In late 2011, the U.S. Programs division of Save the Children turned to Abel Solutions to deploy a new website to share its educational resources with the public and enhance user experience. A year later, the award-winning non-profit has upgraded to SharePoint 2010 and successfully launched its U.S. Center for Child Development and Resiliency website, resulting in enhanced information sharing and collaboration among internal staff, partners and the public.
“We’re connecting people across the country to engage in causes that they really believe in and want to contribute to,” says Katie Nazar, Director of Technology, Monitoring and Evaluation for Save the Children. “We were very much in conceptual mode early on, and Abel Solutions helped ground us and get us on point. They brought a lot of concepts to the table and helped us to create a plan for how to use them.”
The SharePoint 2010 project resulted in an across-the-board upgrade of Save the Children’s U.S. Programs’ existing intranet and partner extranet portals. The effort was paired with the development of the organization’s resource-rich public facing site, the U.S. Center for Child Development and Resilience, which had a soft launch in August 2012.
Formulating the Solution
“The driving force for the project initially was the user experience and keeping up with changing SharePoint technology,” said Kimberly Egan, Technology Project manager for Save the Children’s U.S. Programs.
Working closely with Save the Children’s internal technology staff, Abel Solutions first configured the new platform for internal use, with such enhancements as a streamlined user interface and process improvements with new workflows, then proceeded to develop the public resource website.
“Abel Solutions provided the technical expertise of implementing a public website in SharePoint including design, navigation and graphic feedback,” said Egan. “They enhanced our existing partner registration process to let the public also register and thereby gain access to a new public newsletter and training. They were building the framework for us to be able to share our content with agencies, teachers, schools, administrators, parents, and other members of the public who are also dedicated to the welfare of children.”
Results that Make a Difference
Going forward Save the Children’s aim is that the new U.S. Center for Child Development and Resiliency website will be the key host of Save the Children’s resources and trainings on emergency preparedness and protection for children, early childhood educations, and school-based programs.
“We’re sharing information about our programs with groups and individuals who help children with literacy, nutrition and health- and emergency-related programs for children,” said Egan. “People can watch videos and read documents to find new approaches to their issues.”
Save the Children will also use the new website to create targeted offerings that directly further its mission. “The website provides a single sign-on experience to our training center, where both public members and registered partners will be able to access free training as well as paid training on relevant child development and child protection topics,” said Egan. “We offer a speaker series with high-profile experts in child development, emergency response and other areas. We are also categorizing our research materials by state so lawmakers and activists working on issues can quickly find that information.”
Egan explained that SharePoint 2010’s architecture—and Abel Solutions’ involvement and dedication—enables them to maintain and provide content for the existing portals and the new public website with a very small internal team. “We can push out new content, design new pages and integrate everything within the website quickly,” she said, adding that Abel Solutions handles the more technical “care and feeding” of Save the Children’s SharePoint application and server environment. “If we have a failure, Abel Solutions is extremely responsive. The team has a broad skill set. No one person could play all those roles for us here—it would be cost prohibitive.”