URBANA – It may not make HGTV, but the Crisis Nursery of Champaign County is about to get a $10,000 makeover.
Not the bricks-and-mortar kind, but a website makeover courtesy of an online voting contest sponsored by LRS Web Solutions, a division of Levi, Ray & Shoup.
The Urbana not-for-profit received the most votes – 5,000 out of 12,000 cast – during the two-week contest that concluded Friday.
In a scene straight out of a Publishers Clearinghouse commercial, representatives of LRS showed up at the Crisis Nursery on Monday morning with a giant $10,000 check and an armload of balloons.
"We are just are so appreciative of the community's support," said a thrilled Stephanie Record, executive director of the shelter. "We wouldn't have won without it."
LRS will start working with Crisis Nursery within the next few weeks, and the new website should launch in January, she said.
The nursery's current site, http://www.crisisnursery.net, is about 10 years old and badly needs updating, she said.
"Right now it's really text-heavy," and it's hard to find what you're looking for, Record said. "Parents have to dig, dig, dig to find what they need. We really want to simplify it and make it more user-friendly for parents and the public. We're really excited for the opportunity to do that."
The nursery had solicited bids for a new website design, ranging from $3,000 to $10,000.
"It's such an expensive process," she said, so the contest was "perfect timing for us."
"We were having to look at where to pull that money from our budget, ... money we can put toward the children and families we work with. It's a huge weight off of our budget."
The agency's budget this year totals almost $872,000.
The Crisis Nursery learned in early August it was one of 10 finalists in the contest and publicized the online voting via email and its Facebook page.
On its website, LRS said it wanted to put its expertise at website design "to good use for the community" and cited the Crisis Nursery's mission of creating an "island of safety" dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and neglect through emergency intervention, respite care and support to families in crisis.
"Having this new site will enable them to recruit more volunteers, increase online donations, share success stories, and encourage attendance at their annual events," the LRS website said.
The other finalists were based in Springfield, Peoria or Bloomington.
Finishing second was Crimestoppers of Sangamon & Menard Counties, which will receive a free social media package. The third-place winner, the Youth Service Bureau, won a free online photo gallery.