MistyLook Theme for a Charity blog

I got distracted again! The Development Dirctor for our Habitat affiliate was complaining about the stale content on the affiliate’s website. For some time I have been thinking about the appropriate format for a charity website. I have begun to believe that a blog style website is a natural fit for charity websites. The social networking advantage of blogs(e.g. comments, rss feeds) is probably a good tool at communicating with a diverse group of volunteers. Working off of this sketchy premise, I created a blog that I intend to offer to our affiliate.

Design Decisions

  1. My favorite blog software is WordPress.
  2. WordPress is generally available at most host providers and has lots of free themes to choose from.
  3. WordPress does not have licensing issues.
  4. I envision that most of the updates will be via posts. We need an easy method of posting with photos by non-Geeks. The ability to use multiple authors is a plus.
  5. We will need about six static pages(e.g. Volunteer, Donation, Family Selection, etc.). These will be updated quarterly to annually.

Implementation Decisions

The key for me was seeing the themes available at themes.wordpress.net. After browsing through a part of this immense collection I settled on MistyLook from the creators of WordPress Garden. It has a nice, clean, widget friendly, two column design with tabs across the top of the page for the static pages. Only the key pages are shown across the top. All of the static pages appear in the sidebar, too. I already have a widget template for Paypal donations. I don’t expect many PayPal donations but it will be easier and it requires almost no effort on our part to collect the money. The only drawback to the theme was that I had to tweak it a little to get it to work.
I added three WordPress plugins:

  1. Imagemanager to handle the photos. WordPress’s default features are pretty good but Imagemanager adds resizing and default sizes for thumbnails.
  2. Widgets plugin.
  3. FeedBurner plugin. RSS feeds are typically associated with a younger crowd. Since we have quite a few older volunteers who have just recently gotten comfortable with email, FeedBurner Email looks like a potential winner for us. Volunteers can get website updates via RSS feeds or Email.

So here is the fruits of my labor.