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Global First Responder (GFR) is a secular, not-for-profit, international medical relief organization. They provide disaster relief and international medical aid through ongoing medical missions, infrastructure projects and education initiatives to regions in distress around the globe.
What started as one man’s personal mission has grown into an international network of globally-minded aid workers from multiple professions and all walks of life. This fully volunteer-based organization now operates on a global scale, deploying rapid response teams to disaster areas while working to establish long-term healthcare solutions for remote communities.
It’s an ambitious and complex endeavor, and the GFR website is an essential tool to the organization’s operations, helping them to overcome constant planning, fundraising and logistical issues — and that’s where MayeCreate Design has been happy to help…
Founded by Dr. Adam Beckett right here in our home town of Columbia, Missouri, GFR started as a response to the destruction and general disarray in international aid following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti:
“After hearing about the devastation and high casualty rate in Haiti after the earthquake, I just knew… I had to get down there. I had the ability to help, and there was no reason I shouldn’t or couldn’t go. I felt it was a duty, my moral obligation. I thought: I will get there at any cost… I did get there, and what I experienced forever changed me.”
— Dr. Adam Beckett
His experience working with patients and other volunteers changed the way Dr. Beckett not only saw his own life, but changed the way he thought of international and emergency aid.
Discouraged by what he saw as short-term, “band-aid” responses to relief efforts, Dr. Beckett felt the need to seek more sustainable, long-lasting, and inclusive solutions. He became convinced that there must be (many) more like-minded individuals in the world — people who desperately wanted to help those in need, just like he did, but simply lacked the resources to turn that human impulse into action. As a medical professional his training could garner him access to (often remote) places in turmoil to share his expertise, but what about people from other walks of life with different, but equally valuable talents to offer? How could he empower those with different skill-sets, working in different industries, to help the desperate in need during humanitarian emergencies?
Dr. Beckett’s solution was to create a centralized network of relief agencies and volunteers. He began by developing a website and database to connect agencies here in the United States and around the world with volunteers from the medical profession and other industries. Bringing together people with the passion and skills to help those in need with the non-government agencies with connections and expertise to execute high impact medical missions and development projects for those that need it most.
MayeCreate Design has been fortunate to partner with GFR since their inception, joining them in their vision to improve the lives of humanity across the globe, helping them to develop their first website, and working with them to promote their mission online.
But, just like the world we live in, the online world is constantly evolving: a website designed and built even as recently as five years ago can start to feel fairly outdated when compared to today’s flashy designs and functionality. The original GFR website we helped Dr. Beckett to create was still serving its purpose, but it was starting to show its age… And we all know dated websites don’t help save lives.
We saw an opportunity to provide not only a facelift to the existing website, but to help a great organization improve their efficiency and day-to-day operations. The result? A beautiful new website that both represents the awesomeness that is Global First Responder to the world and saves them one of their most valuable resources: time.
Our first step of the redesign was to enhance the old site’s built-in functionality. We added specialized custom fields to the admin section of the site, making it waaaaay (way) easier to add new upcoming trips. And get this — once the new trip is added to the site, it is automatically integrated into every other appropriate section of the website, saving the GFR volunteer team the tedious job of entering this information into each separate location manually (eeek…).
It’s a major concern for every nonprofit, and GFR is no exception: the never ending need for fundraising… ☹
Global First Responder members volunteer to assist those in need not because they want a trip somewhere warm, but out of the goodness of their hearts. As such, all GFR volunteers pay their own way on mission trips. Members are encouraged to crowdfund to raise money helping to offset personal room and board (as well as travel) costs.
To make fundraising easier for volunteers and more transparent to donors, we updated the donation section of the website to accept payments directly on the site. Donors can donate to a specific trip or cause that is close to them, or contribute to the general fund without ever having to leave the website. What really makes this awesome for everyone is that donations made through the website go directly through GFR, allowing donors to receive a tax receipt, which would not be possible on other crowdfunding sites.
GFR is a world-class organization and deserves a website that looks as impressive as the good work they do. So last, but certainly not least, we wanted to improve the overall look, feel, and performance of the website.
The old site had a modern concept (I mean we were good at what we did back then too), but we are always looking for ways to improve. In this case, we lightened the theme and refined the design to help up the pages even more, resulting in a great looking, fun, easier-to-navigate experience.
The first thing visitors see is an attention-grabbing video (beautifully shot and produced by Chimeric Motion Pictures) where a homepage slideshow usually goes. And since GFR is super active on social media (#GoGFR), we added a social gallery that pulls the most recent Instagram posts (@globalfirstresponder) so visitors can see more of the great work they do and follow along in the future.
And for an extra personal touch, we used some compelling trip images as mouse-overs for the upcoming trip posts. We’ve found that small details like this help to create a more dynamic and friendly user experience.
Other features on Global First Responders’ new website include:
Does your site lack artsy and colorful functionality, or do you just need a site in general? Contact the team at MayeCreate Design. We believe websites work when good design meets solid functionality. Our web designs always aim for ease of use and clear communication. Check out our portfolio for a look at our other projects and to get your pride on…today.