are under contract with the State to find families for them. We work on the side of the youth as their recruiters and advocates, and on the side of the families to make sure they are prepared for this challenging, rewarding adoption of very special kids.

• Birth parent services: HOPE offers FREE unbiased counseling to birth parents, giving them information and resources so they can make their own independent, informed decisions. Our services include: advocacy within the child protection system, coordination of meetings if they choose adoption, transportation to medical appointments, and help with accessing medical assistance, housing, food stamps and other support services.

• Training and education: Our services extend past the one-time event of adoption. We offer trainings before adoption, such as Multicultural Parenting in a Racist Society, but also continue to be a support after an adoption is finalized, with resources, workshops, panels and our popular monthly Therapeutic Support Group for all community parents.

We are licensed in Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

What new functionality we are looking for

Our website was stagnant for over a year until summer 2012, when we set up a carousel on the homepage. We have slowly been making improvements as best we can, but an overhaul of the site is needed in order to do all our organization requires as it grows.

We would love the opportunity to have Good Samaritan nerds give us their creative ideas and work on any of these aspects:

• User friendliness: Foremost, we want to make our site easy to navigate and as informative as possible. The pages are currently buried under each other in outline format. Drop down menus or other new ways to organize could be very helpful.

• Easy to update: Since we do not have an IT person on staff, and our communications position is responsible for many other areas of our small agency, we would like features that allow for relatively simple updates of photos, videos, links, etc.

• Design: We would like to bring our site into 2013 by revamping its current claustrophobic, linear layout. Large, simplified icons for individualized users such as prospective families, current families and birth parents would help visitors find relevant information.

• Webinar gallery: Since our families live all over the state of Minnesota and western Wisconsin, we would love to have the ability to let them attend trainings and orientations online. Currently, they must drive to our lone office location near Stillwater.

• Search engine optimization: We would like our page to be a top hit when Minnesota families or birth parents are searching for information.

• Registration forms: We would like to be able to set up direct registration forms for our fundraising events, so that participants don’t have to call our office or print/mail in their forms with credit card numbers. With our limited staff, this would save time and also encourage more attendance. We would like to carry this over to registration for our client orientations and trainings, cutting out the hassle of sending and receiving hard copy registration forms.

• Request form: We currently have an online request form for information, and we would like to make this more prevalent on the site. We would love to have specific forms for families to request information emailed/mailed or other request forms so we can better serve them.

• Social media: A directly-linked blog, whether through WordPress or our own address (with possible feed on homepage?) would help to keep families connected and informed. We would also like our Facebook, Twitter and Donate buttons to be more prevalent and located on all pages of the site.

• Mailing lists: A subscription button for our e-newsletter and print newsletter would again cut out the middle man of clients emailing or calling to be put on the lists.

How the new functionality will help

Since new clients are increasingly finding us through an internet search, our website is our first impression.

Our mission has always been about eradicating barriers that keep people from adopting—a redesigned website will help get the message of our services out to those families who may have been told they are not able to adopt, such as single parents or same sex couples. We hope to add more community aspects, such as a blog and family testimonials so people can learn about all sorts of families who have made adoption a part of their lives. The simplified design will encourage families to return to the website, therefore having the opportunity to utilize support services or volunteer opportunities once their adoption is finalized.

It’s especially important for our site to be easy to navigate because of those we serve who need immediate assistance, such as birth parents going through crisis pregnancies.

HOPE has the reputation, skills and passion to continue empowering others. When we streamline our efforts such as registration forms, and enhance our web resources, such as a blog, we can reach more people and give more children the families they deserve.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

Before & After Snapshots

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16 Messages from Supporters

2013-01-29 17:58:11 UTC

I want HOPE to win this. They helped find a new family for me and my brothers a few years ago. We are all together and very happy now thanks to HOPE!

2013-01-30 15:59:22 UTC

HOPE is the best! They help people with an unbiased stance which is something you do not always find in our opinionated world. I would love to see them be able to develop their web site so that they can more effectively assist people through the adoption process.

