Volunteers help bring your mission to life. They come because they want to help. But without strong communication, neither of you will get what you need out of the relationship.

Despite the organization’s scale, Yale Law School has a small, mighty, and over-extended team just like many of you. While Reunion would never work without the commitment of their volunteers, supporting them consumes a hefty amount of time.

A few weeks ago we talked about evolving the brand look for Reunion. Another key part of that project was developing a microsite for reunion communications.

A microsite is a stand-alone website that serves a specific need. They can be hosted on a sub-domain of your brand or a separate domain altogether. Microsites can be helpful in a number of ways.

1. Branding

Your main website likely has a design theme that is built into the code. You can only shift that so much before the site becomes confusing to navigate. When you have content that needs to look different, like a conference or an event with its own brand, you’re stuck.  Creating a microsite allows you to create a new theme with logos, colors and fonts specific to the project. By building a separate small site for Reunion volunteers we were able to use the brand theme throughout the site to tie it to all the other materials volunteers would see.

2. Direct Access

With a microsite you can use a different URL. This keeps users from getting lost hunting through your main site for the specific content they need. And without the weight of the full site’s content, users can stay focused on the task at hand.

3. Information Repository

Yale was answering questions and sharing documents with volunteers via email one request at a time. By creating a microsite, Q&A, examples, and downloadable tools are all housed together in one place. Access is password protected and the content just needs an annual update change the reunion year each cycle. 

4. Technology

Some websites are huge behemoths. Others are technically complicated — or don’t have the features you need for a specific use case. Yale faced all of these challenges. Despite the hurdles of building a separate site that still complied with all their security and accessibility policies, it was faster than modifying the primary site. 

5. Audience Focus

The main Law School site needs to attract new students and connect alumni to opportunities. It has a wide range of audiences. The Reunion microsite acts a toolkit for volunteer Class Chairs — a small and very specific audience. By only concerning ourselves with them, we focused on tailoring the site to their needs.

Transitioning from one-on-one personal support to a self-service platform takes time. Adoption is growing, with more volunteers logging into the site this year than last. Another benefit of a site is data collection. You can learn what’s working and what still creates sticking points that can be addressed in your next update.

Microsites are one path to solving communication challenges. Where are your communications feeling stuck? We’d love to help. Set up a call and let’s find a solution!

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