Organization Overview

Education Elevators (EE) is a nonprofit organization devoted to elevating the abilities and aspirations of students through weekly mentoring that takes place in and around the classroom. EE builds and facilitates enduring, effective mentoring partnerships consisting of businesses or organizations desiring to make a positive, lasting impact on their community, and local students who are identified by their teachers as likely to benefit substantially from one-on-one mentoring.

Based on the strong, fundamental drive to “lift up” students who struggle largely due to the lack of a supportive family unit, Education Elevators was founded in 2007 and since then has drawn hundreds of “Elevators” – business and organization volunteers who commit an hour weekly during the school year to mentor a student in a variety of ways.

Great Content, But . . .

“Our website was just kind of put together, sort of a place-saver,” recalls Allison McJunkin, Executive Director at Education Elevators. The organization’s survival has always depended on the recruitment of business and organization mentors to be partnered with local students, and the website is EE’s primary recruiting tool. “We knew we needed something more professional to attract more businesses.”

The previous EE website gave the impression that the organization was highly dedicated to its mission, but the variety of content and lack of cohesiveness could be off-putting. Visitors to the website might easily conclude that the organization lacked the level of professionalism they were seeking in a partnership. “We have so much content [in other places] and we wanted a better way to highlight our own case studies, quotes from evaluations and business partners, photos and videos that showcase our strengths,” Allison adds. 

“The style of the website was poor,” recalls Nate Orders, an EE board member. “It was antiquated, not set up for mobile phones, and some of the pages were just images without proper html coding. It was great content, but not easy to navigate or pleasing to the eye.”

Pulling It All Together 

“I don’t actually recall how I came across Jamie or his work – it was many years ago,” says Allison. “I had seen work that he’d done for other Community Partnership recipients and was impressed.”

When Allison first reached out to Jamie, Education Elevators lacked the funds to solicit the total website revamp that Allison had in mind. “Jamie recommended that we apply through the Community Partnership Program, and that’s what we did.” Through this program, EE was eventually chosen by Bricks Without Straw to proceed with the website redesign at no cost.

In the redesign process, Jamie worked most directly with Allison and the Communications & Logistics Manager, Vinnie Feller. “Both of us are pretty novice at websites, so we would ask questions and Jamie would provide his input,” says Vinnie. 

The primary focus throughout the redesign was to pull the wealth of existing material about EE onto the website in a way that presents well-organized, inviting, and easily accessible information. Allison explains, “Jamie had to come up with a creative way to integrate the content we used in our newsletters – including videos, evaluation quotes, Elevator and business spotlights – into the existing information on our website.”

Jamie went about this significant task by providing regular phone and email updates of his redesign suggestions to Allison and Vinnie. Sometimes the updates even came in the form of videos to help them better envision the outcome. In Allison’s words, “His videos made it easier for me to really see what he was suggesting.”

The Desired Outcome

“Jamie did a lot of things that I wouldn’t have thought to do,” Vinnie observes. “He had an eye for how things could work better. The new website is more visually attractive. I think it gives us a more professional look in line with our goals and it will be a better face for our organization.”

According to board member Nate Orders, the website is also functioning much better. “Jamie got all that content onto the website with a much better look while retaining our branding, and the navigation is a lot easier. The quality control seems great – broken links and typos are resolved, which in my opinion is outstanding for the type of website we have.” Nate anticipates a positive impact on attracting businesses, donors, and volunteers. “I’d like to think that it makes us look like a serious, national-level charity, disguising the smallness of the organization. It’s the first impression that donors and volunteers will have, and it will give donors confidence that we’re reputable and that they can trust us with their contributions. Hopefully, it will also get more volunteers excited about what we’re doing.”

The finished redesign exceeded Allison’s expectations. “Jamie was able to take the things I communicated and turn them into a great final product. He was willing to work with me on integrating a chat feature into our website, giving visitors instant access to staff. I was impressed with his work ethic because he put a lot of effort into a product when he wasn’t getting paid. He was able to come up with a really creative, innovative website.”

Allison, Vinnie, and Nate are all very pleased with the outcome. “We just recruited a new business partner,” says Allison. “To be able to send him our new website gave me a sense of pride, and being excited to share our new website was a nice feeling.”

Bricks Without Straw is a digital agency and design agency based in South Charleston, WV United States and Ota, Tokyo, Japan.

We offer a range of web design services including: web development, e-commerce services and email marketing. We also offer a range of graphic design services including logo design and exhibition stands.

We love working with clients of all sizes in a range of industry sectors, creating and implementing inspiring and hard working concepts and campaigns for business-business and business-consumer clients.

Valicia Leary

Bricks Without Straw has continued to exceed our expectations with their design work, support and attention to detail. We would highly recommend their services. They have a wonderful team and we enjoy our working relationship with them.

Carol Fulks

Bricks Without Straw has continued to exceed our expectations with their design work, support and attention to detail. We would highly recommend their services. They have a wonderful team and we enjoy our working relationship with them.

Patti Hamliton

Bricks Without Straw is bringing our association into the 21st Century! He brings us ideas and innovation for our web site and other tools of technology that help us enhance our image and our message.

Rebecca McPhail

Bricks Without Straw has continued to exceed our expectations with their design work, support and attention to detail. We would highly recommend their services. They have a wonderful team and we enjoy our working relationship with them.

Bill Raney

Jamie is one of the most committed and energetic professionals we have ever worked with over the years. He seems to work all the time with full 24-7 accessibility and immediate response. Bricks Without Straw has raised our collective confidence for maximizing opportunities in today’s world. We simply could not have done it without them.

Jan Vineyard

The demands and responsibilities to our members mandate that the online presence of our associations and our internet capabilities are reliable and seamless. Add creativity to that mix and one gets the complete package with Jamie Summers-Brown and his staff at Bricks without Straw.