I had the greatest pleasure of participating in the Overnight Website Challenge hosted by the Nerdery Foundation back in April. It all started when Karly Anderson reminded me about the event (we tried to do it in previous years) and we decided we should start a team! I put out a call for team members and the response and team we built was the best I could have asked for.
We were matched with Perpich Foundation. In initially meeting them we knew that the UX and designers on our team would love to work with them (and of course our devs too) because they were a foundation supporting the Perpich Center for Arts Education. Erik and Cynthia, from the Perpich Foundation, were a complete delight to work with. They knew what they wanted and they were helpful and collaborative to help us all get to their end goal. I feel so lucky that our team ended up with such a great non-profit to work with. To top it all off, they bought us gigantic cookies at about 10pm – which was the perfect time for a sugar high!
Branding, UX & Design
Our amazing design & UX team consisted of Karly Anderson, Priyanka Mohan & Laura Heureng. Laura and Priyanka did a fantastic job with UX and wireframe planning with collaboration from Karly. Karly worked on Perpich’s branding, which was a major win to be able to utilize down the road with future marketing. They all collaborated on creating the designs of the website and worked diligently making sure that Perpich’s new brand was representing who they are.
Content & Strategy
I, unfortunately, did not have the opportunity to observe these awesome areas being completed like I did the others. However, I do know that they were very important to the UX and design process and they drastically helped with content and vision for their brand throughout the entire process. Sarah Rose Battles did a fantastic job leading our content team with the help of Kyle Sexton. They worked hard into the morning ensuring we had lots of great content, like case studies, for the website once dev was ready for it.
This area is the area I know best. Although, my original plan was to bounce all over and be a supportive lead to all teams, I was needed most as a developer – which was okay by me. Jim Cummins, early on, offered to lead the dev team and ensure everyone was able to work successfully. He is a great teacher and did a fantastic job making sure everyone knew what was going on. Jesse Mortenson, Rachel Walwood, Eric Schapp, Jenessa White & Jamie Paul did a fantastic job stepping up and completing dev needs as they came up. Jamie and myself were the only two developers that were very knowledgeable on WordPress so we spent time bringing people up to speed and everyone else was so quick to learn all the in’s and out’s of WordPress very quickly. The night is a bit of a blur, but everyone contributed greatly to the process and we never would have gotten as much done as we had if it wasn’t for the can-do-attitude and skills of our dev team as well as our entire team. We were able to integrate Zoho, their CRM, with their website forms ensuring that all lead captures completed on their website would be fed into Zoho. We also implemented one-time and recurring donations including the profile management and payment processing. We were not able to complete the designs to the exact specifications but we were able to get so much done in the little time we had.
Kick Ass Team
I don’t like to swear much in my blog, but it’s necessary here. Our team completely kicked some major butt. If I were to start my own agency, I would personally hire every single team member we had. I can not say enough great things about all of them. I am already thinking of things we can prepare for better for next year and I plan to work my hardest to recruit every single person from our team this year. They were all so important and made our team a complete success. GO MEAN TEAM!
Kind Words from Perpich Foundation
Thoughtful & Helpful: From the first interaction with the Strategist to the final minutes of development the MEANteam was thoughtful and helpful. Each member of the team was acutely aware of the business problems we were looking to attack. Throughout the “DAY” they came to us asking how we saw our problem, discussed how they saw our problem, and offered amazing insight on how to solve these problems. These were not just simple issues. Rather the problems we were looking to solve ran the gamut from having robust CRM integration to when to make a specific ask in the donation funnel.
Strong & Steady: Our designers and developers were confident in their competence to handle any problem we threw their way. They were careful to make certain our requests truly fit our needs. Once assured they tackled problems with gusto. At no time during the DAY did we see frustration on our team’s faces. If an ask was going to be beyond the limits they let us know right away. Little did we know that somehow they were even able to sneak in a few of this “beyond the limits asks.”
Coordinated & Amazing. Throughout the 24 hours different project leaders surfaces as the team went through their phases. MEANteam seemed to move effortlessly even with changes in the lineup. Little information was “lost in translation.” We are truly amazed at what the group accomplished in this dedicated day.
Biggest Wins: The biggest win was MEANteam consistently setting delivery expectations and often exceeding them. Among other wins:
- Integration with our CRM system which will allow us to engage our donors meaningfully and tailor our “asks.”
- Building an extensible site based on future objectives while meeting current needs.
- A striking visual presence which not only raises the credibility of the organization but sets a new tone for the future.
- We can now promote our organization and our stakeholders’ achievements and events
The End Results
I am VERY proud to say that Perpich Foundation and MEAN Team ended up winning THREE awards, including:
- People’s Choice
- Best Design
- Biggest Impact
If you ever have the chance to work with anyone on our team, DO IT, you will not regret it.