The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Twin Cities 2015, May 2-3

HOPE Coalition

We deal with the really TOUGH stuff, serving the abused and disadvantaged – victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse and homelessness. It’s challenging work, indeed, but we are truly passionate about it!

Simply out, we help families in crisis rebuild their lives. As the only agency providing domestic violence, child abuse programming and sexual assault services in 3 rural counties (Goodhue/Wabasha, MN, and Pierce, WI), there is, sadly, no shortage of people in need of our assistance: we serve around 1,500 each year. At our domestic violence shelter, we not only serve women and their children from southeast MN and the Twins Cities metropolitan area, but will also accept them from anywhere in the state, and occasionally beyond if there’s a safety reason to do so.

Our services are:

• Haven of Hope domestic violence shelter: 24-hour crisis line; support groups; systems/individual advocacy; emergency shelter in secure facility (24 beds); safety planning; legal advocacy for restraining orders/CHIPS (Children in Need of Protection) petitions; and information/referral. # served 2013-14: 316

• Kids Count Abused Children’s Program: youth advocacy program providing safety/support to youth 0-18 who’ve experienced abuse/neglect or witnessed violence. Crisis intervention, advocacy, safety planning, support groups, field trips for youth/families, school enrollment, transportation, referrals and community education. # served 2013-14: 153

• Sexual Assault Services: 24-hour crisis/support line; short-term emotional support; advocacy during medical exams, law enforcement interviews, and civil and/or criminal court matters; safety planning; assistance in securing emergency services; support groups; transportation (as necessary); information and referral; assistance in filing victim compensation claims; collaboration with other social service providers; and access to culturally appropriate interpreters and materials. # served April to end of October 2014: 26

• Housing Support Services: shelter, emergency housing support, transitional housing, case management, self-sufficiency skills to homeless people and those at risk of becoming so. # served 2013-14: 339

• Community Care Fund: assists families in crisis and unable to pay for basic necessities or living expenses (rent, food, utilities, medical needs, and transportation to get to work/medical appointments. Develops self-sufficiency, to reduce future support needed. # served 2013-14: 708

We have 22 years of experience in human services to the abused and disadvantaged, including 19 providing domestic violence services. Despite being an agency assisting people in the direst crises, and despite the funding challenges faced by most human services non-profits, we’ve demonstrated durability, stability, and the ability to take on new challenges (e.g. taking over at short notice last year - at the request of the MN Office of Justice Programs - provision of sexual assault services to 2 counties), all the while maintaining an array of desperately–needed services.

We’re proud of the way a supporter recently described us: “HOPE Coalition does the very best it can, in the middle of nowhere, with next to nothing, for those most in need.”

What new functionality we are looking for

Oh, where to start, given that our website is such an awful “dog’s breakfast”?! Of course, we know only too well that we need less words, more images/videos, and far better and simpler organization, so that website users don’t get frustrated, or give up, trying to get to the information they seek.

Essentially, we have two quite different website audiences, with varying reasons for coming to us: people in crisis seeking help, and donors/supporters. Consequently, our website serves a dual purpose. For those seeking help (who are likely in crisis, and acutely stressed), it needs to provide – very quickly and easily - information on exactly how we can help, what to do next, and (if we can’t help, who can). Given this, we’d like to see the following (listed in no particular order of importance) on our website:

• A “Contact Us” button, with choices regarding specific subject, that would send a message to the relevant program/staff member

• A “Live Chat” button for some services (e.g. Sexual Assault Services), embedded in the relevant program’s pages

• A way to be able to call our two emergency lines directly from the website (is this even possible?)

• Direct links to other agencies/services, if we are unable to assist.

• A map, and directions for where to find us.

• A “quick escape” and immediate “delete search history” capabilities for people looking at our domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault pages. This is to protect victims of these crimes from their abusers and to maintain their privacy.

