We sat down with Kim Gandy, President and CEO of the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), to discuss the organization’s work, their motivation to enter the .ORG Makeover Contest and the organization’s future goals. With NNEDV’s recent widespread growth, the organization wanted a website that matched its newfound presence. NNEDV felt the need for a fresh start to communicate the organization’s far-reaching capabilities and steadfast commitment. With a more user-friendly and interactive online platform, NNEDV will be better able to raise awareness for its cause.

NNEDV is incredibly excited to share the launch of its new website soon. To learn more about NNEDV and see how they’ll be using the new website to further their cause, check out the full Q&A with Kim Gandy below the fold.

Q: Can you tell us a bit more about the work National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) does?

A: Of course! The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) is a leading voice for survivors of domestic violence. We provide expert training and cutting edge resources on technology safety, transitional housing, economic justice, and much more, to practitioners and advocates across the country through our signature programs. We raise awareness and advocate for change on Capitol Hill and in cities across the nation.

NNEDV is a small but mighty organization! Last year, we collaborated with Facebook to write the first-ever Privacy & Safety on Facebook: A Guide for Survivors of Abuse and had more than 1.1 million visitors – our busiest year to date – on WomensLaw.org, which provides “plain language” legal information for survivors. We also played a leading role in expanding and reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in Congress, and are working to implement important new provisions. Every day, our staff is doing crucial, life-saving work, yet too many people have never heard of us! (We’re working to change that!)

Q: If you had to identify the top three values of your organization, what would they be?

A: (1) Safety; (2) Equality; and (3) Collaboration

Q: How did you hear about the .ORG Website Makeover Contest and what inspired your team to enter?

A: We heard about the .ORG Website Makeover Contest from Salsa Labs. We have been wanting to update our website for quite some time but – as with many nonprofits these days – lacked the funds to make the changes we wanted. After receiving an email from Salsa that advertised the contest, we immediately entered! We thought that it would be a long-shot, but oh, if we won…it could be a dream come true!

Q: NNEDV supporters were very active in the voting process. What were some of the tactics your team used to boost participation and garner votes?

A: Our entire staff has been frustrated with our website and was highly motivated to get the word out! We activated our social media networks (Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and Twitter) and our staff activated their personal networks. I even created a Facebook event so that I could provide frequent updates to my friends and family. We regularly posted encouragement – reminding people to vote every day!

Our national and global network of domestic violence coalitions, local programs, women’s shelters, and supporters were eager to get involved as well – and we soon saw tweets and posts promoting the contest by friends from Iowa to Ireland, Montana to Moldova, American Samoa to Australia – and everywhere in between!

Q: What are some of the biggest challenges your team has faced with NNEDV’s current website? What do you hope to achieve with your new website design from OmniStudios?

A: We really need a fresh start. NNEDV has changed a lot in the last few years and we need an updated, clean look that communicates the breadth and strength of our organization and adequately reflects the tireless work that our amazing staff does day in and day out. Our challenge now is that our website hasn’t changed and grown with us. We’re hoping for a new website design that is current, clean, accessible, inviting, and helps us to better tell the story of who we are and what we do.

Q: How has being a part of the .ORG community and mobilizing NNEDV’s supporters online impacted your organization?

A: It has been incredible to see the groundswell of support from our friends on social media and from our colleagues across the country and around the world – not only during this contest, but throughout the past couple of years, as we have really made an effort to increase our presence in online spaces.

Our .ORG website and other online platforms are a key part of the work that we do and an important place for our supporters to engage with the movement to end domestic violence. Whether by accessing important resources to improve the provision of services or by sending emails urging Congress to support vital legislation, when our supporters mobilize online they strengthen access to safety and justice for survivors of domestic violence. We are so thankful to all of those who engage with us online, and we are so excited to share our new website with them soon!

Q: Before the .ORG Website Makeover Contest, what best practices did your team employ when it came to marketing itself more effectively online? Is there any advice you would offer to other nonprofit organizations and groups who may be struggling to build their online presence?

A: We made the best of what we had! We tried to take a critical look at our website and make regular improvements that were within our constraints (very limited budget and staff time). Fresh content is crucial, so we maintain a calendar to divvy up responsibility among the staff for new web content. We also post to social media as often as we can (but at least once per day) – posting our own content, sharing relevant news stories and content from our allies, and interacting with our supporters.

Q: Would you be able to provide a quick quote explaining why you chose .ORG when you initially set up your organization and website over other top level domains that are available (.COM, .NET, .BIZ, etc.)?

A: .ORG websites are the only way to go for charitable organizations – the .ORG extension provides great visual shorthand for nonprofits, explaining right away that you’re not affiliated with the government or a for-profit business. It’s a subtle, but important, way to communicate that we have a mission to make change in the world.

Q: Where do you hope NNEDV will be in five years with regards to participation, impact, membership numbers, etc.?

A: I hope that NNEDV will be the same great organization, working tirelessly to end and prevent domestic violence – yet everyone will have heard of us!