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Foundation relies on SharePoint for Flexible, Searchable Internet Site  

"Alto was a responsive IT partner. We needed an Internet site with several unique attributes. Alto maximized SharePoint out-of-the box solutions and also developed custom code where needed.”

-IT Director, Amherst H. Wilder Foundation

Customer and Industry
The Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, non-profit organization                                                            

Project
Design and re-platform Internet site (http://www.wilder.org)       

Technologies
Microsoft SharePoint plus Enterprise CAL (& Standard CAL) and SQL Server

Customer Profile
The Amherst H. Wilder Foundation is a nonprofit health and human service organization. Established in 1906, The Wilder Foundation assists thousands of people each year in the greater Saint Paul metropolitan area through direct service programs, research, leadership and community development at 15 locations.

The Challenge

  • The Amherst H. Wilder Foundation wanted an Internet site that would reflect its image and reputation, deliver useful and useable information to stakeholders, facilitate stakeholder interaction, and catalyze action on vital community issues. The Foundation has a wide variety of stakeholders: people seeking health and human services, non-profits and government entities with which it partners, other non-profits and foundations, corporations, academic researchers, donors, volunteers and the general public.
  • As a nonprofit community organization, the Wilder Foundation wanted a site with robust search functionality so that people could quickly find what they were searching for.
  • To improve the content refresh rate and reduce operating costs it was critical that the new site be dynamic and easy to update by non-technical subject matter experts.  In 2011 alone, Wilder served over 5,000 families, produced 183 research reports and engaged 4,100 individual in events and trainings.
  • The Wilder Foundation wanted an intuitive, aesthetically pleasing Web site with a simple, clean look.

The Solutions

  • Alto built an Internet site on SharePoint Server with 280 pages. The Wilder Foundation opted for the SharePoint platform because its subject matter experts could easily add and edit content without the involvement of the IT department.
  • Alto assisted in the design and visual identity of the new site, including overall architecture, page layouts, navigation elements, color and font specifications, headers and footers, sidebars, use of and treatment of photographs and other graphic illustrations.
  • To ensure that content owners would create and edit content in a consistent manner, we built a customized ribbon feature that specifies font type, color, size, and heading types.
  • Alto customized SharePoint’s Web content management features such as master pages and page layouts to include official Wilder Foundation design and branding guidelines.
  • Alto customized pages on the site to include Web parts that revealed dynamic lists such as an events calendar, news releases and employment listings.

Optimal Search

  • Alto built in strong search capabilities taking advantage of SharePoint’s managed metadata functionality to centrally define taxonomy for content and to easily manage and apply tags to content. Wilder’s publications were tagged by title, topic, author and year. We also developed custom code to further enhance the search capabilities.
  • Alto enabled SharePoint’s Document Set feature as part of content/document management strategy to save Wilder staff time and ensure that standard metadata are being applied. Document Sets help the Foundation manage groups of documents as a single entity and are content types that can be attached to any document library.
  • Alto provided search engine optimization expertise and testing to increase the new site’s organic search engine rankings. We also provided cross-browser testing and support ensuring that the new site was compatible in other operating systems and browsers.

Scalability, engaging users and utilizing analytic reports

  • Wilder wanted to expand its new site without help from the IT department. Alto built site templates which will allow Wilder to quickly and easily deploy new sub-sites to high light programs, upcoming conferences and promote high-profile research publications.
  • Alto incorporated the Foundation’s social media strategy by incorporating links to Facebook and Twitter and the ability to “like” the Facebook page. The site included additional “two-way” communication by incorporating links for users to make financial donations, sign up to receive the volunteer and/or research newsletters or submit general inquiries. Applicable internal alerts were set so that Wilder staff are notified and can respond.
  • By utilizing SharePoint, Wilder can more easily gather site-usage metrics and will have easy insight into which sections and pages are the most popular and which need to be changed.

Summary
By deploying an easy-to-update site with optimal search, The Wilder Foundation developed a platform to deepen its relationship with current stakeholders and to attract new audiences. The new site prominently positions Wilder as a service provider and premier research institution and thought leader that gathers and interprets facts and trends in order to help families and communities in the greater St. Paul metropolitan area thrive. ​​​​​​

Wilder Foundation
Wilder Logo

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