In the past, when alumni and other supporters of Southwestern Oklahoma State University wanted to go online and support the University, they landed on a website with aesthetics that looked like it was for some other school. Where was the mascot? Why wasn’t it in the school colors? Plus, the site did not make it immediately obvious how to give. The university’s Foundation and Alumni Association approached Metrix Systems to revamp the website to change this.
Like many state universities, Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) is supported by both a Foundation and an Alumni Association. StandingFirmly.com is a joint website for the SWOSU Foundation, Inc. and the SWOSU Alumni Association, Inc. The overriding goals: Raise money, “raise friends,” and work together to strengthen SWOSU for current and future generations of students.
“We had a website that was built in 2015,” says Garrett King, SWOSU’s Assistant to the President and Director of Institutional Advancement. “It was working. But we had very limited editorial capabilities, it did not have a friendly interface, and aesthetically it made no sense for our institution. It looked like it was from a different university!”
The organization wanted a website that would meet their needs and help them reach their goals—but they didn’t have a lot of time to devote to the project.
“We connected to Metrix Systems via one of our distinguished alumni, who is also a Metrix Systems client. I was complaining that I wanted a more intuitive, self-starting website vendor. I wanted someone who could anticipate our needs, translate our aspirations into doable goals and objectives, figure out the best way to communicate with us, and then run with the project versus me having to tell them how to do the job. They suggested we call Metrix Systems, and I’m glad we did!”
MetrixSystems created a website that not only meets Garrett’s team’s needs now, it’s also designed to be continuously adaptable to meet their needs in the foreseeable future. This website features:
A look and feel that directly ties into the university’s aesthetic. Anyone who knows SWOSU will immediately feel “at home” on the site.
A structure that supports the organization’s goals. “The site has a very good flow that directs people to the key areas that are important to us,” Garrett explains. “Obviously we wanted to highlight areas where people can invest in the University. But I also like that Metrix Systems created some sub-layers on the home page for visitors to learn about the scholarships program, honors and awards, and more. And there’s a nice interface that shows what our social media is doing, too.”
An extremely user-friendly back-end system. Garrett views the site as a “never-ending work in progress,” and the easy-to-use content management system accommodates that. “I’m a historian by training,” Garrett states, “and I continue to laugh at the fact that I can update our website. Metrix Systems gave us a simple two-page pdf that walks us through the back-end system, complete with screen shots. This makes it easy for me to update the website, modify the code, and understand what modifying the code will do.”
“The metrics are clear,” Garrett exclaims. “With this new site our online giving doubled in the last months!”
In addition to supporting the organization’s fundraising goals in such a big way, the new website has yielded a variety of other benefits as well. This includes serving as the foundational hub for numerous redirected domains, such as www.GiveToSWOSU.com, and providing a useful searchable repository for various pieces that the organizations have published in the past.
Garrett is extremely happy with the experience of working with Metrix Systems. He appreciates how responsive Metrix Systems was and continues to be, how incredibly reasonable their price point was, and how they view the relationship as a long-term one. Perhaps most of all, he appreciates Metrix Systems’ patience.
“I was amazed at how patient they were,” Garrett says, “far more patient than the previous vendor we used here in Oklahoma. Metrix was ‘California cool.’ Just like, ‘whatever, we’re chill!’”