Creating connections between its ministries and its audience is vital for Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH). The initial point of contact with an individual or family in need of the ministry’s myriad of services may come from a phone call, through a church, or when a person reads Charity & Children, BCH's news publication, for the first time.
Today, that first connection is likely to occur through the click of a computer mouse or on the touch screen of a smartphone or tablet. It’s for this reason that BCH has created an array of new websites in order to best connect with a 21st century audience.
“It is our goal that when a need arises it is as easy as possible to find BCH and connect with our statewide services as quickly as possible,” said BCH president/CEO Michael C. Blackwell. “The new website initiative expands our online presence and increases the touch points between our ministry and those who need it.”
BCH’s Development and Communications department has led the initiative creating websites that are specific to the organization’s locations and services throughout the state.
“Last year, we redesigned BCH’s main website, www.bchfamily.org, which serves as the central hub of information and resources regarding all aspects of the ministry,” said BCH director of communications Blake Ragsdale. “Our additional websites are branches of that website allowing us to focus on the uniqueness of each area and service.”
Websites created for BCH’s residential locations so far include Kennedy Home (www.kennedyhome.org), Odum Home (www.odumhome.org), Cameron Boys Camp (www.cameronboyscamp.org), and Camp Duncan (www.campduncanNC.org).
“So many people recognize Baptist Children’s Homes by the name of our different locations,” said BCH director of marketing and public relations Tabitha Ward. “If someone searches the internet specifically for Kennedy Home in Kinston, that person is now able to find us through the campus’ distinct website as well as the main BCH site.
“This is particularly important if the person searching for us needs help and wants to make a referral.”
BCH receives referrals for services from a variety of sources including Department of Social Services, pastors, schools, and even families themselves. The ability to make a referral electronically is available on every BCH website. A visitor fills out a simple online referral form which is submitted through the website and is received by BCH staff members.
“There are people in the eastern part of the state who know Baptist Children’s Homes through the Kennedy Home name just as people in southeastern North Carolina who know us first by our Pembroke location, Odum Home,” Ward explained. “It’s about creating multiple avenues of connection no matter how someone knows us.”
One of the strongest ways BCH connects with families, friends and supporters is through its stories highlighting the successes of the children and families. The new BCH Blog, www.bchblog.org, was launched in September to share stories with a tech-savvy audience.
“Telling the BCH story is more important today than ever before,” said Blackwell. “The BCH Blog gives us a modern platform for putting the story, literally, in the hands of a new generation of friends.”
The BCH Blog is optimized for mobile devices, such as smartphones, so that website visitors can easily read stories on their handheld devices. The blog is story focused providing another means of reading the articles that are featured each month in Charity & Children.
“The stories shared in Charity & Children every month make a powerful connection in the hearts and minds of readers, and the BCH Blog ensures that these stories of hope reach an ever-growing digital audience,” Blackwell explained.
More mobile-friendly websites encompassing the BCH ministry and its numerous locations are in the works.