Technically, this should really appear under the Project Portfolio. But the story of this project won’t fit in three bullet points. Just wanted to spend a few minutes on a quick micro site for a non-profit, education foundation that supports McPherson Magnet School.
Each of our projects and clients has a story to tell, and we’d like to share that when we can.
The McPherson Education Foundation is tasked with pushing the technology envelope at McPherson Magnet School amidst a bureaucracy that is slow, by nature and by design, to change. With this freedom, the foundation has the unenviable task of funding these initiatives. McPherson Magnet is a K-8 public school in Orange, California which focuses on Math, Science, and Technology.
Fundraising and Story Telling
One of the major fund-raising events of the year is a raffle during the spring Open House. A number of teachers, parents, individuals and local businesses with a heart of giving contribute really fantastic donations. The gamut runs from autographed Angels baseballs, to rock climbing outings, to local artists sketches, to basketball and pizza with teachers. Each of these items, events and contributors, in turn, has a story to tell.
That’s a lot of story-telling.
Volunteers assembled gift baskets over the weekend, and a talented local photographer (and parent) came in to photograph the baskets that were ready.
In all, there were some 100 baskets ready for the raffle a few days later.
One of the challenges with an Open House is sheer craziness of events going on in a short few hours. How do you streamline the evening, yet prepare parents and kids with the variety of raffle items?
With a very small (repeat, very small) window of time, we tried a little experiment. Our team at meshbrains quickly put together a dynamic site, based on Rails, MongoDB, and the magical little isotope.js library. The site allows the volunteers coordinating the raffle to upload images and descriptions, as well as classifying the grade levels and ticket ranges. The school staff sent out a link to the micro-site a few days early as a part of an email blast reminding parents about the Open House. Parents and kids could get the inside scoop on all the great goodies before stepping on campus.
The turn out at Open House was fantastic.
The school has some 800 students. In 48 hours, the site had about 250 unique visitors, averaging 5 minutes and 30 seconds on the site. This was the first year, so this is our baseline. Post-game commentary indicated that once the kids learned of the site, they were most curious about the items. Though the email blast was geared to the parents, the kids were most excited and wanted to know ahead of time what was going to be at the raffle. The foundation can explore new communication channels next year.
We didn’t get a chance to add more story telling. With some more advance preparation, we could better recognize contributors, link to local businesses, and add background to many of the unique offerings.
The site won’t win any design awards. Quick and dirty, it got the job done. We don’t know the specific fiscal impact the site had, but it feels like it was in the right direction. Sometimes that’s enough.