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Americans for Fairness in Lending

Americans for Fairness in Lending (AFFIL), is a non-profit organization working to end predatory lending practices, provide information to help consumers, educate policymakers about the need for reform, and demand action to assist debt-burdened Americans. AFFIL was created in 2007 through a partnership of national consumer, civil rights, faith-based, nonpartisan and grassroots organizations, including Center for Responsible Lending, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, National Consumer Law Center, and U.S. PIRG, among others. AFFIL’s goal is to establish fair lending principles and practices that will build and preserve individual and community assets.

Search for a Solution

In 2008, Americans for Fairness in Lending was operating a website built by its ad agency. The site itself was designed well and functional but was difficult to maintain and update for less technically-oriented staff members – like Sarah Byrnes, campaign manager for the AFFIL. Although Byrnes had many responsibilities for the AFFIL (including managing the mailing list and blog), one of her main jobs was to manage and update web content and design.

Byrnes commented, “I was using [Adobe] Dreamweaver to edit content on pages, but it didn’t have much functionality beyond that. Because the program wasn’t web-based, any updates made to the website would have to come from the office computer.”

Dreamweaver’s rigidity wouldn’t allow Byrnes to add interactive elements or change design or structure aspects of the site without the proper technical knowledge. Therefore, manipulating copy was about all that was within Byrnes’ power.

Since the National Consumer Law Center hosted the AFFIL offices, Byrnes appealed to its IT manager, who suggested she switch the platform over to WebGUI. WebGUI provided Byrnes with the flexibility to perform a range of tasks on the website, like moving pages, adding content and adding built-in forms for users.

“With no programming background, WebGUI empowers me with a dynamic CMS platform that includes tons of options for updating the website quickly and efficiently,” remarked Byrnes.

Results

Byrnes elaborates: “By making it simple for non-technical staff to manipulate content, we’ve been able to save the time and money involved with bringing on a full-time technical staffer. Changing content directly allows me to have full control over what is and isn’t posted without the intervention of another staff member.”

Whereas Dreamweaver’s rigidity for non-technical persons would hinder what Byrnes could change directly, WebGUI dynamic functionality lets her change anything – from static and interactive content to structure to design – with little hassle and in little time. If Byrnes happens to be out of the office and needs to update something on the site, WebGUI’s web-based functionality allows her to make changes from any computer with internet access.

“I can update the slideshow that runs consistently on our homepage in a matter of minutes, post little articles and add news and events through WebGUI’s intuitive interface. We’ve even added a form that allows visitors to contact Congress directly through our site, and our members can post their own stories about predatory lending to our site as well.”

AFFIL uses WebGUI for its website because it can be simply manipulated by non-technical staff and allows for dynamic, flexible content creation and movement.

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At a Glance

Americans for Fairness in Lending
http://www.affil.org

Location
Boston, MA

Industry
Non-profit

Challenge
Locate a dynamic CMS that was:

  • Web-based
  • Cost efficient
  • Easy for non-technical staff to manipulate
  • Flexible enough to handle more than content updates

Results
With WebGUI, AFFIL was able to implement a CMS platform that staff could access from any computer without programming knowledge, saving the time and money associated with bringing on a full-time technical staff member.

Gray Bottom

“By making it simple for non-technical staff to manipulate content, we've been able to save the time and money involved involved with bringing on a full-time technical staffer.” Sarah Byrnes, Campaign ManagerAmericans for Fairness in Lending