Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies

Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies

In 1992, the founding of Namgyal Monastery in Ithaca, New York, marked an important new phase in the history of Buddhism and Tibetan culture in America. Launched with the inspiration of the late Venerable Pema Losang Chogyen, a Namgyal monk, and several of his American friends, Namgyal-Ithaca was established as a branch of the main Namgyal Monastery located in Dharamsala, India. The primary mission of the newly established Ithaca branch was to offer Western students the opportunity to study authentic Tibetan Buddhism in a monastic setting.

Business Need

Namgyal Monastery Institute of Buddhist Studies needed help increasing fundraising efforts through fresh branding, website and marketing strategies. Even in 2010, it was obvious they had outgrown their website and in order to thrive, they needed these areas addressed and from specialists, having put faith in hiring this vendor, Sanmita.

They needed to create an online identity with, not only a new site, but fresh branding that reflected the rich historical and cultural significance of their activities. As a faith-based nonprofit, they also needed an easier way for supporters to donate online. For larger donations, a new process needed to be designed and implemented.

Communications and outreach needed to be strengthened to keep staff and members continually updated about events, schedules and other critical information. A user-friendly content management system (CMS) that fit the organization’s needs, with minimal technical training was key. Sanmita engaged in heavy consultative work covering all bases; strategy, design and technology.

Key Challenges

  • Design, develop, and implement donations capability on the new website
  • Integration from old site to a recommended content management system platform to fit the organization’s needs.
  • Ensure ease of use on said platform for administrators and volunteers to manage the new site, i.e., update schedules, calendars, etc. with very little technical training with more automated features, and blanket Sanmita hosting and support.
  • Expand reach and online presence to build diversified revenue sources and increase donation pools.

Solution

The monastery needed an easier way for supporters to donate through strategic development planning and execution. Sanmita was instrumental in partnering to define fundraising goals, how to achieve these goals, and ways to strengthen communications. The measures that needed to be taken were apparent; strategic marketing, making the website work for their needs through a fresh design, branding, and development, from a team who knows what they are doing.

Consultation from both a technical and strategic standpoint was a joy and a learning experience for all. A new website that provided the ability to easily update information, and increase reach to members and the community of donors was needed.

The website also needed a platform to receive donations and a way to promote this feature. Sanmita developed a donation engine called 123PayNow, an intuitive application that allows donations by credit card & check; this was pioneering for its time and quite innovative for the technologists dedicated to the project and suiting the organization’s particular needs. Larger donations also had a new process that simplified and encouraged higher levels of donations for the monastery.

Results

  • Content migration from the old site to their new, customized, easy to use WordPress site
  • With the new Events calendar, complimented by marketing strategies, strengthened communications, participation at Monastery-hosted events and classes increased.
  • Analysis showed that site usage increased to an average of 75,000 page views a month, a considerable and marked increase following¬† the project.
  • Sanmita’s relationship with the monastery spanned nearly ten years and illustrates the level of full service and dedicated support that defines the company with every project, large and small, complex or not.
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