For those using the website who are donors/supporters, we need to be able to highly effectively tell our story, and encourage support. To this end, we’d like to see the following (again, listed in no particular order of importance):

• A slider with links to our GiveMN site and different donation amounts/images, e.g. “$25.00 gives a gas voucher to a struggling family, so a parent can get to work and not lose his/her job.” “$50.00 provides a rape victim the support of a Sexual Assault Advocate during a medical exam, law enforcement interview or court hearing.”

• A “Donate Now” button on the landing page with links to our Give MN Site

• A searchable calendar on the “Upcoming Events” page

• Short videos of client stories

• Ability to purchase tickets to fundraising events, etc. directly from the website

• A “Keep me updated” button, with easy sign-up for our newsletter

• We haven’t set up Twitter yet, but when we do, a link to that feed

• The ability for churches, service clubs, and other community groups to schedule a HOPE Coalition, or program-specific, presentation, via a searchable calendar.

Finally, there are a few administrative capabilities it would be wonderful to have, too:

• Ability to allow applicants for employment to complete and submit job applications and upload resumes, references, cover letters, etc. directly from the website.

• Ability for volunteers to be able to complete and submit applications, and upload other documents to send directly to us.

• Capability for employment/volunteer applicants to complete and submit background check forms directly to our provider for this service.

• A separate and restricted “staff” section with policy manuals, forms, etc. Staff could also have access to announcements, schedules, and special trainings, for when they are not physically in the office or at work.

How the new functionality will help

Our mission is: To end domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and homelessness so that every person has the opportunity to live life to its fullest, while treating those we serve with respect, compassion, and dignity.

We fulfill it, first, by providing direct services to those in crisis, struggling with the issues listed. Among our major concerns for those seeking help from us are:

• Getting them help as quickly and effectively as possible

• Their safety

• Their privacy

A new website would help us better assist those needing help (who are often in crisis or profoundly stressed) by:

• Getting information on exactly how we can help in a far clearer and easier fashion than our current website does. When we are unable to help, direct links to other agencies/services would save people a lot of time and from missing out on available assistance of which they might otherwise be unaware.

• Enabling domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault victims to reach out for help entirely anonymously via a “Contact Us” button, and especially via a “Live Chat” button. Victims of assault and abuse have numerous difficulties to overcome in reaching out for help, not least of which can be shame, a greatly-diminished sense of self-worth, a desire for anonymity, and the watchful, threatening presence of their abuser.

• Giving victims contacting us additional safety form their abusers through a “quick escape” and an immediate “delete search history” function, and by being able to call our two emergency lines directly from the website.

The second way in which we fulfill our mission is by being able to fund it! A new website would enable us to tell our story in a far more coherent, engaging fashion and enhance fund development opportunities. For example:

• We know that our clients’ stories are very moving indeed, and to have them on the website in short 1-2 minute videos, would be far more effective than lengthy written stories.

• To date, we have used a very cumbersome, labor-intensive, offline system for sales of tickets to our fundraising events, e.g. our annual banquet and auction. The ability to streamline this online would be considerably more user-friendly for supporters and save inordinate amounts of staff time (and frustration!)

The third way we fulfill our mission is through education and raising awareness of the difficult social problems with which we are dealing. The ability to do so more clearly and effectively through a better website, and by a presentation-scheduling calendar is of immeasurable, long-term benefit.

And the final way in which we fulfill our mission is by having the right, skilled, compassionate and committed staff to do the vital, life-rebuilding work with clients, engage with donors and supporters, and inform the community at large. Operating a secure 24-hour facility (Haven of Hope domestic violence shelter) and two round-the-clock emergency hotlines is not only costly, but makes scheduling staff meetings, trainings, etc. particularly difficult. A separate and restricted “staff” section on the website would go a long way to assisting with some of these issues.

