Step 1.1: Get in touch with us
When you are interested in WV United or just want to have a chat, feel free to reach out to the WVI digital team. Our department is currently headed by Michael Carmody, Stephanie Peugh is the product owner. You can also just shoot us an e-mail to email@example.com and we will get back to you.
Step 1.2: Learn more about WV United
Step 1.3: Create a gap analysis
When you are familiar with what WV United is all about, start thinking about your office's needs. In the past, we have found it helpful to create a gap analysis with offices that wanted to join. It was especially helpful to make this a forward-looking exercise. Think about what you want to achieve in the future, not what your current systems are capable of. There might be some overlap, but you might find that your current features are just covering up your current systems' weaknesses. Try to make the gap analysis business-driven. Think about what you want to achieve from a business perspective and break it down to more concrete requirements. Feel free to use our gap analysis template for this. In this phase we can provide you with the WV United side of the analysis, telling you what can already be done with our platform, what is on the roadmap and what alternatives we can offer.
Step 1.4: Check out your integrations
In our onboarding processes with offices we have found that integrations with third-party systems tend to add the most complexity to your onboarding process. This is why you should take a look as early as possibly in the process at how WV United will integrate with the rest of your tech stack. In our experience most office want to integrate with their CRM system, external payment gateways, tracking, and some sort of messaging tool. We offer a couple of out-of-the-box integrations that have proven to add the most value to offices and are supported by WVI. Make sure to take a look at those integrations.
We recommend you to ask the following questions when thinking about your integration needs: What is the volume of the processes I am looking to automate with the integration? What is the added value for each of those processes? Am I using the right system for the things I want to achieve?
Step 2.1: Involve all stakeholders in your decision
The speed and quality of the onboarding process of offices we have worked with so far depended greatly on the commitment by the organization. Joining WV United should not be a purely digital decision, but needs to be backed by other stakeholders, such as customer service, marketing, comms, and IT as well. Those departments need to understand the implications of the move on their processes as well as the resources needed from them during the migration. In our experience it helps greatly if they feel they have a say in the decision. We highly recommend the migration to be sponsored by your office's CEO. This will help you to prioritize your migration against competing projects.
Step 2.2: Select a dedicated resource to manage WV United
We try to make WV United as easy-to-use and intuitive as possible. Still, it is a professional, customized marketing system that needs to be used by digital experts. In addition, WV United lives from active participation and collaboration between offices. This is why it is important for your office to select a dedicated WV United resource (typically from your digital team), who is the main point of contact for other WV United offices as well as WVI. This person should be fluent in English and a good networker. We promise the job will be rewarding, exciting, and a lot of fun!
Step 2.3: Make the decision official
The official step to join WV United is typically the signing of an MOU and an SLA with the WVI digital team. In these documents we clarify how we want to work together, what each side will contribute to the relationship and how your office will interact with other WV United members. We have a standardized SLA that applies to all WV United members and an MOU draft that can be localized if necessary. This is the official kick-off to your WV United migration.
Step 3.1: Discuss your timeline with us
Once we know what we need to work on and what gaps we need to fill, we can work out a timing in collaboration. Remember to secure resources for actually working on the new site. Also we have found that securing resources with stakeholder departments early on can help avoid bottlenecks. If you have a CRM integration, testing the API will most likely take some time since a lot of stakeholders are involved.
Step 3.2: Set up your new site structure
Relaunching your website presents a great opportunity to revisit your site structure. Start with your business goals and the things you want to achieve with your site. Make sure to direct users actively to the sites you want them to visit. Each page on your site needs to have a place in the hierarchy. We strongly recommend to keep your main navigation to a maximum of four items. Typically those will be 'sponsor a child', 'donate', and 'about us' (plus maybe 'get involved'). Use the footer navigation for additional categories that are directed at secondary target groups.
Step 3.3: Migrate your content
This task will most likely take the most time in your timeline. When you migrate content, try not to recreate old page designs for the sake of continuation (except if you have data supporting them), but try to embrace the new options you have. Getting your images in higher quality was a challenge for most of the offices that have joined so far. Starting to look for images early and keeping a good documentation of which ones you used can help. When you create new pages or decide to leave out old ones, think about SEO implications as well. Make sure to check out these SEO best practice tips.
Step 3.4: Set up transaction forms and integrations
WV United offers quite a flexible set of transaction forms. Setting them up might require some fine-tuning. Furthermore payment and/or CRM integrations are involved in most cases. Make sure you test those integrations well ahead of time. We have learned that it helps to involve IT, customer service, and finance in those testing rounds as early as possible.
Step 4.1: Validate your certificate
In order for your connection to be secure from go-live, we recommend you to validate our new certificate on your old server well before the DNS switch. In order to do this we will provide you a file that you need to upload on your old server. Since this might be handled by your agency, make sure to plan enough time and give your agency a heads-up.
Step 4.2: Deploy and test
Just before your actual go-live date we will deploy your staging environment to production and will copy your database to live. Remember that from this point your editors will not be able to make any content changes until go-live. On live you can switch the API keys for your integrations from test to live ones. Please also double-check all major transaction forms and content pages. That way you can make sure everything works as expected.
Step 4.3: Switch DNS
The last step it pretty simple. Change the A-records of your www and non-www domains to point to our server IP addresses (which we will provide you with). Make sure your TTL is set to a really small amount so your changes go into effect fast. If you have a CRM-integration on your old and new site, please remember that you still might receive transactions from your old and new site simultaneously. Make sure you use different IDs for those transactions. If an agency handles the DNS switch for you, give them a heads-up early on.