First Nations Development Institute

First Nations Development Institute improves economic conditions for Native Americans through direct financial grants, technical assistance & training, and advocacy policy.  Over the past 40 years, the organization has distributed more than 1,600 grants totaling $35 million across the country.  Additionally they host events, sponsor programs, conduct trainings, and do more for the Native American community.

First Nations came to NMC, looking for the firm to substantially raise their digital profile by attractively portraying their work and engaging stakeholders.  NMC leveraged its experience in non-profit website design to help create a best in class website for the organization.  NMC met with the organization upfront and guided them through a detailed digital discovery process, full visual language design, technical review of their previous technical infrastructure, and ultimate development of the site.  The reception has been exceedingly positive, leading to additional collaboration, including NMC designing supporting microsites for First Nations' initiatives.

Putting a Face to FNDI's Impact

The new website was designed to put the faces of First Nations' stakeholders up front and center.  The goal was to have the site evoke a visceral reaction and help visitors understand the human impact of the work done by FNDI and its partners.  The homepage leads with a full-screen image of a family with the FNDI tagline laid over it in a simple, yet impactful, manner.  

Below the feature, visitors are able to quickly navigate to the content most important to them.  Whether that's through the navigation that sticks to the top of the screen or the persona-driven call to action buttons that let visitors quickly segment themselves.  The Impact of FNDI is highlighted through statistics about the organization and attractive buttons that guide visitors to individual programs.

NMC's designers worked to incorporate images, statistics, and engaging interactive techniques throughout the site to continue pulling visitors in and helping them learn more about the organization.  The technology behind the site is WordPress Content Management System, setup with Advanced Custom Fields to allow FNDI to easily grow the site.  The Donate and Volunteer tools are managed through Salsa CRM, with which NMC has extensive experience and was able to make sure data sync'd directly with the FNDI database through Salsa's API.

Custom Grants Search and Directory

With a primary focus of FNDI being distributing grants, they wanted an engaging and interactive way to present that information to stakeholders.  After evaluating some off the shelf options, FNDI and NMC decided the best option to help them stand apart and provide the best functionality for users was custom design and build a grants search.  The tool has a map that lets visitors click on a state to refine their search, slideable filters, real-time search, and more.  The functionality provides an attractive, custom, and intuitive experience for an important audience group.

 

Program Hubs

FNDI's work spans an array of areas, but they're most focused on 5 priority program areas.  NMC designed a custom program layout that allows each program page on the site to serve as its own hub, curating all of the relevant information, resources, and multimedia related to that area.  All of this content is pushed to the hub pages through WordPress categorizing, making it very easy for FNDI to maintain.  This hub approach allows visitors to go to the program that interests them most and quickly get access to all of the relevant content.

Critical Information at a Visitor's Finger Tips

With many important FNDI stakeholders being on the move or needing to quickly get essential information about a grant, it was critical that the site perform well on mobile.  NMC worked closely with FNDI to understand how mobile visitors will use the site and embraced a mobile first philosophy around many key functionalities, like the grant searches.

The Beginning of a Long Partnership

After the success of the discovery, design, and development process on firstnations.org, the organization enlisted NMC for other projects, including microsites for some priority initiatives.  It has been a joy to highlight the work of FNDI through beautiful design and powerful technology.