At the end of March, the Sisters of Notre Dame of Chardon, Ohio, launched a new website. This website is the centerpiece of a multi-channel online presence which includes blogs, social media and links to various SND ministry sites. The goals of our online presence as an apostolic religious community are to: 1) advance our mission; 2) attract vocations; and 3) engage supporters. These goals were uppermost in our minds as we carefully planned each component of our online presence.
Advancing our mission online is first of all sharing our charism, a deep awareness of the goodness and provident care of God, with our online visitors. Second, we want to minister to them in as many ways as possible: offering prayer support, education in faith, justice, spirituality and ministry, and providing connections to our community and to one another. We carry out these ministries in various ways throughout our different sites and channels. We provide eight different contact forms for those who want more information. These go directly to the sisters who can best help them.
Attracting vocations is the second goal of our online presence. We want women who are considering apostolic religious life to consider joining us. Through each of our channels, we share who we are and what we are about. We want our visitors to know that we are passionate about religious life and ministry. We love God, one another, and the people we serve. We are happy. In the footer on every page of our website and on each of our blogs, we directly invite women to join us. We give them a link to contact our vocation director.
As a community, we are blessed to have many supporters: families, friends, co-workers, donors, associates, former students, former members and others, who want to know what’s happening with us on a regular basis. Through our various channels we are able to keep them informed and engaged with us. They can also communicate with us through social media and other online vehicles. The message we want to convey is that we are here on the Internet with you and for you. We have also provided a subscription option for our news and events entries.
It was a team effort. We were able to get this engaging web presence because nearly forty sisters and eight staff members contributed to the various sites and channels; we had a well-thought out master plan; and we had a web-designer (John A. Sexton, Ph.D, Founder and Creative Director of Groupmind Media) who understood our goals and expertly translated them into a family of WordPress sites.
Our effort required a content strategy and coordination for which I was responsible. It also required the support of our leadership team which was there from the beginning. The project was very energizing for me as I see the potential in such an online ministry. To be able to facilitate the sharing of our charism and the gifts of our members with the wider digital world gives me great joy. I would love to help other religious communities create an online presence that effectively expresses their charism and gifts as well. That’s why I started Catholic Web Solutions.
The next stage of our project, is promoting all of our sites. I will keep you posted.
Please take a look at our main site, subscribe to our News and Events, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, subscribe to our blogs, and give us feedback. You can help make our SND online presence even better.
Do you believe, as we do, that an “integrated” online presence is important? What are the benefits and the challenges as you see them? Share your thoughts below. Thank you.