Recruitment and training: Our concept determined, first of all, who we would give Web sites to: We did not open the program to people seeking a personal Web page, to families or to Web-only groups, but solely to real-world community groups with an active life to share, meetings to hold, a deep well of information and opinions to offer. We recruited such community groups actively, whether they already had a Web site or not. We told them that we were inviting them to be partners of the Post-Dispatch and that we would then expect them to build their sites accordingly. Although we recruited by traditional means – radio, mailings and slide programs at community meetings – we tried to do as much as we could online, for instance, with the brochure below and the application form it led to. Once a community group joined the network, training opportunities and personal prodding by our staff were constant, which led one administrator to thank us by writing, "You were great taskmasters - encouraging, patient, but with high expectations. As a teacher, I really appreciated that. We are very proud of what we have accomplished so far. We would never have done it without your persistence." Thanks to the persistence, although the membership of our network fell from its peak of 950, the number of actively maintained sites meeting our minimum standards continued to rise (to more than 540) right up to the program’s closing day. | Next Page | Back to Resume

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The St. Louis Post-Dispatch aims to be essential reading for everyone in metro St. Louis but where do we citizens-of-the-region do our essential talking, networking and planning? There isn't room for all of us in Kiener Plaza. So, the Post-Dispatch has built this Community Web Sites network as an online town square a hub for Web sites set up by non-profit organizations, classrooms, libraries, houses of worship, support groups, ethnic associations, collectors' clubs, amateur sports teams, political advocacy groups any type of non-commercial organization in metro St. Louis through which St. Louisans can gather to share their interests, make new connections, promote a good cause, talk about public issues ... and participate in special programs we at the Post-Dispatch have created to bring the region together.
Need a Web site?
If you belong to a nonprofit group that hasn't yet entered the Internet age, we can help. If you haven't thought of entering the Internet age, it's time to start. There s a heart-and-soul to what every organization does, and then there s the logistics scheduling, publicizing, booking halls, writing newsletters and the rest of it. If you and your friends and colleagues could spend less time on the stamps-envelopes-and-phone work you could spend more on the sport, hobby, celebration or political cause that brought you together. A Web site can free up that time, if it s easy enough to use if it replaces the work you re already doing instead of adding to it. In fact, it can open possibilities for reaching the public and collaborating with other organizations that you might not have had the spare time to dream of. Join the Community Web Sites program and we'll give your group a Web site of unlimited size, access to easy-to-use software with which you can build it, and training all free of charge.
And once you have one...
The Post-Dispatch invites you to take part in a new kind of conversation. Our Web tools and programs allow groups like yours to ...
hold meetings, interviews and brainstorming sessions online, in real time
publish photos of your group's members, sound clips from lectures and sermons, videos of your most recent events
ask your members and the general public for feedback using questionnaires, sign-up sheets and surveys
write your newsletter online, and have your members receive automatic notification of it by email
receive charitable donations, by credit card, over a secure line
create your own calendar of events, with maps, driving directions and Web links built in and pass those events into the Post-Dispatch, Get Out and calendars.
And so on. In addition to everything your group can do for itself as a Community Web Sites member, the Post-Dispatch will periodically invite you to join in special news-related programs. We may, for instance:
"spotlight" your Web site on the Community Web Sites gateway, the Post-Dispatch's online home page or the front of the Post-Dispatch newspaper's Metro St. Louis section.
send readers of news, sports and entertainment stories to your site, when those stories involve your group's work
invite you to join special programs like Choose Your Causes or, around election time, our Election Pages.
See a full list of our sites' capabilities
No Web site should be an island
This is, we think, a visionary program for St. Louis. The little vision is that community groups like yours can get new exposure through our centralized town square be seen by more, and more diverse, people than you've been able to reach before. The bigger vision is that, by allowing all of metro St. Louis to meet in one place for the first time, we'll be able to spark conversations that have never been held before, link volunteers and donors to where they're most needed, enable the public (and not just us, the newspaper) to convene region-wide forums on serious topics or frivolous ones and build a single calendar for all the goings-on in the metro area. If groups like yours take this idea and run with it, we believe this network has the power to revolutionize the way St. Louisans talk with one another, as well as the way the community talks with the journalists who report on it.
Join us
If the Web is new to you...
No software is needed, and no experience is necessary. Applying for a Web site takes 10 minutes. Our tools are designed so that anyone who can type in a form or double-click on a filename can create a powerful, handsome site and can share out the work of updating that site with colleagues and friends. And yet as you grow in sophistication, you'll have the flexibility to design pages wholly or partly from scratch.
Read testimonials from our users
...or if you have a Web site already...
We will give you a Web site you can use as a side door to your existing site. You can integrate your Post-Dispatch page or pages seamlessly with pages on an existing Web site, and use only the features you want to the ones you can't, or can't afford to create on your current site, like a powerful calendar and live chat. Furthermore, joining our network bonds you to the most popular online destination in St. Louis, which draws millions of visitors each month. You can't get the advantages of the network if you sit outside it. Come take a look.
Why two Web sites are better than one
If you want to read more about our program....

Want to learn more? Contact us at (314) 340-8323