Jan 062017


Faubourg St. John Neighborhood Association members are hoping to revamp their website with the help of a professional that would lessen the burden on the organization’s leadership.

Sarah Stogner, FSJNA president, said she’s looking for a site that allows all of FSJNA’s platforms to communicate with each other automatically – those platforms include the Yahoo email server, social media sites and the soon-to-be-refreshed website.

“It takes away that element of needing someone to always maintain it,” Stogner said.

Stogner has reached out to one website designer for an unofficial quote and details of managing a new site, but asked FSJNA members what they wanted in a new platform. Jim Danner, FSJNA vice president, said the best website may be something members can manage on their own with training. Pouring money into a management group “that say they’ll do everything for $10 is the worst thing to do, in my experience,” he said.

The group is still hammering out details in what they want from a new website – including member access to archived documents and minutes – but one big issue stood out during the group’s monthly meeting Tuesday: security of online payments.

Many other neighborhood groups offer the ability to pay membership dues, ticket fees or simply donate on their websites. Mid-City Neighborhood Organization, for example, accepts payments through PayPal – a third party that handles the security of online transactions. Conrad Abadie, FSJNA member, expressed concern that the organization would be responsible for credit card information if they chose to accept online payments or donations.

Stogner assured the group all that information be encrypted and secured by a third-party provider – such as PayPal – so the burden won’t be on the association.

“We’re not maintaining that info – we’re not responsible for that,” she said.

After nailing down what exactly the group wants in a new website, Stogner said the next step is budgeting for either site management by an outside company or management from an FSJNA member. If it’s “reasonably priced” to train a member to manage the site, that would lift the burden from the few members who already update all the platforms manually.

“Hopefully that’ll give a break to those who have been doing it so long and without thanks,” Stogner said.

Stogner encouraged any Faubourg St. John resident who has an opinion on how the website should function to contact the group. She’s also still looking into web design firms and is asking for recommendations; to recommend a firm, or to voice your opinion, email info@fsjna.org or visit the group’s Facebook page.

For now, the neighborhood group has one big first step: just getting started.

“It’s a big investment and we need to do it right,” Stogner said.

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