ERIC ENNO TAMM / JUNE 16, 2008 / Our new website launch wouldn’t be complete without recognizing the generous support of Mountain Equipment Co-op and its members. A grant from MEC made our new website possible.

In our mission to build the conservation economy, we realized the our online presence was woefully lacking. Our old website had come into existence in 1999. It had served us well, but we were effectively driving a Model T Ford on the information superhighway. We needed a more robust website, capable of Web 2.0 functionality such as Youtube videos, slide shows, Google maps, blogs, RSS feeds and so on.

We decided on Drupal, open-source software and a content management system for websites. We had used Drupal to revamp the Aboriginal Mapping Network, and felt that the strong Drupal developer community in Vancouver and its robust social networking possibilities would serve us the best in the long run.

We hired two fantastic design firms in Vancouver to build the site: Neal Maher and Tim Walker at Biro Creative provided the creative direction and Philip Djwa, Emily Birr and Darko Hrgovic at Agentic actually built the site.

And we have Mountain Equipment Co-op to thank for providing us with a generous capacity building grant. Communications has got to be one of the most difficult things for nonprofits to fundraise for. I’ve heard this from several other communications managers at nonprofits as well. In fact, communicaitons is often the first thing to be cut when grants need to scaled back or budgets tightened. And so, I was a bit astonished when MEC agreed to help fund our Web 2.0 communications strategy.

My own view is that this grant is going to give us a big bang for the bucks: it’s going to allow us to reach new audiences, tell our story in a more vivid way through online videos and photographs, connect conservation entrepreneurs, market our services, and become a valuable online resource for our partners, funders and friends who share our mission to build a conservation economy. Ultimately, it’s about boosting the productivity of our organization, giving us more social impact.

So, our sincere thank you to Mountain Equipment Co-op for helping to kick-start us on the information superhighway.