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Pro Bono Expertise Transforms Digital Real Estate

by Shari Graydon

“You’re not making the best use of your prime real estate,” Chamika Ailapperuma told us. (Which was news to us: we didn’t even know we HAD real estate!)

An experienced digital strategist, Chamika attended an Informed Opinions’ op ed writing workshop last spring, and shared some valuable insights during the session. Afterwards, we approached her for some help in assessing our website traffic. She provided that – and much, much more.

With the help of three generous professionals, Informed Opinions has updated our online presence to make our resources easier to find.

With the help of three generous professionals, Informed Opinions has updated our online presence to make our resources easier to find.

After reviewing our Google analytics data, she walked us through our existing website, gently pointing out how we could both take more advantage of the most prominent space on our home page and increase visitor engagement by better integrating our social media with the site. She also had ideas about how to make the site easier to navigate.

Our excitement at the vision she painted of how much better our online presence could be was tempered by our concern about our inability to realize it. As a small, self-sustaining social enterprise, we employ two women part-time primarily on the revenues we generate from workshops and speaking engagements. We couldn’t conceive of how we would be able to implement the great suggestions she was offering, which included changing platforms from Drupal to WordPress – a move that might save us money in the long run, but would require professional help up front.

But Chamika’s strategic insight about how to better showcase our services and impact comes packaged with resourcefulness and the ability to persuade others to volunteer their time, too. As a result, over the past few months, we’ve benefited from the work of three extremely generous women have worked long hours to support us in establishing a more effective, fresher, website.

She kindly introduced us to the fabulous Robyn Paton, an Ottawa-based marketing strategist whose support was invaluable. Her ability to navigate WordPress was essential to shaping the new framework. She successfully transformed multiple requests into useable features, and we really appreciated her after-hours availability and quick response time.

Robyn, in turn, recruited Sarah Green, an incredibly talented web developer from Kanata-based SiLK Web Solutions. Sarah completed our website team trifecta, managing the initial build of the website frame and polishing the final touches. We are so grateful for her time, which was crucial to bringing the new site to life.
Ashley Armstrong
Finally, Ashley Armstrong, who we’ve been lucky enough to have supporting us with her communications expertise since last April, when Claire went on maternity leave, also invested hundreds of hours — paid AND unpaid — in shepherding the revamp and finessing a multitude of details both before and since the new site launched. She also created our O Canada campaign video and a great infographic describing Informed Opinions’ impact. We’re very sorry to lose her, but thrilled that she’s landed a full-time contract with the Nobel Women’s Initiative, who already know what an asset she is.

You can judge the results for yourself: The refreshed Informed Opinions website offers visitors an easy-to-navigate drop down menu, accessible information on upcoming workshops, and easy-to-find resources. It retains our showcase of the published commentaries written by Informed Opinions grads’, which makes clear the impact we’re having in helping to bridge the gender gap in public discourse.

For the record, what we can’t offer in financial compensation, Informed Opinions makes up for in other ways. We reward our volunteers with focused, meaningful work, heart-felt (and public!) expressions of gratitude, Cocoa Camino chocolate, and best-selling books. We’d love to speak with you to explore whether or not your skill set or interests can make a contribution to advancing our mandate.

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