Howard County Democratic Party Site redesign

By Henri Makembe on 10.25.11

Over the years (not lately), I’ve been making the point that local candidates and local parties should use the internet more effectively to communicate with their constituents.  A little over a year ago, Howard Country Democratic Party chairman, Michael McPherson, reached out to me to help him do just that.  Michael understood that to effectively communicate with his constiuents, he would need to improve the online prensence of his organization. After many phone conversations and emails, we established a budget and scope. We focused on three things:

  1. Redesigning the website to make it easier to navigate. The new site also needed to include event registrations and online fundrasing.
  2. Moving email fuctionality to a more robust CRM.

We talked about many solutions but finally settled on using¬†Salsa Labs Toolset.¬† Salsa decrisbes itself as a one-stop package that all kinds of organizations, campaigns, and companies use for online organizing, advocacy, fundraising, and communications ‚Äď all tied together with a common database that gives organizers a bird‚Äôs eye view of the entire community.

We arrived at this solution for a couple of reasons.

  1. Michael wanted to log-in into one place to maintain the site. This meant that hacking together a solution with various products was not an option.
  2. Maryland Democratic Party established a partnership with Salsa Labs where county parties only have to pay $50/month to get access to the entire suite of tools
  3. Salsa Labs has vibrant community and great support staff (I know having worked with them on may occasions) that Michael could turn to after I was no longer part of the project.  This was an incredily important point. While Michael understood that the using the internet was important part of his overall communication strategy, he is not a technical person. Having someone to turn to beside mysefl, provided an extra layer for confornt.  No one want to be stuck with technology they can’t use.

The result of our work is a simple, functional and elegant site.   Have a look below.