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Fostering Daily Member Engagement Through Email With Jake Wunsch of MLRC

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Introduction

How can a membership organization ensure daily member engagement?

Media Law Resource Center is a pivotal nonprofit offering essential services to media defense attorneys and major companies like the New York Times and CNN. How does MLRC ensure daily member engagement?

Today's Guest
Jake Wunsch

Jake Wunsch

Jake Wunsch is the Publications Director at the Media Law Resources Center, a nonprofit dedicated to serving media defense attorneys. His work impacts major entities like the New York Times and CNN, navigating legal challenges. Jake plays a significant role in sharing information that aids these media giants in their court defenses, upholding the principles of the First Amendment. His responsibilities include writing, editing, and hosting live webinars with notable journalists and lawyers. Additionally, Jake manages the organization’s website and social media accounts, showcasing a multifaceted role that extends to handling various technical issues.

Podcast title card, Jacob Wunsch on a beach.
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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Jake Wunsch provides an overview of his career journey
  • Explore Media Law Resource Center (MLRC) and the services it provides
  • Jake discusses his role at MLRC
  • How does MLRC communicate with its members?
  • Managing email lists
  • How to enhance search capabilities with advanced transcription tools
  • Jake shares MLRC’s web redesign project and process
  • The nonprofit website design and user experience

In this episode…

Media Law Resource Center is a pivotal nonprofit offering essential services to media defense attorneys and major companies like the New York Times and CNN. How does MLRC ensure daily member engagement?

Former law professional and communications expert Jake Wunsch provides insights into the intricate communication strategies employed by MLRC. Effective member engagement starts with seamless communication, and Jake sheds light on how MLRC manages email lists to keep members informed and engaged. Another notable aspect of MLRC’s commitment to member interaction is the integration of enhanced search capabilities, AI transcriptions, and a user-centered UI/UX design, contributing to a richer and more accessible resource pool for members. These layers of information dissemination showcase the organization’s dedication to empowering media defense attorneys and supporting the pillars of the Fourth Estate.

Tune in to the latest episode of the Nonprofit Thrive podcast, where Ben Freda engages in a compelling conversation with Jake Wunsch, the Publications Director at Media Law Resource Center. Discover how MLRC excels in fostering daily communication with its members as Jake provides a comprehensive overview of the center’s services, highlights from its publications, and insights into creating a user-friendly website experience.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by BFC Digital.

At BFC Digital, we help nonprofit organizations thrive on the web so they can improve the world.

Our team of creative and tech experts understands that an online presence can help foundations and organizations accomplish their missions. That’s where we come in. Over the last decade, we’ve advised our clients on web design, front- and back-end development, and tech support.

We’re committed to supporting a select set of clients who continually inspire us with their vision for a better world.

To learn more on how BFC Digital can assist you in realizing your organization’s mission, visit bfcdigital.com, email us at info@bfcdigtal.com, or call 646-450-2236 today!

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:06

Welcome to Nonprofit Thrive, a podcast where we learn from the humans who are helping nonprofits succeed in the digital world. Now, let’s get started with the show.

Ben Freda 0:23

Welcome. I’m Ben Freda, host of the show where we share the stories of leaders in the nonprofit space. Those are the people who helped the organizations, the foundation’s companies change the world. previous episodes of the show. Well, to be honest, there’s only been one previous episode of the show. This is the second episode. So this is the part of the show where I’m supposed to remind you to check out past episodes. We do have one past episode interview that had a great episode with Ryan Ozimek of Soapbox Engage. He is an expert on CRM. So if you have any questions about CRMs, he says, if you’re starting a nonprofit, the best CRM to use is just a spreadsheet that kind of blew my mind. Check that out. I’m going to introduce today’s guest in a moment. But first, I need to let you know that this podcast is brought to you by BFC Digital, that’s the company I work for. At BFC Digital, we help nonprofits thrive on the web. If you are a nonprofit communications staff member responsible for your organization’s web presence, I’m sure you know that having an effective web presence can really level you up help you change the world. But you also probably know how frustrating it can be opaque, strange, full of jargon constantly changing world of technology. At BFC. Digital, our job is to help our clients succeed on the web without all of that pain. We can handle everything from site maintenance, tiny little bugs and fixes all the way to strategizing designing developing new sites and new web apps. And we’ll do it by being nice, which sometimes feels like there’s a little too little of that. Go to BFCdigital.com/podcast, get more information. And you can actually get a discount on services of if we end up working together. Even if we don’t give us a shout. We’re happy to take a look at whatever you’ve got. So today on Nonprofit Thrive, I am honored to have with us, Jake Wunsch, who has actually been one of my best friends for more than 20 years. Since the early 2000s. Back then the Strokes were a big deal. If you remember that. He is Publication’s Director at Media Law Resources Center, which is a nonprofit providing services to media defense attorneys. Companies like New York Times, CNN, they get sued all the time. And the organization that Jake works for helps share information that helps them defend themselves in court and support the First Amendment. Jake writes, edits, hosts live webinars with noted journalists and lawyers. He also which is why we have him on the show today, he maintains the website and social media account and handles some other tech issues. So we’d like to say thank you, Jake, for joining us.