2013-01-28 21:28:47 UTC

HOPE is an awesome organization to be a part of! Families are created every day because of its hardworking and passionate staff.

2013-01-28 22:11:38 UTC
Kathy Kuehn

HOPE helped build my family. By increasing the strength of our website we can reach more people and allow them the chance to make a difference in a child's life!

2013-01-28 22:50:39 UTC
Mary B.

HOPE Adoption is a great group of people who work passionately to help find "forever" families for babies, children and teens. I appreciate that HOPE doesn't impose restrictions on those who want to adopt. HOPE stands for; Helping Others with a Personal Emphasis. That is exactly what they do!

2013-01-29 02:23:20 UTC
Mary S

HOPE has been a blessing in our family's life, joining us with our son 21 years ago. They've made a huge difference in so many children's lives, getting kids out of foster care and into permanent homes. And HOPE works with many birth parents who find themselves unable to parent their child, matching them with a family who can. Having a better website would help HOPE reach out to more families.

2013-01-29 02:49:20 UTC

As a regular volunteer with HOPE I get to see up close the difference they make in the lives of families and children. Each person there has a passion and a gift for serving that goes beyond simply 'doing their job'. It would be great to see them reach more and more families!

2013-01-29 14:40:35 UTC

Winning this would mean so much to HOPE. Their website is in serious need of attention! This would greatly help with so many aspects of the great work they do.

2013-01-29 15:41:23 UTC

I hope that HOPE wins this. They were fantastic throughout our entire processing of adopting our children!

2013-01-29 15:42:13 UTC

I LOVE HOPE! I have see both its formation and growth and am honored to be a part of it. We celebrate 35 years this year and look forward to many new initiatives as well as continued personal, good work.

2013-01-29 16:35:39 UTC

Hope has been an inspiration to me and my family over the past 5 1/2 years. We have been fortunate to see 1st hand the possitive impact that they have in children's lives. In addition, the level of dedication of everyone involved is amazing.

2013-01-29 16:45:28 UTC
Jill P

HOPE is a fantastic organization, doing some amazing work. HOPE operates in a very fiscally responsible manner and puts the maximum amount possible into programming, the make a difference in the lives of children. A web redesign from The Nerdery would help HOPE continue to meet it's mission, and make it possible to reach even more people. Please consider selecting HOPE for the 2013 challenge.

2013-01-29 20:58:04 UTC

I am so blessed to be a part of the HOPE family. This year they are celebrating their 35th anniversary and I cannot think of a better way to add to their celebration by launching a new website with help from The Nerdy's. What a difference your company could make in the lives of children needing forever homes through redesigning the website for HOPE allowing them to reach more families who can provide for these children. My fingers are crossed that you chose HOPE Adoption & Family Services for your project!

2013-01-29 21:02:31 UTC

Hope is a wonderful organization lead by an experienced community leader. We can't wait for them to spread their presence throughout the Twin Cities.

2013-01-30 03:22:30 UTC
Joanne Sobelman

It is so exciting to think that super professionals could help develop Hope's website taking it to the next level of usability. While the information and direction to the agency is certainly usable, we know that we can provide our prospective parents, current adoptive family community and birth mothers with a more robust source of information and comfort as they navigate their way through the adoption process. As a Hope adoptive parent and long time Board member, I can think of no better place for the Nerdery to help out.

Thanks for considering Hope.

2013-02-01 02:14:24 UTC
Brenda and Rob

HOPE Adoption is a wonderful organization that has helped thousands of kids find new families. They helped us create our family and we are forever grateful. Winning this would help them reach more people and make more connections.

Our Mission

Our name, HOPE, means Helping Others with a Personal Emphasis. We exist to unite children with families through adoption. By providing high quality information, counseling, and support services throughout the family life cycle, HOPE strengthens families, prospective parents, and related individuals. HOPE will be an advocate for all clients, including the adopted person, birth parents, and adoptive family, considering their needs and best interests. HOPE’s fundamental goal is for every child to grow up in a well-prepared and loving permanent family, and we pledge excellence in our work to achieve this objective.