This edition of our WordPress Empowerment Series features Bonnie Beauchamp, marketer at an Atlanta-based nonprofit serving the homeless. You’ll hear about her personal journey with WordPress and its impact on her organization.
Have your own story to tell? Get in touch with us. We’d love to hear from you.
Tell us a bit about your organization.
Atlanta Mission transforms, through Christ, the lives of those facing homelessness. We are a community united to end homelessness . . . one friend at a time.
Since its 1938 beginnings, this Christian nonprofit ministry has grown from a small soup kitchen to a multi-facility organization serving Metro Atlanta’s large homeless population. Today, Atlanta Mission provides emergency shelter, rehab and recovery services, vocational training, services, and transitional housing. We serve up to 1,000 homeless men, women, and children every day.
What’s your role inside of your organization?
I am a marketing associate at Atlanta Mission. Much of my focus is on our creative and digital marketing. I also help to organize some of our events including our 5K—one of the largest charity 5K’s in Georgia.
My goal is to communicate well through creative and digital mediums in order to draw awareness to the issue of homelessness in Atlanta. My desire is for the wider Atlanta community to understand how Atlanta Mission is helping to end homelessness for each individual who walks through our doors. We want those who hear to get involved, whether through giving monetarily towards our services or volunteering time and talent.
How does your organization use WordPress?
Our main website, atlantamission.org, and our Atlanta Mission 5K website, race.atlantamission.org, both use WordPress as the CMS.
How has your organization’s use of WordPress changed over time?
When I arrived at Atlanta Mission, the organization had just made the switch to a WordPress CMS for our main, outward-facing site. It was new to a lot of individuals on our team, but the ease of editing has made it possible for different teams to take ownership of their portion of the site.
For example, we post employment opportunities on our site. HR has been able to learn and own posting and managing these opportunities.
For the Atlanta Mission 5K site, we switched this year to using WordPress through an Evermore-built site. The site is beautiful and the ease of development and subsequent updates made the launch seamless.
When did you personally start using WordPress, and what was that experience?
I started using WordPress in 2008. Prior to this, I’d been building sites with simple HTML, Flash, and eventually, delving more into database-driven sites through PHP and ASP.
When I discovered WordPress, I immediately fell in love. The CMS structure was simple to follow and I could easily edit code when I needed to. If a co-worker without any web development knowledge needed to do a post or edit text on a page, it was simple to teach them how to do so. It made my job easier when I wasn’t the sole individual responsible for posting content changes.
How has your knowledge of and confidence with WordPress changed since you started?
My knowledge of and confidence with WordPress has only grown over the years. Most of my knowledge has come through Youtube and Google searches along with exploring the individual coding structure of templates.
I remember the first time I discovered that if I made changes to the core files and then updated the theme to keep up with security patches, that I would lose all of my custom changes. That was a definite struggle-bus moment. Oh, the grief. Oh, the pain. My greatest joy was discovering the “Customize” menu option under “Appearance”. Combined with the “Custom CSS” sections in many themes, updating is now much easier and I have less crying spells. 😉
What has helped you the most in your journey of using WordPress?
Honestly, Google and YouTube have helped the most in my journey of using WordPress. When I have an issue or don’t know how to do something, I simply search for the answer. I am self-taught at web development, having had 2 classes in Dreamweaver in 2001-2002 for architecture school! The open source web has truly been my teacher.
When I began to venture first into Flash websites in 2006 and subsequently into WordPress sites in 2008, I would purchase templates and learned how to do things by inspecting the code, seeing how it was all constructed. In a lot of ways, it was similar to my architecture classes in college. I began to understand the structure and how to code things through the “beams and framing” of others’ work.
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