Late in the afternoon last Thursday, we got an exciting phone call. Shannon from the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits informed us that the Morrison County Historical Society had won a Dot.Org Award for our website. Our specific award is the Nifty and Thrifty Award for having used an array of freely available online applications in order to build a significant web presence.
Our website was constructed using WordPress and the highly customizable Atahualpa theme. We pay a small fee for our domain name, but our website is being generously hosted for free by a Web Guru in Nevada who has a soft spot for history. (I’ll refrain from naming him for fear he’ll be inundated with requests for free service.)
We’ve actually built the website using two installations of WordPress, one for the main portion of the website (where you are now) and one for the history portion. We settled on WordPress because it allows us to have a blog as our home page, while letting us create an unlimited number of static pages. We also wanted to move to blogging software because it makes it easy for all staff to contribute to the website without having to have knowledge of web page coding language.
In addition to WordPress, we’re using a number of other applications to enhance our online presence, including Twitter (see the Twitter feed in the upper corner of the right sidebar?) so we can keep something fresh on the website at all times. Other applications we’re using are MailChimp (for an e-newsletter), GiveMN.org (for accepting donations), CafePress (for an online gift shop and print-on-demand publishing), and Facebook (a fan page for people to follow).
Other than our domain name, the only fee we’re paying is $60 per year for a full-featured CafePress shop (find the Shop button in the left sidebar to see our CafePress page).
Through the creative use of readily available online tools, we’ve proven that even a small nonprofit organization can have a dynamic and substantial web presence. If we can do it, so can you.
Thank you, Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, for recognizing our online efforts with the Nifty and Thrifty Award!