Ecopixel case study
Stowe Land Trust wanted to take charge of its Web presence
©2008 Joe's Pond by Heather Furman
www.stowelandtrust.org ● Launched: 2004 ● Latest redesign: 2012 ● Stowe, Vermont
“Ecopixel understood our budget and our size, and seemed to have a real grasp for the kind of work we do – a non-profit doing local land conservation work. The site was developed in scale with our operation and with room to grow.” –Heather Furman, Executive Director
As part of Stowe Land Trust’s (SLT) efforts to shine the spotlight on the important conservation work they do in the greater Stowe community, the organization realized that an up-to-date and attractive Web presence was essential. They also wanted to take charge of their own Web site content so that they could add information and photos on the fly. All the while, their goal was to harness the Web site’s potential for increasing outreach, education and fundraising.
Challenge: Budget. SLT needed to find a cost-effective Web solution that did not include constant, expensive content updates by Web development professionals.
Solution: Ecopixel deployed a customized Web content management system so the land trust staff could update the site on their own, and in this way they could limit future expenses. The system allows for content updates at a moment’s notice, including new photos of a conservation project or information about an upcoming event. Executive Director Heather Furman explained, “We are a very small organization and we are always busy, so sometimes things don’t get done until they are absolutely needed. When we are able to get onto the site and make changes quickly, it enables us work on tighter timeframes.”
Challenge: No IT staff. The land trust did not have an information technology staffer or webmaster who could create their own site, host it and keep it updated. The system had to be easy and convenient to use.
Solution: Ecopixel trained the staff to add content to their site, and has been available to train new staff, as well. All they needed was an Internet connection and they were off and running. Ecopixel provided on-call tech support in case a staff member had a question about the system. Ecopixel also took care of the Web site hosting and security.
Challenge: Getting the message across. The land trust works on many conservation projects around Stowe and they wanted to showcase these sites with photos and information that emphasized their beauty and importance to the Stowe community.
Solution: Ecopixel designed a template that highlighted SLT’s photography of the sites it was protecting, while also making it easy for staff to upload new photos. The color palette also meshed with the organization’s look and feel. “We needed a site that was easy to update, but not too complicated. We wanted it to look nice and have images of our properties be a prominent piece of our identity.”
Results: In October 2004, Ecopixel and the Stowe Land Trust launched the economical site powered by the content management system. With only a few hours of training, SLT staff added content, including navigation, links and photographs. Since launching the site, SLT has maintained it very effectively with almost no need for assistance from Ecopixel other than hosting. For example, they put what they want on the homepage, when they want to—even if it’s at 11 o’clock at night!
Behind the scenes, Ecopixel has kept the site maintained with the latest content management features and security updates. The site is Web standards-based and designed for accessibility.
Ecopixel also added an online donation component to the SLT Web site that was secure and easy to use. Previously, the land trust did not have an online giving option.
A redesign in 2012 (seen above, right) retained the valuable content that the land trust had created, but improved the layout and navigation options. A news and events tool was also added.