The National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) had a very active online community—known as TalkPsoriasis—but wanted to improve its functionality and reduce the amount of time it devoted to the basic management of the community.
"The NPF hosted an online message board in-house for nearly 10 years," said Catie Coman, Director of Communications for the National Psoriasis Foundation. "Our TalkPsoriasis members are a very important and active part of our community. We were eager to offer these folks a better user experience—more in line with social media trends—but recognized we were unable to do it ourselves with our limited resources."
The NPF is the world's largest organization serving people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. In addition to assisting more than two million people annually through educational programs and services, the foundation is the largest non-profit funder of psoriatic disease research.
The NPF partnered with Inspire to migrate TalkPsoriasis to the Inspire platform, creating the TalkPsoriasis Support Community.
"Migrating an active and intense community like this is kind of like changing a tire on a car that's still moving," said Amir Lewkowicz, Inspire's Vice President for Partnerships. "Because of the popularity of TalkPsoriasis, we needed a seamless transition. We know that patients and caregivers want to connect to their community when they want to do so."
Inspire's technical team worked closely with the foundation to plan the migration of TalkPsoriasis. Inspire's engineers developed a tailor made program, designed specifically for the foundation, to import TalkPsoriasis' entire archive of historical posts into the new, Inspire TalkPsoriasis Support Community. The import process ensured that privacy settings from the old forum were maintained in Inspire, and users were able to "claim" their TalkPsoriasis posts in Inspire, after joining. The conversion process included integrity checks to ensure posts were converted properly, and was designed to minimize downtime for both Inspire and TalkPsoriasis.
In the end, Inspire imported over 600,000 historical TalkPsoriasis posts, authored by nearly 14,000 distinct members over 10 years. TalkPsoriasis was offline for a total of just one day while the conversion took place, and Inspire was up and accessible to members throughout the entire process.
As part of Inspire, TalkPsoriasis members enjoyed benefits including:
Recognizing that change can be difficult for patients, Inspire collaborated with the foundation in creating a communication plan to ensure that questions and complaints received prompt attention. While members had questions and a few objections, Inspire, working closely with the foundation, addressed issues promptly and consistently. The result was a successful migration.
"By 'outsourcing' the technical responsibilities to Inspire, the NPF has saved money and staff time—an average of 10 hours per week," said Coman. "We use this time to engage more deeply and frequently with this group of people, which has resulted in an increase of people from this community becoming involved off-line with our organization."
With more than 80 partnerships with leading national patient advocacy organizations, Inspire (www.inspire.com) creates and manages secure online communities, organized by medical condition. Inspire communities are moderated, secure, and free to nonprofits. Inspire communities give nonprofits a turnkey social media platform for messaging, fundraising and more. Contact Danielle Leach, Inspire's Director of Partnerships, at email@example.com, to learn how your nonprofit association can benefit from this free service.