Operating a national academic honor and professional society requires careful administration in order to benefit its members and the community it serves.
The mission of Sigma Phi Omega is to recognize excellence in the study of gerontology and services to older adults. As an outreach for its national organization, the Sigma Phi Omega website serves as a hub for their members. They are students, educators, administrators, and practitioners who work in a wide variety of settings to serve aging adults.
However, Sigma Phi Omega’s prior website struggled to serve the needs of the organization in an efficient manner. As a national organization with chapters across the country, making up-to-date information available was important to administrative staff. The original website struggled to provide timely information without extensive maintenance efforts. Potential new members found it difficult to join the society through the site, hampering membership growth.
Applications for membership could not be processed on the site. There was no way to securely handle credit card transactions to pay membership dues or for merchandise. Updating the website’s content was difficult and time-consuming, and could not be done by Sigma Phi Omega staff.
Clearly, it was time for a new, updated website that gave the power back to Sigma Phi Omega.
Website Development to Meet the Needs of a National Organization
In a series of meetings with Sigma Phi Omega, Lieberman Technologies developed a list of issues to tackle on the original site. Among them:
Processing Payments, Adding Members, and Administrative Speed with WordPress
The process for joining Sigma Phi Omega involved mailing an application with fees. Then, those fees were transferred to the organization’s treasurer while the local branch worked through the paperwork. It was a process that was lengthy and dated, and not like the instant response college students expect.
- e-Commerce: The successful conversion of the membership database into an easy-to-manage e-commerce solution allows for the creation of new memberships through a simple, convenient shopping cart that accepts major credit cards. For current members, membership renewals can be even done quickly and easily from a smartphone.
Each Chapter Has Their Own Newsletters to Contribute
There are hundreds of chapters across the nation, it was hard for each chapter to know what others were doing.
- Custom Forms: In the easy to use WordPress dashboard we created a newsletter section. Now, all chapters submit information about their activities, share ideas, and create connections among members regardless of location.
Easy Updates and New Content Anytime
Administrators could not easily make changes to the site because the original platform required in-depth knowledge of code as well as experience with graphic design. In order to make an update, they had to pay someone familiar with the original design and code.
- Editable Content: WordPress is flexible, customizable, and almost universal. The new site makes it easy for them to see up-to-date information regarding administration, chapter advisors, member affiliation, and university/chapter-specific data. Administrators have complete control over content and can easily edit text and photos on just about every part of the public-facing website.
In addition to addressing these issues, Lieberman Technologies provides Sigma Phi Omega with secure hosting with SSL encryption. This business-class website hosting includes core WordPress updates and routine backups. The Sigma Phi Omega team can focus on their organization knowing that the site software will always remain current and updated. Ongoing support via phone for login help, WordPress questions, and security from Lieberman Technologies gives added peace of mind long after the launch of the website.
Sigma Phi Omega is ready to grow with their new website. Current and future members have a wealth of information at their fingertips. Finally, the administrative team can update the content whenever they want, quickly and easily.
Sigma Phi Omega is grateful for our partnership with Lieberman Technologies. Together, we have developed a website that is the hub of activity for our over 50 local chapters and over 1000 members. SPO members can now access real-time chapter information and can log into individual account information. Local SPO chapters can connect to the national organization and can highlight their activities through the website. This is an exciting time for SPO and we believe our new website will help us achieve our mission which is “to recognize excellence of those who study gerontology and aging and the outstanding service of professionals who work with or on behalf of older persons.”
Katie Ehlman, PhD, CHES, HFA
By the year 2040, more than 20% of the U.S. population will be 65 and older. As an organization dedicated to excellence in elder care, Sigma Phi Omega seeks to grow to meet this need. And now, their website will help in that quest.