Michelle Murphy and Evelyn Kelch
- What did you want to find out at the start of your project?
At the start of this project, we were looking for a full complement of technology solutions, specifically a new website, membership management system, e-commerce capabilities, an email newsletter system and even a CRM database. We were looking for a miracle solution to handle all of these tasks at a reasonable price. This list was definitely a tall order.
- What did you actually do?
After meeting with the mentors, we focused our project on researching what people who visit the Carnegie Gallery website are looking for. The goal was to use this information to plan a new website. We surveyed our board of directors, membership and other key stakeholders, as well as approximately 700 other contacts on our email distribution list. The feedback we received served to inform our decisions about website content and what our membership is looking for. We were also able to gather information about programming and interest in e-commerce.
- What was the most difficult thing you found?
The hardest part was finding focus. With the pandemic and temporary closures of the Gallery, the urgency to ‘get online’ was ever present. All of the elements that we needed were viewed as equally important. However, by scaling down our project, we were able to focus on what was most important.
- What surprised you?
The number of complete responses we received for the survey was surprising. Also, we were surprised by the number of helpful suggestions that came along with the scripted questions that supported our existing efforts and provided guidance on the elements to improve on. There was a significant interest in e-commerce from those surveyed.
- What is next for you and/or your org?
We launched the new e-commerce website in early January and have had some success with it. Now we are working on updates to the content and design of our primary website. These two platforms will work together to provide a wide overview of the Carnegie Gallery and help us fulfill our mandate to support local art and artists. A regular review of the data provided by these platforms will serve to inform decisions as we move forward.
- What 3 quick takeaways would you give to help future participants/your current fellow participants?
1. Have a clear goal in mind before getting started.
2. Break your project down into manageable pieces.
3. Don’t be afraid of technology; use it to your advantage.