by Sarah Bradham, Director of Marketing & Communications
The past few months have been extremely busy as work proceeds on schedule for the IT Project. To recap the project for those who are just joining us: A major part of the Mazamas 3-year plan, adopted in 2015, was to reinvent our IT systems to catch up to twenty-first century technology. The database solutions we have been using are antiquated, and much of the data that flows through the Mazamas is not captured in our current database. Data such as class registrations, hiking participants, outings participants, and nonmember interactions with the organization are not tracked in one connected system. This project will solve those challenges by creating a database and website that are connected, in which all activities, courses, and membership information flows through one centralized location.
As you can imagine this is a BIG undertaking. We started this process in 2015 by hiring OMBU Web to work with us to determine our system needs and define the project scope. That process involved listening sessions with committees, discussions with key volunteers, and staff interviews. Through those meetings we built a framework for our new system. Once the framework was developed we set work building the new system. The build will be completed in three phases: CRM & IT Tools, Website, and Activities & Multi-Part Activities.
CRM & IT Tools
CRM stands for customer relationship management. The Mazamas will be utilizing Salesforce as our CRM solution. The benefits of Salesforce are significant. It is an extremely widespread CRM tool that receives constant updates and revisions. It is heavily used by nonprofits as it has incredibly competitive pricing for the nonprofit sector. OMBU has built out the Mazamas Salesforce platform with the custom specifications and features needed to manage our broad organization. As the CRM is the brains of the entire system, it was very important to get it built just right. OMBU is currently fixing some of the last few bugs in the CRM.
Website & User Profiles
Now that we have built the brains of the system, we are beginning the work of redesigning the Mazama website. A website is more than just a static way to get information to a reader. Websites these days need to be dynamic, with up to the minute data, easy accessibility and navigation on mobile systems such as smartphones and tablets, and a customized experience for the user.
We have created a new site map that better reflects what the Mazamas does as an organization. This new design will allow a user to quickly and easily find what they need on our site. Our site map is organized around four main buckets of content—Education, Activities, Community, and Get Involved—as the main menu. An Involvement menu will provide direct access to important points of visitor engagement, including joining the organization, volunteering, and logging in to the site, with a utility menu providing quick access to a fully faceted calendar, site search, and About Us functionality.
Whether it is searching the classes we are offering, finding an activity for the upcoming weekend, or learning about the Mazamas history, the information will be quickly accessible.
Activities & Multi-Part Activities: Connecting the dots
This will the last part of the system to be built, and it involves connecting the CRM & IT Tools and Website & User Profiles to create a robust user experience for everyone who interacts with the Mazamas.
With the new website, a few of the things you will be able to do:
- Create a profile
- Manage your Mazama membership
- Update your contact information
- Sign up for classes and activities
- Sign up for a volunteer project
- Track your volunteer hours
- Get all information about your class or activity
View your entire history of interaction with the Mazamas (membership history, climb & hike history, education history)
Class Coordinators & Activity Leaders will be able to:
- Manage activities
- Manage courses
- Source volunteers
- Manage a committee/team members
Propose email communications to a segmented group of people (i.e. email everyone who has taken Advanced Rock in the last year)
This is just an overview of some of the things a user will be able to do on the new Mazama website. We are excited to keep moving this project forward and deliver a great product to Mazama members, volunteers, and the larger community of people who participate with the Mazamas.