Jake Wunsch 3:11

Thanks for having me.

Ben Freda 3:12

Cool. And actually really excited about this. As I mentioned, this is our second episode ever. So the first couple of episodes are just with people that I know really well are going not to mind when I screw up and have to backtrack and whatever. So this is much appreciated.

Jake Wunsch 3:28

Honored to be here.

Ben Freda 3:29

I know it’s such an honor, I’m sure. So let’s just kind of start with obviously, you know you really well, but can you start a little bit with like where you know how you got to where you are now I know you work for MLRC. But I think you started out you were a philosophy major right?

Jake Wunsch 3:47

I was a philosophy major at NYU. And I worked for the college paper, which is sort of how I got my start in journalism. After that, my first job out of college was editing a weekly newspaper up in Westchester County, New York. And from there, I got hired to edit some trade publications in Mountain West. So one Tavern Times and one was called the restaurant reporter and they were trade newspapers that came out once a month sort of doing advocacy on behalf of the hospitality industry. Um, from there I went to a law firm to be a paralegal, Paul Weiss, which is actually how I know you, Ben.

Ben Freda 4:34

That’s right, we met there, right?

Jake Wunsch 4:37

A New York litigation firm.

Ben Freda 4:38

Why did you make that transition? Why do you go from journalism to you know, the legal world for a short time.

Jake Wunsch 4:44

I thought I might be a lawyer. I’m sort of a contrarian and I think my whole life people have said you would you would be really good at law because you’d like to argue.

Ben Freda 4:57

You know, yeah, that it that is definitely I can attest that is true, but it’s also super useful, by the way. I mean, when you when you’re trying to think through an issue I obviously talking to you is always super helpful. So people told you you should be a lawyer your whole life?

Jake Wunsch 5:11

But after a couple years at Paul Weiss, I decided that I probably wasn’t cut out to be a lawyer. So I got my current job, which is publications director at the Media Law Resource Center. And I suppose you could say that I combined the two sorts of jobs I had before the legal work and the journalism work.

Ben Freda 5:32

So what is the legal work that MRC does or supports?

Jake Wunsch 5:35

So MLRC, as you said, in the intro, is a membership organization for media, defense attorneys, I should say that media attorneys are linear to the defense role is a little bit misleading, because obviously, our our members do their share of bringing suits as well on gets the government for documents. So there’s like FOIA requests kind of FOIA requests Exactly. Or they will sue each other for copyright infringement. So a big case, everybody’s following right now is that the New York Times is, is suing Microsoft, oh, open AI, I guess, for training on their materials. And we have got,

Ben Freda 6:17

we’ll definitely come back to that, because I want to talk about that. But yeah, okay. In your case, you would be helping the New York Times with that suit, or that’s not even the sort of suit that you guys handle.

Jake Wunsch 6:30

We don’t actually do direct litigation, ourselves. What we do is we provide publications, we provide conferences, we do a little bit of lobbying work. But for the most part, we sort of are like an information clearing house. So we have about four conferences a year, in various locations, with various focuses, we have an entertainment conference out in Hollywood, which looks at a lot of, you know, sort of IP issues, right of publicity issues, things like that. We have a digital conference, which looks at all the various issues surrounding sort of internet law. We have an international conference in London, which deals with sort of comparative law, especially European law, and that’s about it for the conferences. For the publications, we do everything from emails, sort of daily news updates, to books published, like giant reference books, over 1000 agents, each published by LexisNexis. And, yeah, in all those ways, I suppose people can keep track of cases, they can keep track of legislation, they can track technology news, and ask each other for advice and questions.

