Where Are They Now: New Website Brings Dreams to Life for Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation


Photo Credit: Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation

Can a website really make a difference for your organization?

The short answer: yes. 

Just ask Emilee Syrewicze, Executive Director of the Catwaba Riverkeeper Foundation.

“The new website has changed our organization. Before the new site, we thought about our website constantly as a function of what we do day-to-day. Now we are able to manage the site easily on our own, and focus on our programmatic work.”

When ‘Getting By’ is Holding You Back

As Apparo’s 2016 Website for Good Award winner, Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation had an outdated website with few capabilities, academic language that didn’t appeal to constituents, and lacked social media integration. 

Getting by with dated resources slowed and complicated operations.

Today, the staff creates content that is shared easily via social media, increasing the organization’s traffic to several thousand visits a day.

In the last three years, their Facebook and Instagram following have increased by more than 60%, and Twitter 40%. Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation attributes the increase to the new website content that is being pushed through social. 

“Time, Talent, and Treasure on the Rise”

“With the new website, we are able to reach audiences we never have before, and our membership continues to grow.”

Before winning Apparo’s Website for Good Award, Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation wanted to create a group for a younger demographic called Young Allies of the River (YAR) but knew they would not respond to an outdated website. With the new website, they promoted the group through both social media and the website with great success.

They were also able to integrate their volunteer management system for more than 2,000 volunteers.

Moving the Mission Forward

How has the new website affected Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation’s primary client, the Catawba-Wateree River Basin’s lakes, rivers, and streams? 

Through a long-time dream of a mobile app that enables citizens to report river problems. The app gives riverkeepers GPS coordinates of the problem for a quicker response. 

“This app exists because we have the capacity through the website,” said Syrewicze. “The impact you are able to leverage from a highly functional website and having someone to guide you on how to use it is a huge gift.”

Get more information on Apparo’s Website for Good Award here.