The Lake County (of California) Historical Society was actually a legacy client that was brought into Boldly Going Enterprises, LLC entity when we formed our business at the beginning of this year (2007). I had originally taken on this non profit project at extremely generous rates solely due to my desire to help the organization to get its online presence back in order. Their previous site had been up since 2003 and still had “latest events” from the middle of that year! But these things happen when an organization has a volunteer or member that has some or a lot of skills to use in aiding the group, and then at a later time finds they need to focus their personal time and energies on other things. Unfortunately, for the group, they find themselves at the mercy of the member and can only hope to find a way to extricate themselves as soon as possible.
When approached by the society, I initially considered just volunteering my time and serving resources. I realized, however that two things were likely to happen if I had chosen that route. One) I could get busy with BGE work, and the organizations site and online missions would suffer. Two) if LCHS didn’t have some monetary “skin in the game”, they might not appreciate what they were getting and take for granted me and the services I was donating. In the end, I opted to make a proposal to them that would be “very, very” fair to them, and even allowed them the opportunity to pay for the work over a period of time, thus lowering the impact on their non profit budget.
The most unique aspects to take away from this site is that we’ve set them up with some simple, yet effective e-commerce capabilities using PayPal‘s web developer knowledge so they can sell online the inventory of books which is a staple of the groups income. Also, their membership can sign up and pay or renew online now. Prior to this, renewals were all done offline, with repeated notices at meetings and using snail mail. Now, most members with email are notified and they are able to automatically pay for their memberships online.
The next phase for LCHS is to take their huge number of historical photos online. We’re talking about something in the nature of 10,000+ photos that have been in a digitization mode for a number of years now. After exhaustive research, I was able to find Smug Mug and even able to get them a free “pro”-level account due to the fact that the great folks at SM will give accounts away to certified 501c(3), non profit organizations.
We are in the process of working out how to best utilize the Smug Mug system to enable LCHS the opportunity to offer those images up to the public for sale. The amount of time I have spent in the SM system thus far allows me to highly recommend SM to any individual, organization, or anyone that might want to profit from the sales of images they own or control copyrights to. While we’ve yet to set up the linking from the LCHS site into their SM account, you can get a great sense of some of SM’s capabilities by checking out the LCHS Smug Mug page. Enjoy!