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New Site Launched: The Mountaineers

May 5, 2014

For over a year a Jazkarta team consisting of David Glick, Carlos de la Guardia, Cris Ewing, and me has been working on the development of a new website for The Mountaineers, the premier outdoor education non-profit in the Pacific Northwest. We are very excited to announce that it just launched today!

The Mountaineers website
The Mountaineers has over 10,000 members and over a thousand volunteers leading hundreds of activities and classes in hiking, backpacking, climbing, skiing, sea kayaking and much more. Their old website had become dated and no fun to use, with convoluted processes and an ad hoc structure, so the organization embarked on a major project to create something better. The goal was a beautiful, modern, and engaging website that simplified as many things as possible – making it easy for leaders to create new activities, for volunteers to volunteer, for members to sign up and donate, and for everyone to find what they’re looking for in The Mountaineers’ vast portfolio of outdoor knowledge.

After kicking the tires on lots of systems, The Mountaineers settled on the technology for their new website: a partnership between Plone, the leading open source enterprise CMS, and Salesforce.com, the leading software-as-a-service CRM. Plone+Salesforce is a dynamite combination for non-profits because of extensive integration possibilities and deep license discounts. For The Mountaineers, it meant that their oceans of data about members, courses, activities, rosters, routes and places, committees, etc. could be seemlessly synchronized between these two best-of-breed systems.

Implementation of the site was a partnership as well – Jazkarta doing the Plone front end and Percolator Consulting, engagement strategists and CRM experts, doing the Salesforce backend. Darrell Houle provided user experience design for the many complex course and activity creation, scheduling, search, and registration processes, and Neal Maher turned Darrell’s wireframes into a gorgeous graphic design.

Fourteen months and 673 github tickets later, the result is a content-rich site with curation and management shared by a community of hundreds of collaborators. The functionality visible on any given page is determined by the role (member, leader, staff) of the person who is viewing it. A new Plone add-on, collective.workspace, provides roster functionality for courses, activities, and committees, allowing each participant’s role, registration status, and other information to be managed. A lightweight shopping cart integrated with Stripe payment processing allows users to easily pay for memberships and courses, or make a donation. Custom content types provide extensive metadata that enables as many kinds of faceted searches and dynamic listings as staff can dream up – like the activity faceted search shown below.

The Mountaineers Activity Search

All of this is the result of an incredible amount of work by a lot people. Thanks to the Jazkarta and Percolator team members and the many Mountaineers staff and volunteers who tested, made tickets, and tested again!

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