Being able to have job and volunteer applicants complete their applications online and upload supporting documents would not only streamline the process for applicants, but save considerable staff time and effort.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

50 Messages from Supporters

2015-04-02 21:10:20 UTC

HOPE Coalition is a great organization and they provide invaluable services to the communities they serve. It would be wonderful if they had a website that was a reflection of the amazing work they do and the services they offer!

2015-04-02 21:39:10 UTC

Help HOPE help those who need it most! A new website would be PHENOMENAL for this much-needed non-profit.

2015-04-03 20:07:55 UTC
Kristina A.

Hope Coalition is an invaluable resource within our community.....respecting, serving and empowering individuals that have been affected by the epidemic of violence and homelessness in our society. I have had the privilege of meeting some of the staff and know how incredibly committed they are to the organization and it’s mission. A new website for the Hope Coalition would be of tremendous benefit in increasing awareness of the organization and it’s capacity to be a place of strength & hope for the population it serves.

2015-04-02 21:22:38 UTC
Kris Kvols

Jo's list of what we wish our website could do is spot on. HOPE Coalition serves about 1,500 people annually - many of whom are in poverty. HOPE Coalition needs a website that fully serves clients, donors, and our community in general. Unfortunately, we do not have the money, staff, or time to design or hire someone to design a state-of-the-art website. The template we currently use is five years old and very outdated considering how fast the technology changes. The template provider charges fees for each significant change to the site. Without the Nerdery, HOPE Coalition will not be able to upgrade our website to meet the needs of clients, donors, staff, volunteers, and community members.

2015-04-02 21:24:52 UTC

HOPE coalition provides a tough, but critical services. Our community is better because they ae here.

2015-04-02 21:31:37 UTC

Kids Count is a safe place for kids to go when they are experiencing abuse. The kids are able to attend support groups, where they do not have to feel alone. The kids could always use a positive role model to be involved in their lives. With your help to make the website easier to navigate. Those individuals would be able to get the information easier. Instead of finding it difficult or confusing. With your help it would be making a difference in the children's lives and future.

2015-04-02 22:01:23 UTC

Hope Coalition serves so many in Goodhue, Wabasha and Pierce Counties. A website with updated functions like live chat capability could do wonders for increasing outreach and accessibility to those who are in a crisis situation.

2015-04-02 21:01:00 UTC

The HOPE Coalition spends the funds it has helping people improve their lives. Through their many programs this amazing group of caring people, work with families in transition - from homeless to safe, from unemployed to employed, from frightened to secure. They help abused and battered people learn how to keep themselves safe, and away from those who cause them harm. Renter learn how to deal with landlords, neighbors learn how to be neighborly, children learn who to trust and all of this is done on minimal funds.

Any help they can get improving their online identity will allow more time, patience and loving care go to those with whom they work. I cannot think of a better use of time and funds!

2015-04-02 21:16:04 UTC

The Hope Coalition does so many good things for so many people in this area. A better website could help more victims find out the services they offer AND help HOPE get more volunteers to help victims.

2015-04-02 22:12:19 UTC

HOPE coalition provides services to meet the almost invisible needs in communities thought SE MN. A new website would help those who need the services get access more easily, staying anonymous when needed and getting direct access when needed. They deserve and can make the most of an easy to use website

2015-04-03 20:08:53 UTC

HOPE Coalition is a crucial service in our community. Having a new website will have a great impact for them and those in need!

2015-04-02 22:44:00 UTC

As a volunteer for Hope Coalition and also as a director for a company that partners directly with them, I see first hand how many lives are effected so favorably by this organization. They work with all ages, all backgrounds, male/female adult or child. Many have a place to stay at night, electricity and heat, food to eat and choices to make in several areas because of this devoted organization.

This new website would enable more people to reach Hope Coalition and also help the victims to learn of the services that are provided. Hope provides very individual services for each of their clients. This new website would be a blessing to both client and Hope Coalition.