Ben Freda 7:52

Right, and so most of them, so let’s say the New York Times, or I guess a famous case, Gawker was sued by you know, so they they are defending themselves against what kind of suit like like libel or slander, usually somebody doesn’t like what was written in the newspaper about them. And they sue, is that is that what usually happens? Oh,

Jake Wunsch 8:10

yeah, I mean, that’s, that’s one sort of suit, I guess, um, defamation suits have sort of really decreased in volume over the last 20 years. In fact, our organization started out it’s the libel defense Resource Center. There were so few libel cases brought that we had to change.

Ben Freda 8:30

Interesting. Is that where the media company is winning, listed those libel suits? Yeah, there’s that

Jake Wunsch 8:35

way I bought in this country. It’s very expensive proposition. And the laws tend to favor the press. Right.

Ben Freda 8:42

I guess the first amendment has something to do with that. Yes. Okay. That makes that makes sense. So you guys are basically effectuating communication, knowledge sharing among media companies who don’t want to get sued or when they do they have to respond or are interested in the law behind what they can publish when they can publish it, with an emphasis on probably free speech. Right? Yeah.

Jake Wunsch 9:01

And I guess the last thing we do, which is actually really important, but not particularly legal, is actually just bringing people together. And sure, even if we did none of the substantive stuff, people like to come to our cocktail parties, because they’re a close knit community. And we’re a sort of forum for that. And in fact, I think that’s how that’s one of the greatest services we provide. Yeah, it’s just bringing people together so that they can catch up. Oh, for sure. For sure. And find client and find clients, I suppose for the, for the, for the law firm members in House members.

Ben Freda 9:37

So when COVID happened, right? I mean, you guys, you guys do focus on like, in-person events and stuff and bring these people together. You must have shifted a lot of that stuff over to Zoom.

Jake Wunsch 9:46

We did. Yeah. And that, in fact, we continue to do a lot of Zoom programming now. Yeah, I think one of the great advantages. We’re a small organization, we’re only seven people and I have a boss who is not particularly hung up on the sort of niceties of presentation. So we were able to very quickly sort of put together programming for the community and sort of got out front on on issues, you know, to do with, like, how do you cover COVID patients like privacy issues? How are you? Wow, how are you covering? Like, you know, courts have shifted over to zoom, like, what are the sort of various issues that come up and things like that? So yeah, so especially in the early days, we would have, you know, several 100 people on on calls, and it was sort of a good way for people to come together, and, you know, learn and share information and just commiserate. So yeah. And we continue to do about, maybe, you know, one, one Zoom call every other every other week, even

Ben Freda 10:54

Now, even in 2024. Yeah, absolutely. And before COVID happened, you didn’t do anything with Zoom? Nothing?

Jake Wunsch 11:01

No, absolutely. You hadn’t even really heard we were on a system called chime, by Amazon.

Ben Freda 11:07

Gosh, interesting, which I have never heard of. So it was great. Yeah, it is. It is funny thinking about how COVID change all that stuff. I didn’t I mean, Zoom was barely anything I’d ever heard. You know what I mean? Like, it was not a word that I would say. And now it’s 24. I’m on potentially and Zoom calls, you know, every week, it’s really funny. But it’s really good to that that’s sort of, I mean, COVID terrible thing. But it’s interesting to sort of open up more opportunities for your members to talk and connect to you and share information. Do you feel like members respond to that? Or are you kind of like twisting arms to get people to show up to these things? No, we’re

Jake Wunsch 11:43

certainly not twisting arms to get I mean, I’m so say we have 5000. Members, I think a good call for us would be 200 people. So it’s the portion of our members that show up. I mean, these are busy working lawyers, um, but especially when there’s topics which are timely. People seem extremely grateful to, to attend these. attend these sessions.

