This semester I will be working with a non-profit called Inspire Michigan, an organization founded by Ned Staebler, an Ann Arbor resident and the current Vice President of Economic Development for Wayne State University. Inspire Michigan “is a political group created in response to the struggles we face in Michigan,” and works to seek, support, and train candidates that endorse a platform of investment in the state’s natural and economic resources. Inspire Michigan started so that political will could be attached to the goal of preparing Michigan to be a competitive force in the new global economy.
Inspire Michigan certainly has noble and lofty goals and communicating that message concisely and clearly over the web will be very difficult, but its a challenge I am incredibly excited to tackle. While I believe greatly in Inspire Michigan’s mission and message, there are a few obstacles ahead to improving its web presence and development.
My first and foremost objective is the website. Currently, Inspire Michigan is attached to Mr. Staebler’s personal website, and does not have an organizational website for itself. However, addressing this issue is not as easy as it sounds, as the URL “InspireMichigan.com” is already taken. Once the URL issue is taken care of, my largest goal for the semester is to completely remake the Inspire Michigan webpage, developing a comprehensive site with an emphasis on aesthetic simplicity, easy navigation, and a strong development strategy.
Aesthetically, Inspire Michigan already has a logo (pictured above), but I want to expand on that and integrate it into every medium of communication. As Mansfield discusses, the logo and “look” of a non-profit should be consistent and continuous on every page on the web in order to act as a “brand.” As far as navigation, currently a few of the tabs do not lead to any information, sub-page, or even outside links. There is currently not a great venue or forum for updating on new events and updates, and a very limited connection to Inspire Michigan’s social media. These are the navigational issues I hope to improve. Given that Inspire Michigan, while a political group, is a non-profit, a well thought out and planned “Donate Now” campaign is also essential to its web development.
While these objectives are incredibly specific, per Drucker, I certainly haven’t left out my long-term planning and vision. My goals are to find who exactly is Inspire Michigan’s main audience and demographic, prepare Inspire Michigan’s communications for the 2014 campaigns, and make it a prominent and influential group for all future election cycles. Certainly these are most likely overly ambitious goals for a semester long internship, but I’ve never been afraid of hard work and there is nothing wrong with aiming high.