50CAN is a nonprofit organization on a mission to advocate for high-quality education for all children. Because the group’s efforts are focused on the local level, 50CAN is comprised of 11 campaign states, as well as its own headquarters. This multistate organization requires a WordPress Multisite network of 12 websites; all of which are maintained by the team at Maintainn.
Lead by passionate educators, parents, policymakers, and philanthropists, 50CAN served well over 11 million children and secured 17 policy wins in 2016. The organization is making a true impact that will last for generations to come, making it imperative that 50CAN’s website is as dependable as its commitment to improving education for all children.
The Subscriber: 50CAN
50CAN website visitors (they had over 57,000 of them last year) are searching for information on events and opportunities for getting involved. They also want to learn more about staff members and browse the organization’s photos. Ensuring easy access to 50CAN’s resources is vital to the success of their work and mission.
“While we target people via email, social media and text, the core of our resources sit on our website and people trust they can always find the report, contact or sign-up form they need,” says Singer Crawford, Digital Communications Associate. “Having fully functional websites maintains that trust.”
But not only do the sites need to be functional, they also need to be unique to their specific locale. For example, the goal of the national 50CAN site is to increase the number of people signing up for advocacy training sessions, while JerseyCAN aims to be a hub for parent resources in choosing the best school for their child.
“Our websites allow us to store whatever resources our supporters need to pursue policy change in their community, whether that’s a series of research papers, a guidebook to advocacy or up-to-the-minute legislation tracking,” Singer says. But, just how challenging is it to manage so many websites, each with their own unique goals and content?
“It’s much easier now that they all operate on WordPress. And on the same custom theme, to boot!” exclaims Singer. She reports that because WordPress is so user-friendly, 50CAN’s team members have been able to provide individual state teams the training needed to manage their own websites. Once training is completed and the state’s site is managed locally, the national support staff can redirect its focus on creative ideas for digital engagement.
“We’ve also noticed that when state teams are in charge of their own websites, they feel empowered to try innovative new approaches like quizzes in blogs, donation campaigns and embedded calls to action,” Singer says.
Before Subscribing to Maintainn…
The biggest challenge that 50CAN faced prior to subscribing to Maintainn was that the team didn’t know when and how to perform secure and routine theme and plugin updates.
“We switched from Drupal to WordPress over the course of a yearlong site overhaul,” explains Singer, “After which, our web developers left us without the full understanding of what WordPress maintenance would require.” The biggest indicator that team 50CAN needed access to experts was when, after being thoroughly trained on WordPress, they still couldn’t upload content because they weren’t aware of how weekly plugin updates changed the dynamic of their custom dashboard.
“Having all twelve websites on the same theme was helpful, but when a problem occurred on one, that meant it occurred on all—and having a site error on a dozen sites was too much for one communications specialist to handle on her own,” Singer continues.
After Subscribing to Maintainn…
“Maintainn took control of the things we didn’t even know we had to do to have a functioning website,” Singer says. “Now they handle all our plugin updates and site backups and answer any administrative questions we have along the way.”
On September 16, 2017, HawaiiKidsCAN made its debut, kicking off an Educational Equity Symposium in Honolulu to much fanfare and success! Supporters on and off the Hawaiian Islands can look forward to reading about the event and seeing photos on the organization’s blog. The growth doesn’t end there for 50CAN. Look for the launch of a CAN in New Mexico in early 2018! We certainly look forward to helping this significant and valuable nonprofit group maintain its new website.