TrendyMinds for Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity

Building a Modern Website for a Ground Breaking Institution

Kappa Alpha Theta is the first Greek-letter fraternity for women, dating back to its founding in 1870. Theta has more than 250,000 initiated members across the U.S. and Canada in college chapters as well as alumnae groups. Theta was founded in Indiana and the fraternity headquarters remains in the state to this day.

Tell us a little bit about this project:

As Theta continues to increase their presence in colleges and universities across the country, as well as expand alumnae groups, its digital presence needed to expand throughout devices that are more commonly used among the majority of their members.

Following a brand refresh, Theta wanted to apply the new brand to their 20+ year old website. They also wanted to ensure their updated digital presence would be mobile-friendly and optimized for the amount and type of data they would be serving on the site.

In order to accomplish this, Theta needed a website that would leverage technology to deliver value and provide a seamless online experience by:

  • Highlighting community engagement
  • Sharing chapter stories
  • Funneling donors through the process of giving
  • Allowing users to select their own path through the website

Why Craft?

When discussing the website with Theta, we knew they needed a CMS that was simple for all of their team members to use, supported a variety of content, had a robust authoring system, and could scale easily as their needs changed over time.

When we’re faced with this problem, Craft is a no-brainer choice for our team. We knew it would live up to the challenge we were faced and could help us make an intuitive content editing platform for Theta to build on for years to come.

Did you use any integrations or plugins on this project?

Many of the integrations on Theta’s site were added or designed to fit their specific needs. They communicate a significant amount of data from third-parties, such as:

  • Airtable: Used to house and record historical information, this data displays on the Heritage section of the website.
  • Salesforce: Used as their member database, this data displays in multiple formats and locations on the public facing website.

Our team created a custom plugin to help meet a very specific need for job applications for the Housing department to be accepted through the website and Craft:

  • Facility Application Dashboard: A dashboard to display entries and users related to the ability to accept job applications for the Housing department directly through Craft and allow the content editors to review these and their profile/attachments directly in the Craft entry that is autogenerated.
  • Theta Query: A custom Trendyminds plugin that checks whether a user has submitted a job application already for the above dashboard.

Our team also used the following plugins from Craft to help meet Theta’s needs:

  • Assigned Entries: Custom plugin to limit content editors by groups to only see the entries they have been assigned to.
  • Brief: A plugin that allows customized control of notifications with Craft's native User Groups.
  • Cache Clear: Plugin which gives us an endpoint to allow us to clear cache after a deploy.
  • Control Panel Body Classes: Adds special classes to the Control Panel's tag to allow for styles to be customized within the CMS.
  • Entry Instructions: This plugin allows us to add an “instructions” informative field for an entry and that gives content editors more details on how to use the CMS we’ve set up.
  • Export: This is a useful utility plugin that allows you to export data to CSV files. Oftentimes it’s useful to have a nice spreadsheet view of data (ex. Entries, users, or categories) to perform audits and evaluate things with a bird-eye view.
  • Feed Me: We’ve used this one on several occasions but in this case, we used Verbb’s Feed Me plugin to import the initial batch of existing blog entries when launching the site.
  • Social: Social gives content editors the ability to add links to share on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.
  • Navigation: We can allow users with higher administration purposes to create and edit navigation menus using the a&m Navigation plugin. This plugin makes it simple to construct multi-level navigation menus and other features like breadcrumbs.
  • Neo: Neo makes it a cinch to set up a content builder field. This field then allows a content editor to construct their page using pre-built modules.
  • Notify Submitter: Notifies Submitter of Form Submissions. Used here to notify admins of a facility job opening submission.
  • Reasons: Reasons adds simple conditionals to field layouts – making it possible to hide or display fields on the fly, as content is being edited.
  • Redactor Extras: This plugin adds additional functionality to the existing Redactor options. (ex. Superscript and Subscript, Alignment, and more).
  • Retour (Redirects): A redirect manager that we use to create vanity URLs or redirect pages that 404 to help users reach relevant content. In Nystudio107’s words “Retour allows you to intelligently redirect legacy URLs so that you don't lose SEO value when rebuilding & restructuring a website.”
  • Relabel: This plugin allows a single field to have unique names defined for different sections, that trims down the number of fields used throughout the site.
  • SEOmatic: SEOmatic is the premier SEO plugin for Craft sites. It’s simple to set up and makes it easy to add everything from meta descriptions and titles to JSON-LD schema data and Facebook/Twitter image previews for content.
  • User Manual: While Craft does an excellent job of being intuitive sometimes it’s helpful to provide instructional content to users when they need a reminder on how a more complex task is handled. User Manual allows our team to construct help guides and place them into Craft for others to view.
  • Workflow: Another Verbb Plugin that allows for publisher and editors user groups. An editor has permissions to edit or create content, but not publish it live to a website. In this case, it must first be reviewed by a publisher before being available on the website.

How is the new site performing?

Kappa Alpha Theta’s new, Craft-hosted website results in:

  • 39% increase in avg. monthly users
  • 2 second reduction in avg. page load time
  • 27K approx. reduction in total pages
  • 2019 FCA Awards Inter/National Website (First Place) award for the full website
  • 2020 FCA Awards “Specific Purpose Website” (Third Place) award for the Heritage specific section