2015-04-03 00:43:58 UTC

Without the support services provided by Hope Coalition I would have never had the strength to face my abuser in court & obtain the restraining order that saved my family! Please help them in saving more families & literally lives by improving the website.

2015-04-03 03:19:48 UTC

i support many worthwhile non-profits in the geographical area in which HOPE Coalition works. They all make important contributions to the communities and constituencies they serve. HOPE Coalition rises to the top. The work they do is tough, really tough, and they do it with passion - effectively - . I can't think of another organization that deserves the assistance of Nerdery any more than does HOPE Coalition. They are highly respected not only for the critical work they do, but for the businesslike manner in which their agency is managed. This is a four star organization and to receive this kind of boost would be a gift that would help them to serve even more efficiently and effectively a population that deserves every chance possible..

2015-04-03 11:57:39 UTC
Patti Jo Seymour

Hope is a "lifeline" to desperate women and children.they are protectors,and they are non profit so anything to help get their message out is crucial!

2015-04-03 13:42:02 UTC
John Anderson

HOPE Coalition is a wonderful organization that demonstrates one of the many ways the people of Red Wing care about those around them. Red Wing would not be the same place it is without this fantastic group!

2015-04-03 15:50:13 UTC

Hope Coalition provides such needed services in our community. Without Hope Coalition we would have a big hole! So many people who use the services of Hope Coalition are at the end of their rope. An easy to use website could make all the difference for someone who is reaching out. Please help Hope Coalition reach out to the people who need help.

2015-04-03 13:21:53 UTC

HOPE obtaining a more effective and interactive website could save lives. When people come to the HOPE site, they are most likely looking for two things: 1) They are possibly in crisis, or know someone in crisis and are attempting to grab a life line or 2) They are potential donors looking to make a donation to a wonderful cause.

With that said, the website needs to effectively help those people in need by directing them to help. This includes a site that is compatible with mobile devices. Your help could make this possible. And if you make it easier or faster for a victim to ask for help, you will change lives.

Also, if a potential donor can see photos and a wonderful profile of HOPE -- one that paints a picture of what HOPE does. If that website can take the next step and make it easier to donate, it would be wonderful. The easier it is to give to HOPE, the more donations HOPE will undoubtedly receive. HOPE will use that money to provide the crucial services to people in crisis. Once again, if you provide a web site that does this, you change lives.

I believe that a better web site that would provide better, faster access to victims could actually save lives.

And bettering human lives, and possibly saving them is a truly noble choice. You cannot make a better choice than HOPE.

2015-04-03 14:20:18 UTC

HOPE Coalition does an amazing job in a large rural area of working with people who are in crisis. While many areas has a separate organization for each of the huge social ills of the world, HOPE handles all of them: child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence and homelessness. All this with a relatively small staff compared to the huge issues. Having an up-to-date website that could do much of the work for them would help immensely. I sincerely hope that your group helps HOPE create a spectacular website.

2015-04-03 15:55:54 UTC
Mandy Arden

In order to better serve victims, HOPE needs to have a functional and easy to navigate website. Please help HOPE continue to educate the community, speak for those who don't yet have the courage, and most importantly serve victims. For HOPE provides hope to everyone they come in contact with.

2015-04-03 17:22:52 UTC
Suzanne H. Simonson

HOPE is a service that must have help and financial support. The new website is a must for helping protect the safety of our very dear and special children, We must bring them forward into a world that they will have love and a secure brighter future. HOPE needs this website our loving children need this website.

2015-04-03 17:45:43 UTC

I wish we didn't need a service such as Hope Coalition, but sadly we do - even in the bucolic countryside. Hope Coalition is a vital support net for women and children in need that provides not only physical, but emotional support during times of crisis when their outlook seems desperately bleak. This worthy organization needs the support of a sensational website to get the word out & make the connections to those in most need of its services so they can again have hope.

