The Nationalities Services Center (NSC) is a stand-out organization in Philadelphia serving immigrants and refugees for more than 100 years. Recently, NSC has experienced a major shift in its identity. The organization used to see themselves as a grassroots agency supporting immigrants in Philadelphia, and now they are a major player in immigration services locally, regionally, and nationally. They needed a website that more accurately reflects who NSC is now, and one that makes it easy for their clients to understand what services they offer and how NSC can support them. A long-term client of Message Agency, NSC came to us to redesign their site, upgrade their CMS from Drupal 7 to 9, and implement their new brand identity on the web.
NSC’s clients are refugees and immigrants, however the site design was catering to donors and funders. Client communication needs, such as translated information about crucial services, were not available, and the organization of content on the site didn’t align with NSC’s areas of focus, which led to confusion for clients seeking support. Program information was often out-of-date because it was difficult for staff to make changes, which created frustration among the NSC team and clients.
While a shift to focus on NSC’s client is necessary, another challenge is presented when considering donors and how to engage them. The organization has been operating successfully for more than 100 years, but has not been able to showcase their impact, which was a potential barrier for recruiting new donors and partners.
A Focus on Clients with Room for Growth
Refugees and immigrants come to NSC’s site looking for a variety of services, from resettlement support and legal services to health care and English classes. Our approach was to prioritize the client audiences and restructure the site content to put less emphasis on NSC’s departments and more on their service lines that they know their clients will be looking for. To do this, the site navigation needed to be straightforward with simple labels to make it easy for audiences to feel confident in finding what they need. Also, language translation options were essential to make the site as inclusive as possible for clientele.
Something that needed to be addressed was ensuring the site was inclusive to all of NSC’s services that have expanded greatly over the years. As an organization that is constantly growing and evolving to best meet the needs of refugees and immigrants, creating a framework that’s flexible and can easily adapt without major technical support was essential. Crisis can strike at any moment, and NSC is known for its ability to respond quickly, which means they need to be able to create landing pages and post content quickly.
Telling NSC’s Story of Impact
We developed a content strategy that elevates the value of NSC’s work and the impact they’re making across the region. The story of what exactly NSC does and how they do it needs to be clear and accessible so that refugees and immigrants can understand the organization and build trust, and donors and partners can evaluate NSC’s value and be inspired to offer their support.
We created more opportunities for testimonials and success stories to be leveraged on the site, and considered how an organization’s story and impact can be told throughout the site. We believe impact does not need to be isolated to an About Us section, but can be weaved throughout the narrative of the entire site.
Removing Barriers for Staff
For a site to be as successful as possible, an organization’s staff need to be able to maintain the site content with minimal barriers. This project was an opportunity to create streamlined internal processes for updating the website. We provide training and an in-depth user guide for content managers, as well as a workshop about creating content for the web to ensure that the site’s not only updated, but the content is following best practices for web.
Additionally, we developed a communications strategy around the launch of the new website to align the NSC team as well as stakeholders, such as clients, volunteers, donors and board members. Launching a site is always a milestone for any organization, and for NSC this was an opportunity to share their story of impact more widely and tell their audiences why a new site was important for them: to better serve their clients. We provided a roadmap for deliverables, such as social media posts and email communications, strategic messaging direction; and next steps to maximize engagement from all of NSC’s audiences.