Bounce CEO and founder
Then there’s the unknowns around finding treatment, experienced doctors and medical equipment, as well as learning to cope with uncertainty about the future. While still anxiety-inducing, pediatric hospitals are well-equipped to ease stress. Service animal visits and fun activities are readily available, along with helpful administrators who can answer questions and provide reassurance. The unfortunate reality, though, is that many of those resources don’t come home with the family.
To help fill this resource gap for families based in the Chicago metropolitan area, Bounce Children’s Foundation provides relief, distraction, friendship and support. With events, education opportunities and an online community platform, Bounce helps children with chronic illness and their families make the transition from surviving to thriving.
Besides the amazing staff, donors and volunteers making Bounce’s mission a reality, there’s one critical component that helps the nonprofit make a difference in children’s lives: technology.
From the start, Bounce sought to leverage technology in a meaningful way that helps children and their families stay connected with their community, says Joan Steltmann, CEO and founder.
Steltmann started her career at IBM, where she learned about the important role technology plays in helping drive positive outcomes. That experience taught her how to pursue ambitious goals using technology — something that’s inherent in how Bounce operates.
“It would not be possible for Bounce to pursue its mission without the technology solutions we use each day — from our user-friendly website and social media to our outbound communications and back-end infrastructure,” she says.
Bounce runs several programs to help children with chronic illness, including hosting events that create safe spaces for children and their family and hosting an online community.
In addition, Bounce also hosts Bounce Net, an online community where parents can ask questions, find resources and seek support from families who have gone through similar challenges.
Steltmann explains that families are also discovering additional ways to support one another and form long-lasting friendships through the online community.
The key to making this all happen: Bounce’s streamlined, user-friendly website.
Technology is like a force multiplier, says Steltmann. The solutions she chooses allow her to put more energy into her nonprofit’s mission than in day-to-day management. Not only does technology help Steltmann and her team provide better service, but it also connects children and families with the resources they need.
One of Bounce’s most important tools is its website, bouncechildrensfoundation.org, which was recently redesigned by Insight’s Digital Innovation team. Before the update, the site was outdated and didn’t support Bounce’s goals of providing a seamless virtual space where families of children with medical challenges could find resources and community.
Insight developed a new digital strategy, creating a single platform that was easier for Bounce to maintain. Now, the website provides a simple and engaging avenue for families to get involved with the Bounce community and form relationships with one another.
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Steltmann explains that families with children who have chronic illness are constantly inundated with forms and processes, from medical paperwork to insurance claims. Steltmann didn’t want Bounce to present one more block of information parents had to get through.
“Having a robust website that is content rich and well-structured for navigation is important to us,” Steltmann says. “As a newer nonprofit, we have to make a good impression and our new site does just that. It makes it easy for volunteers, families and donors to find us, learn about what we do and immediately get involved with little hassle.”
With a redesigned website, Bounce is better equipped to look towards its future ambitions too. Steltmann plans to expand Bounce from a local, Chicago-based organization to a national nonprofit and its website will play a big role in making that a reality.
Leveraging a website isn’t the only tech tool in Bounce’s toolbox for achieving scale at a national level. Steltmann says that they’re planning to develop a mobile application next to help parents connect anywhere, anytime while also making it easier for volunteers and donors to support the organization.
“You have to leverage technology to scale affordably,” Steltmann says. “We are all about using technology for efficiency and effectiveness. It’s the only way to achieve our vision of helping the nearly one in five kids nationwide forced to battle diseases for which there are no cures.”