2015-04-03 18:33:06 UTC

Hope Coalition has a very good reputation in Red Wing, MN. It is considered a solid organization that provides excellent services to an underserved population. Most of the company's energy goes into serving clients but they do need a professional website. Often this can't be afforded. I would strongly support helping this organization out. They are good, solid, and really need a good website!

2015-04-03 18:36:07 UTC

Awesome organization in our community aiding so many with dignity and empowerment! Help Hope help others, please!

2015-04-03 22:17:41 UTC

When someone is in acute crisis, they are overwhelmed and need to find help quickly. First responders (such as law enforcement, social workers or medical personnel) also need to know how to reach HOPE's crisis lines easily and immediately. If it takes someone more than three clicks to find the info they need, they might abandon the effort. HOPE's current website needs SEO (Google 'rape crisis goodhue county' and see what you get)!- and many other crucial website features that other organizations have been using routinely for years.

A chat feature DOES encourage people to reach out when a phone call seems too frightening or embarrassing. Sometimes that's all it takes for someone to find the courage and support to get on the path to safety and healing. Please, help HOPE with a website, a critically important asset and essential tool! HOPE wants every opportunity available to serve a client, impress a potential donor, or acquire an employee or volunteer.

2015-04-04 00:03:53 UTC

What HOPE does is so important and generally so unseen and undervalued by society. But to the survivors they bring hope. HOPE works on a tight budget doing very hard work. Lets give them a hand and help them offer hope.

2015-04-04 00:40:39 UTC

I am back on my feet again because of hope coalition. They helped me more than I can describe. Their website is from the 1900s though.

2015-04-04 03:04:28 UTC

HOPE Coalition is a prime mover in Red Wing for assisting persons who have experienced violence in their relationships. As people in the Goodhue County area have learned about and supported HOPE, the agency has given more back to the community with greater support services, organizing community leaders to provide a voice for the survivors of violence, and represented the interests of families and individuals throughout all our communities. If it was not for HOPE Coalition a great many educational and direct services would not be available. This organization has excellent working community support, and is a proud agency to be recognized by the MN Council of Non-profits for excellence in organization skills and services.

2015-04-04 14:07:13 UTC

HOPE Coalition is such an integral part of our community through the incredible work it does for persons in need. And that work is leadership of the highest quality as it encourages all of us in the Red Wing community to always do more, to reach out more, to care more. HOPE helps everyone become better people.

2015-04-04 15:10:46 UTC

Hope Coalition helps those in our area at their times of most crisis. They are a calm, rounded place that people can get a large variety of services.

2015-04-06 14:04:52 UTC

HOPE Coalition takes on some of the most difficult challenges in the community with great skill and compassion. The safety net it provides people in their most trying times allows them to breathe and know they're not alone. An updated and functional website will help them better serve their clients and promote their services. HOPE Coalition is a tremendous asset to the community.

2015-04-06 17:52:13 UTC

Hope Coalition fills an important role in our community. They provide needed services to children, youth, women and families. Hope Coaliton steps up to fill gaps in service when identified - they are not afraid of a challenge. our community is a better place because of Hope.

2015-04-06 20:00:05 UTC

The Hope Coalition serves a very diverse population of clients that face very challenging situations. Hope Coalition has improved the quality of life for many individuals and families in its service area by helping them take control of their lives.

2015-04-06 20:34:27 UTC

Hope Coalition does more and more everyday to make our community a better place... for everyone!

2015-04-07 12:50:49 UTC

Hope Coalition reaches out to so many underserved and at risk people in our community. A website would help this great organization to become even better.

2015-04-07 01:46:05 UTC

Red Wing is a better place for many to live because of the services Hope Coalition offers.

2015-04-07 04:08:20 UTC

Hope coalition provides so many important services in our communities and county.
It helps so many who would not have services through any other agency. Please help us spread the good work and good will of Hope Coalition!

