Web Design and Development Facilitates Creation of a National Network
Catalyst Kitchens is a collaborative network of organizations across the country that seek to empower lives through job training, generate revenue through social enterprise, and nourish bodies and minds through quality food service. The idea to form a network came about nearly a decade ago in order to determine if the business model of local nonprofit, FareStart, could be replicated in other communities. After a pilot program saw favorable results, a decision was made in early 2010 to launch a formal network. Catalyst Kitchens was born.
While members of the Catalyst Kitchens network are geographically far apart, the issues they work to combat could not be more similar. In each of their unique communities, member organizations work to fight homelessness, increase access to nutritious food, and provide relevant technical skills and job training. Belonging to the network allows these organizations to work more effectively, supporting and learning from each other, sharing resources, and increasing their impact locally and nationally.
“NPower designed our website with a nonprofit mindset, using technology that would result in a long-term, low-cost solution.”
- Amy Ellingson, Network Manager
- Catalyst Kitchens, a far flung national network of job training organizations, seeks to become a tight-knit community. While they love being together, it is too expensive to meet physically on a regular basis.
- Member organizations needed increased access to each other in order to leverage the potential of their network by learning from each other, sharing resources, and supporting the work of their fellow members.
- Staff knew that a website with a section for members would be the key to building a community despite the distance between groups, but did not have the in-house talent to develop it themselves.
- NPower Northwest's web consulting team met initially with Catalyst Kitchens staff to learn about the goals and desired impact of the website, and continued to work closely together during the design and build stages of the project.
- The NPower team worked with staff to design a site with a members’ section that would facilitate discussion, learning, and community-building.
- The site was built with open-source technology, resulting in a solution that would allow for the website to be updated to meet the changing needs of the network while remaining cost-effective in the long-term.
- The site will allow member organizations to track their impact within their local community, and for Catalyst Kitchens staff to measure the collective impact of the national network, proving the efficacy of the program and warranting expansion of the model in even more communities.
- Use of the member's portal has been steadily increasing as members have begun using the message board as a forum for exchanging ideas and sharing knowledge.
- The resource library is growing as staff and members upload documents and templates to share.