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Why our new website is so important

New Salvation Army website and Territorial web manager Martin Barratt
Posted July 30, 2018

Our brand new territorial website was officially launched earlier this month, and it could arguably be our most important mission tool in the 21st Century.

The website for The Salvation Army in the New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga Territory is visited by over half a million people each year—averaging 42,000 per month. To put this into perspective, that’s more than attend our corps on a Sunday.

Since the website was last updated five years ago, there has been an explosion in technology—with more and more people using devices to access our services. This meant we needed a ‘robust and responsive’ website, said Territorial Web Manager Martin Barratt. ‘More people are using the website to access food parcels, housing, low income loans and so on. We need our website to be a one-stop shop for people to get help efficiently and quickly.’

The new website also brings together our social services and our faith community. ‘The directive from the Territorial Commander [Commissioner Andy Westrupp] was that the website needed to be more of a mission tool—connecting people to not only to social services, but to our churches. This is a way of meeting not just practical needs but also spiritual needs,’ says Martin.

It was important to move forward in our mission, said Chief Secretary Colonel Suzanne Fincham. ‘We are a movement and if we’re not moving forward we are stagnating, and [the website has] helped us move into the 21st century.’

The new website took a year of work to develop—including focus groups from within the Army and outside, user testing and the development of a complex site with multiple services and audiences.

The website is already helping people connect to church life. ‘We had a family in Ashburton that came to the corps last week, and said that they found the website really easy to use, so they came along on Sunday morning and are now connected in with the Army,’ said Martin. ‘We want more of that, and we want the website to be something that we can all be proud of.’

Vital stats:

  • Last year, there were 505,000 visitors to our website.
  • About 3650 people fill in a ‘take the next step form’ each year, for help with addictions—that’s around 10 a day.
  • Nearly 6000 people have filled out applications for low-income loans this year.
  • Since last November, 700 people have enquired about volunteering in our services.