Matching cost with value in nonprofit web redesign - Technical.ly Philly

Apr. 22, 2011 1:00 pm

Matching cost with value in nonprofit web redesign

Good web design doesn’t come cheap. And when it comes to nonprofits, the value of web presence can be a hard sell, both internally and externally. “We were just talking about this the other day,” says Greg Hoy, president of Happy Cog Studios, a boutique web development and design firm based in Center City. “Cost […]

Good web design doesn’t come cheap. And when it comes to nonprofits, the value of web presence can be a hard sell, both internally and externally.

“We were just talking about this the other day,” says Greg Hoy, president of Happy Cog Studios, a boutique web development and design firm based in Center City. “Cost is always a concern with nonprofits,” he says.

Challenges and Innovations in Nonprofit Web Design
Happy Cog President Greg Hoy will moderate a panel discussion with local nonprofit technology leaders discussing the unique challenges and opportunities found in planning, creating, and launching nonprofit web initiatives.

When: Thu., April 28, 12:00-1:00 p.m.

Where: WHYY, 150 N. 6th Street, Old City

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Though nonprofits aren’t a sole focus — the firm works with businesses and technology companies, too — they are an important part of the business mix. The firm is currently working with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and has previously worked for the Posse Foundation, Amnesty International USA and the local Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation.

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Though the company lists on its project planner that web development projects start at $100,000, the company chooses the clients it works with and the rates that it charges on a project-to-project basis.

“[Nonprofits are] not the most lucractive,” for a web shop to pursue, he says. “But we like to partner with organizations that, through the work that we do, helps them do important work.”

That much is clear from Happy Cog’s nonprofit clientele. [Full Disclosure: Happy Cog and Technically Media, Inc. have partnered on contract work with the National Constitution Center.]

So, how does a nonprofit employee explain to his or her higher-ups that a redesign is worth the investment?

Hoy says that it’s about pitching the idea that a solid, open-source content management system — the back-end technology — can help to streamline operations and keep a web investment lasting years down the road, as employees who originally governed a redesign process leave for new endeavors.

But cost isn’t the only concern when it comes to web presence. Many are seeking social media channels and finding ways to build and develop strategy for handling those channels, Hoy says.

He points to best-of-breed nonprofits that build millions of followers on networks like Twitter and Facebook. “The community does the marketing,” he says. And for nonprofits looking to cut costs, relying on their community for volunteerism — and, perhaps, donation — is important.

Happy Cog — which has offices in New York City and San Francisco and other business interests in web development (it publishes design literature and has a growing events series) — has recently been stepping up its Philly game. Its focus on national clientelle is just how the chips fell, Hoy says, since the company was founded in New York and since expanded locally.

The firm’s work with GPTMC on VisitPhilly.com won a handful of awards last year, including a “best in class” Interactive Media Award.

“We’re purposefully trying to increase our exposure in Philadelphia,” Hoy says.

And next week, during Philly Tech Week, Hoy will be joined by several of the company’s nonprofit clients in a panel to discuss other challenges faced by nonprofits in web design, including representatives from the GPTMC, National Constitution Center and Teach for America.

“It’s a diverse group of backgrounds that will make for interesting discussion,” he says.

Organizations: Happy Cog
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