Net at Work Unveils Website Re-design for OHEL, Diversified Jewish Charitable Organization Assisting Children and Families
New York (July 30, 2007) – One of the most daunting challenges all charitable organizations face is communicating their mission –its focus, its urgency, its relevance. For Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services, this was a particularly difficult challenge owing to the diversity of its programs and constituencies. Founded in 1969 to provide homes and families for abandoned, neglected, abused and disabled Jewish children, Ohel offers over 26 programs in seven core categories: housing, foster care, outpatient counseling, at-home services, school-based programs, sexual abuse services, and camp. Designing a website that simply, quickly and compellingly spoke to each interest – whether it be a person in need of services, a grant writer, an elected official, a potential donor – was among Ohel’s most pressing “corporate” objectives.
These days, the website is the first place you go when for information on an organization,” said Amy Bierig, Chief Administrative Officer. “You only have a few seconds to tell your story. And ours is a pretty complex one to tell. We needed to weave together many elements and convey our mission, what we do as a whole, in a very crisp way, while communicating on a very personal level with each person that visits our site. We invited several companies to provide us with proposals outlining their vision. We were highly impressed with Net at Work’s thoughtful, creative approach, one that captured the look and feel we were looking for and offered the flexibility, robust functionality and ease-of-use we needed.”
“For several years Net at Work had provided Ohel with network and application support and we were very pleased with their responsiveness and overall attention to our needs,” said Shmuel Lieberman, Ohel’s MIS Coordinator. “But it was their vision, understanding of our mission and day-to-day needs, as well as their out-of-the-box thinking that made them the overwhelming choice to manage the site re-design.”
Net at Work premised the site redesign on a central, deceptively simple idea: Ohel is about helping people and families who at any given time are grappling with dire personal problems. Net at Work’s first objective was to devise a visual “schema” that conveyed this on a “gut” level.”
“We wanted to put the focus on the individuals Ohel has been committed to helping since its founding. We came up with the idea of implementing what you might call a scrap book theme, where we would cycle through an ongoing series of heart-warming, winning photos,” said Alex Solomon, Net at Work’s President and co-founder. “Immediately, site visitors are taken in and quickly understand what Ohel is all about. Once they’re engaged on a very personal level, they are prepared to learn more about the organization’s programs, where they can seek help or which program or event they choose to support with a donation.”
Net at Work, a leading provider of integrated business technology solutions, designed the site to allow donors to contribute to programs or events of their choice – rather than simply providing a central repository for undifferentiated donations. They also installed a (free) open source content management system and provided Ohel with training on how to use it in administering the site’s day-to-day changes. This enables Ohel to take complete ownership of the site, make content changes as needed andeliminate the expense of engaging Net at Work or an outside web design firm to change, add or edit content, including new links and video content.
“The new site has been live for a relatively short time, but we’ve already had great unsolicited feedback from people seeking help (who tell us it’s easy to find the information they need), donors and members of all our constituencies,” said Amy Bierig. “The site achieves our corporate goal in effectively branding our organization and clearly communicating our mission. And its thoughtful lay out and intuitive navigation makes it easy for anyone to learn about the breadth of our programs. We expect the new website to be a major contributor to our ability to help those in need, which is our ultimate measure of success.”
In addition to web development, Net at Work provides its 1,400+ clients with a full range of complementary technology services and solutions, and has received numerous awards for its high level of client satisfaction. Earlier this month, Net at Work was named one of the Fastest Growing Solutions Providers in the country by CMP Media, CRN.
About Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services
Ohel Children’s Home and Family Services is a community based social service agency founded 38 years ago. The agency currently cares for thousands of people daily through 26 programs in almost 100 locations addressing the mental health and social service needs of families. Ohel’s seven core services, which encompass all of its programs are, housing, foster care, outpatient counseling, at-home services, school-based services, abuse services, and camps. Ohel’s programs provide results; Ohel has consistently received excellent rankings for all of its programs. Most recently, New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services ranked Ohel as the number one agency providing foster care services in New York City.