Wild Apricot Helps Ocean Enthusiast Share News, Resources About BP Gulf Coast Oil Disaster

Lori Halley 29 June 2010 0 comments

When disaster strikes, many of us are unwittingly drawn to a new calling. Just ask long-time Mississippi native Andrew Hinkebein, who saw the damage being thrust upon his beloved Mississippi coast in April, when the BP Deepwater Horizon drilling oil rig exploded, uncapping millions of gallons of crude from an undersea well into the Gulf of Mexico.

Andrew Hinkebein is a Mississippi native and ocean-lover who spends a lot of time on the Gulf Coast for his employer, NVisions Solutions, a Mississippi company involved in the response. He has a personal and professional bird's eye view of how the catastrophe is affecting his home and wants to inform others affected so they might learn ways to get help or offer their own. So he created the Web portal www.msgulfspill.com,the Unofficial Mississippi Deepwater Horizon Resource, using low-cost web-building software from Wild Apricot.

Hinkebein explained, "I love Mississippi and have lived here my entire life, excluding my four years in the Marine Corps. I decided to create this web site and take everything I could find about the disaster and bring it to one place."

Challenge

Twenty days after the BP oil-drilling platform caught fire and exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, Hinkebein decided to create his online information clearinghouse. "I think the major media have done a good job covering this disaster," he said. "But when you get a catastrophe of this size and proportion, it's hard to keep up with everything. In my job, and from my vantage point as a resident, I see the best information out there and pull it together in one central hub."

Hinkebein was involved in search and rescue efforts following Hurricane Katrina, so he had first-hand knowledge about the importance of spreading the news in order to spur people to help out by volunteering.

"After seeing Katrina come through the Gulf, I learned that disaster takes a lot of organization and is very hard to deal with. The more you keep people informed, the more they feel like they're involved, the better off everyone is. My main purpose in creating MSGulfSpill.com is to help people understand the magnitude of this disaster and how it is affecting all of us."

While the MississippiDeep Water Horizon Resource is driven by Hinkebein's love and passion for his native Mississippi, it's not driven by sponsorship dollars or any outside funding. To provide this service and carry out this labor of love, Hinkebein volunteers his free time and deploys Wild Apricot's easy-to-use and affordable web content management software.

Solution

Hinkebein says he built www.msgulfspill.com  in his free time. As someone who has used Wild Apricot to set up web sites for a non-profit and for his local homeowners' association, he knew how simple the process would be. "Each night for about a week, I'd spend a few hours at my computer working on the site. Wild Apricot's web building software is user friendly and allows you to interact with the software in a program you're familiar with - a Word document. This takes all the fear out of creating a web site, from creating banners and footers, to installing widgets for breaking news and hosting online forums."

Results

The Mississippi Deep Water Horizon Resource offers a wealth of information relating to disaster-related activities and events in Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Louisiana. On the home page, visitors will find a live streaming video capturing real-time images of the oil flowing from the undersea well. The "Resources" tab informs residents and businesses on how to file claims against BP for loss and damage caused by the disaster. There's also phone numbers and links for residents to report wildlife and birds covered with oil, or to learn about marine-protected areas within proximity to BP's Deepwater Horizon fallen platform. The "Jobs" tab spells out employment opportunities related to oil spill clean up, and the "Volunteer" and "Donate" tabs provide links to the multitude of agencies aiding the protection, clean up and recovery effort.

Since Wild Apricot's web-building tools also let you manage your database of members or site visitors, www.msgulfspill.com also encourages visitors to sign up for updates about events, news and any other information pertinent to the BP disaster.

Now that his web site up and running, Hinkebein says he spends his time following events and finding interesting developments to post to the site to keep it up-to-date. As he spreads the word about this valuable resource, he's invariably asked about the team of volunteers making the web site updates and managing the information. People are surprised to learn that only he is running the site.

"That's the greatest benefit of Wild Apricot's technology,"said Hinkebein. "You only need one person to manage your web site. The software handles the jobs of database management, event or member registrations and content updates. It's a huge stress-reliever, and it helps me focus on the things that matter most, like how my community is going to recover after this horrible accident."

Get a Special Report on Simplifying Membership Management

Enter your email and receive this special report in your inbox.
Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Tuesday, 29 June 2010 at 1:09 PM

Get a Special Report on Simplifying Membership Management

Enter your email and receive this special report in your inbox.
Sorry, this blog post is closed for further comments.