PORCH Communities

A Family of Microsites for a Grassroots Hunger Relief Organization

Founded right here in Chapel Hill, NC, PORCH is a grassroots hunger relief nonprofit that organizes scalable food drives throughout North Carolina and beyond. Since the organization’s start in 2010, PORCH chapters have collectively distributed more than $4.8 million worth of food to communities in need.

PORCH’s rapid growth meant that they needed to centralize big-picture information while still providing dedicated digital space for each of their dozens of neighborhood chapters. They wanted a single website that could do it all, so they came to us for a comprehensive nonprofit website design that would totally refresh and reorganize their online presence.

Mission-Driven Design

The design combines an approachable, modern feel with thoughtful details and a focus on PORCH’s direct impact. On the homepage, this can be seen in the prominent use of photography, the abundant whitespace that frames core content, and key design elements like a section for featured statistics. All of this is customized to PORCH’s signature colors and branding, making the site instantly recognizable and consistent with the nonprofit’s established look and feel.

Interior pages carry through similar design elements in a series of distinctive layouts. Pages like Get Involved highlight opportunities for engaging with PORCH, while sections like the Blog show off recent work and events.

Community Microsites

The site’s most unique feature is its ability to support a series of microsites for each of PORCH’s regional chapters. We’ve talked about microsites in the past – they can be used to promote big events or to separate law firm practice areas – and in this case, they were a helpful tool to combine chapter independence with the benefit of a single online presence.

How it Works: Within the WordPress CMS, we created a unique setup that allows site admins to add and manage community microsites. The community pages are all attached to the primary domain (porchcommunities.org/communitynamehere), but they each have their own homepage, navigation, and footer that are different from the main PORCH website. These features give each community site a distinctive and independent feel.

Depending on the size of the PORCH chapter, the microsites can also include interior pages. That means that a community with a big PORCH presence could have pages to feature programs and volunteer opportunities that are specific to their operation. PORCH Fearrington, for example, takes advantage of this setup by including their own About Us story and information on how to Get Involved with their work.

Easy Management

As mentioned above, the site is built on a supremely flexible WordPress base. The great part about this is that the custom blocks – elements like an image call-to-action, a stat bar, or a half-and-half image and text section – can be used anywhere on the site. Thus, admins are able to build out fully custom layouts for the main porchcommunities.org site or any of the community microsites.

WordPress also makes it easy to scale the web presence over time. Growth is an important consideration for any project, but it was especially crucial for PORCH because they’re actively expanding and onboarding new community chapters. Whenever a new chapter joins, admins can simply log into the site, create a new microsite, and fill it in with any content or photos that the chapter provides.

We enjoyed working with the PORCH team on this project and look forward to continuing the relationship as they grow and evolve.