2015-04-07 03:45:34 UTC

Hope Coalition is a well-respected agency in our community that provides support for families in crisis in our community. The opportunity for an updated website would provide valuable opportunities for those seeking services, information and support. Increased awareness of advocacy, volunteer and funding needs would enhance community outreach possibilities. Budgeting for a website redo is costly and diverts funding needed to provide services. It is my hope that you will reward Hope Coalition for the work they do to make lives better for those who call our community hope. Choose Hope Coalition’s for this website makeover opportunity!

2015-04-07 14:19:52 UTC

HOPE helps so many people in our region. To better serve others please support them.

2015-04-07 14:18:16 UTC

HOPE does the important work in our community of creating a safe place for families in our community experiencing a crisis. Improving their website would make it easier for people to learn about the resources they provide and for them to help more folks in our community.

2015-04-07 15:09:11 UTC

Hope Coalition provides so many necessary services to our communities. I hope the vision of a new website will become a reality!

2015-04-07 15:30:26 UTC

The Hope Coalition has earned the reputation as the 'go to' headquarters in Red Wing for those in a wide variety of needs. The leadership there has been outstanding and they have gained the community's respect and trust.

2015-04-07 16:15:01 UTC

As many have written, Hope Coalition is a highly respected, well-run organization which provides many necessary services, as efficiently and compassionately as they can over a three county area. But like all nonprofits, resources are limited. Redoing Hope's website will have a significant impact on almost every aspect of its functioning, improving their ability to reach out to those in need, to provide education to the community, to raise funds, and to run the agency more generally. What a high yield for your investment! And both Hope and the communities it serves will be most appreciative.

2015-04-07 17:35:49 UTC

Hope Coalition has made a huge POSITIVE impact in the Red Wing Schools! So many of our students benefit either directly or indirectly from the services provided. We would be a mess without them!

2015-04-07 19:50:11 UTC

HOPE Coalition is an incredible organization and leader in our community providing critical services to those truly most vulnerable. They couldn't be more deserving of an updated website to further their mission by communicating their services to their clientele as well as their donors and volunteers and educating the public on such important community issues. Their website serves many purposes and they could benefit greatly!

2015-04-07 20:54:52 UTC

Hope Coalition is the last safety available for those at risk, both adults and children. Their work can literally make the difference in certain live and death situations.

2015-04-08 04:48:33 UTC

Hope Coalition is there for the people who can't help themselves because of something out of control in their lives. The people who give of themselves to help these people are amazing.

2015-04-08 17:05:53 UTC

I watch the people from Hope Coalition hard at work every day. They are dedicated and caring, doing a job that is often thankless, caring for the abused, under served people of a rural county, where options for help are limited. I also see the people that come in seeking help. They are desperate, sometimes for something as simple as diapers for a baby. Anything that would help get the word out that help is available would be a boost to those most in need, and might also open the doors to more resources from donors. This organization deserves the help of a web-site developer! Let them concentrate on doing what they do best, helping people!

2015-04-09 15:09:18 UTC

As a staff member of HOPE Coalition that helps with the website, I am very excited of the possibility of inquiring a new website that would be more user friendly. The items that Jo listed above are all spot on. As HOPE Coalition has greatly expanded our services, our website doesn't accommodate what is needed to properly reach out to those in need, volunteers, potential employees, and donors.
With the Nerdery, we would be able to serve our clients better and faster. We are unable to do this work ourselves due to time and resources. Thank you for your consideration!

2015-04-10 03:39:16 UTC

As a former founder/employee/board member, I can attest to the grass roots beginning of a small town shelter for battered and homeless women and children. The services that HOPE provides to our community are essential and updating their technology and public awareness through new and user friendly means would be a huge gift to this program. Many families could have access to services through the "wish list" that HOPE has proposed for a new and improved website. Please help them continue to do the important work they do reaching out to victims and providing support and resources.

Our Mission

Our mission is: To end domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and homelessness so that every person has the opportunity to live life to its fullest, while treating those we serve with respect, compassion, and dignity.