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Case Study: Gigs4Good

21 Nov Case Study: Gigs4Good

Gigs4Good is a small non-profit founded by a couple college kids, who came to me back in early May needing help with a website. They had very little, if any, web presence. You can read more about who they are and what they do, from my portfolio.

I’m going to talk about the process of building their site, as well as their needs, how they were met, and the WordPress goodies used to enhance everything.

First, their needs:

  1. Content management
  2. Donation portal
  3. Store front
  4. User interaction
  5. Information regarding specific projects
  6. General information
  7. A somewhat design oriented site

Starting from scratch, I decided to use the popular WooThemes, which integrates nicely with their plugin WooCommerce (what I consider to be the most robust ecommerce plugin for WordPress). From there I customized nearly every page and template on the site.

We set up a small intro video, for the home page. From there we added info about their previous mission trip (which they funded via turning in soda cans!). These two things combined, are the most important information on their site. That’s why we put them on the home page slider.

Next we had to set up a donation portal, so they could accept online donations. We went with paypal, as a quick easy way to do this. Moving forward, should their movement gain lots of traffic and press, we’ll move everything over to a built in form on their site. This will add a huge cost, but one that will ultimately pay off should they gain enough of a following.

Now that we had donations taken care of, a store front was in order. Their shirts and hats can now be purchased right through their site with either a paypal account or credit card (thank you paypal + woocommerce). All product info, including color and size can be selected and you’ll receive a shirt (should it be in stock) within about a week from purchase.

One of the things I wrestle with on every ecommerce setup is whether or not users need an account to purchase products. For this we decided, they don’t. It can often deter users from purchasing products if they first have to sign up for an account. Although their info wouldn’t have been used in any way, from a sales point it just didn’t make sense.

Going forward, account sign up will be forced upon users to better retain their information for future promotional events. This also allows users to manage their own info without having to contact support.

Having built a pretty robust, yet simple store front, we now had to focus on the bulk of their site: the missions. These are different causes that Gigs4Good raises money for. People come to them asking to do something, and Gigs4Good will facilitate the donation management (via their new online portal) as well as raising awareness and behind the scenes details (flights, hotels, etc.)

Anyone can apply to become a member, and help with any number of causes (or you can make your own). Each mission must fall into one of five categories. These categories can then be sorted through, by visitors to view the different missions within each. Thus if someone is passionate about affordable housing, they can view all missions within this category and donate to them or help in some other way.

Originally, I had set up a custom post type for missions. This allowed them to add missions and place them into their own separate mission categories. What we found was that this created one too many spots for content. There was already a lot going on in the backend with posts, pages, woocommerce, forms, etc. that we needed to simplify.

Furthermore, the development that goes into creating even the most basic custom post is quite involved. After building the basics, we decided to scrape it for both time and simplicity sake.

So, instead we set up a custom archive template and regular post categories. Now, they have categories for each of their mission categories as well as an overarching blog category for which they can talk about whatever they want. And, they archive differently.

Each post within the missions category generates a paypal donate button, so visitors can donate to a specific cause. This allows for easy money allocation (albeit somewhat manual).

After all of this, we were almost done. We dropped in an application form, and changed the color scheme, but all in all almost all the heavy lifting was done with WordPress and WooThemes.

Now, Gigs4Good has a totally revamped online presence where they can sell apparel, share mission information, collect donations and accept applications. All in a friendly, easy-to-manage back end system.

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