The Salvation Army's Western Pennsylvania Division has completed a major overhaul of its website to better serve its volunteers, donors, and especially those in need. Fran Brace, the division's director of development, says because thousands of families' lives in the region depend on the services of the Salvation Army, it's critical that the electronic gateway to the organization is user-friendly.
"What it's trying to do is add ease to navigating around our site, and also for individuals to get updated information on and press releases we put out there, on any stories of interest to them," Brace said. "It also updates our programs and services across the 28 counties, so it's really engaging the community more."
She says their site is now more streamlined with social media links and is a comprehensive resource for government and other referring agencies to better serve those seeking assistance. According to Brace, a more robust website also is more cost-effective by directing funds away from printing materials and toward direct client assistance.
"We want to have a better conversation and relationship to engage our community, and we want to make it easy for them to learn about the Salvation Army and what we have to offer," Brace said.
She said the overhaul is also a response to donors who have been demanding a more efficient way to contribute.
"I think it's important for the donor to understand when they donate to the Salvation Army, the impact they are having and changing lives," Brace said. "So by having the blogs, and we have Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, and we are gathering followers to those, so there are people that are interested about the Salvation Army and the impact we're having."
In 2004, Christmas giving via the Internet to the the Pittsburgh region's Salvation Army was $17,000. Online contributions rose to $120,000 during the 2011 Christmas season.