Ben Freda 12:09

So because you’ll do, and you’ll do a session on stuff that’s in the news like today, like, yeah, like, I don’t know, what’s a good one. I guess Trump is suing somebody for slander. I guess it’s not a media company. So that wouldn’t really count. But you’ve got things in the news all the time, like the AIC we’re just talking about right now. Yes, you could you could do a zoom call on that next week or something, of course. And how do you how do you tell people that this is happening? You list I assume, and you put it on a website? And you tweet about it or whatever?

Jake Wunsch 12:35

Exactly. All three? Well, we don’t do it that these are for members only. So we would try to avoid putting that on social media. And in fact, our our talks are dated, we have to sort of go one by one letting people in. But yeah, we would. Our main vehicle for communicating with our members is is a six day a week email that we do called the media law daily. And at the top of that email every single day, is a giant box, promoting whatever we want to promote. And it’s nice, because that’s the sort of spinach. But beneath that is stuff that would actually be interesting or useful to people on beyond just trying to sell them on our, you know, events and products. So

Ben Freda 13:16

so this is actually one thing I want to talk about, because I think it’s a very, it’s a anyway, it’s different from almost anybody else I’ve spoken to in the nonprofit world, you have a email that goes out six times a week. Correct. And you guys, and it’s full of information about what’s going on in current events related to media law. How do you prepare that I mean, how much time and energy goes into putting that together. So

Jake Wunsch 13:43

for me, it’s about it’s generally my morning, so I’m in charge of, of doing some research myself to generate material for the publication. And then I actually wind up compiling the whole thing. My colleagues are also scouring the web scouring court websites for interesting briefs and opinions. They send everything to me edit it, I send it to an editor who then edits what I’ve done, I put it into MailChimp, and add whatever sort of marketing we want, and send it out. And it goes out to 5000 people every day, it goes out to about 5000 people every day. Yep.

Ben Freda 14:22

Do you know what your open rate is for that? I’m just curious.

Jake Wunsch 14:26

I don’t but it would be easy. Easy enough to check.

Ben Freda 14:30

Because I’ll tell you, I mean, a daily. The standard would be something like one person I mean, for daily email, like the standard be like 1% or something very low. But but maybe I mean, if you’ve got 200 people showing up on Zoom calls out of 5000 people reading this thing. Yeah,

Jake Wunsch 14:43

certainly. I think our open rate is somewhere closer to 50%.

Ben Freda 14:48

I’m kidding. That’s incredible. What do you put in these emails?

Jake Wunsch 14:50

Yeah, well, I’ll have to go. What do we put into them? I mean, I knew Yes, we put in well, very, we put a noose but it’s niche. Use that I guess you can’t find anywhere else. So if you want to. Yeah, basically, if you want to know what’s happening in the sort of media law landscape, generally this is just about the best source you could have. Wow. Yeah. But not only do we aggregate news articles, which are obviously a lot easier for people to, to access themselves, but but we also will write up interesting briefs and opinions from around the country that that we find ourselves or that our members will send us and those obviously you couldn’t get anywhere else. And those are often our most clicks stories are most clicked items, like I said, not stored.

Ben Freda 15:39

So you track what gets clicked within each email. Do you

Jake Wunsch 15:44

stay? I do. Yep. And underneath all my promotional material, I put the days, the previous day’s top five clicked items. And those are Yeah, and those are generally the top clicked items for the following day as well. It gets a little confusing keeping track. Oh, this was much but yeah, but generally, I don’t know if it’s because of the position or because they were deemed popular. But yeah, but those are those are.

Ben Freda 16:09

I mean, I know, I’ve heard about this before, because I know, you know, we’ve talked about about this, and this is like a sizable percent of your job. But this still blows my mind. How, what a system you have for this. I mean, this is like so valuable to people, right? Like if people who you’re you’re compiling stuff, that’d be really difficult to find elsewhere. Right. You know, and that’s, and it’s so niche. I mean, the membership is like, so niche that, yeah, the value of this is huge, I would think I mean, do you do people ever tell you this? Like, do your members ever say, Hey, thanks for the daily or response.

Jake Wunsch 16:39

That’s, that’s basically we, we are always looking for feedback. And that is the one thing that that we constantly get feedback on, people say, oh, you know, generally the feedback is very good. And when you ask them to specify the thing that they either can remember the thing they respond to is the is the media law daily. So yeah, we get a lot of credit for it. It’s

Ben Freda 16:59

really cool. And what kind of okay, I kind of know the answer this because we’ve talked about this and it’s hilarious, but what what stories tend to be the most popular?

Jake Wunsch 17:06

Well, certainly media lawyers like to read about other media lawyers, so if there’s any sort of someone they know, those will be among the top clicked. Um, other than that, I think it’s just like any publication where people are interested in, you know, sex, and drugs or have you, we get these things indirectly through the lens of media law, but you know, just like any publication, if they’re sexy in a title or pity or anything like that Daniels scandal is kind of in our top five, and sometimes when I’m compiling the top five, but I feel a little bit embarrassed on behalf of our members.

Ben Freda 17:49

Really, guys, come on, can’t the scholarly analysis of the last 20 years of libel defense be the top and not like the Hulk Hogan sex tape scandal? That is pretty funny. Although the Hulk Hogan sex tape scandal was a big deal in First Amendment jurisprudence, right. I mean, the fact that they were able to shut down Gawker for publishing it. Yeah. I’m sure there was a huge one is any I would imagine also, is political stuff. Highly clicked on anything, Trump anything election, anything like that, or not really, that and that doesn’t mean that doesn’t believe people are interested

Jake Wunsch 18:19

in Trump. But, um, I suppose I’m, when I’m putting the thing together. Like, I really have to think I mean, there’s a lot of things that have to do with the First Amendment and sort of tangentially has to do with media, but part of our role is to is to keep the thing focused. So if something is just sort of general, political peace, we wouldn’t run it. I mean, we, we wind up having to write Yeah, went a lot, went a lot. So we’d be interested in Trump, basically, insofar as he is, you know, trying to regulate the press. We’re there’s so many articles about him attacking the press. I often don’t even bother including those. Yeah.

Ben Freda 18:59

I mean, railing against the liberal media and stuff like that. I mean, that that’s, yeah, that’s me talk. It’s, that’s interesting. Okay, so every day you do this, and you send it in, but it’s six days a week.

Jake Wunsch 19:14

It’s six days a week. I, you may know that you can set up an email to send in advance for our, for our Saturday edition. I’m not waking up on Saturday morning to do it. I set it up on it on Friday night and Saturday at 10. So this is on that are actually fairly surprising. Or surprisingly, good. People are checking their work email over the weekend, evidently,

Ben Freda 19:37

stop doing that guy’s stuff. Yeah, totally. Courts are closed. Right? Yep. It really interesting now. So I guess my question why this is so this email list, which apparently is incredibly valuable, given that it’s opened by half the people using it, which blows my mind. You have to be a member. Yes, a part of the membership of MLRC to be on the email list. Is that correct? So do you where do you keep the list? I mean, I just had an episode last time with with Ryan Osmek About CRMs. Where do you keep the list of people who are members? And how do you get the list of those people into the MailChimp list.

Jake Wunsch 20:10

So we have a program called Imus, right? It’s our CRM, we’ve had it for a long time, it’s sort of a legacy product, I don’t really know how to compare it to others. And what we do is, we had a special plugin built, so that I miss could communicate with MailChimp. So in fact, every time I send an email, MailChimp asks, IMS for the most current list for whatever publication I’m sending out. I see. And, and that’s, that’s how it’s sent. And it’s dynamic, it should, you know, we get members all the time, or members drop out all the time where people do their jobs. So I believe it it updates, like every two hours or something

Ben Freda 20:54

like, and do you that makes sense? And if you want to see who’s Do you ever get a chance to see like, who’s the, who opens the most of them? And who opens the least? And if you do, like in terms of which people like which people are most interested? Do you ever get anybody opens every day, you know, for the last three months? And do you see that information in MailChimp? Or do you see that information in IMS? Or do you not really so

Jake Wunsch 21:12

it doesn’t write back to me as we would see that information in MailChimp, right or wrong? I actually feel some compunction about going in and sort of looking at who’s clicking on individual stories there must be with it, because obviously, MailChimp is providing me with that. But I don’t tend to look at who’s clicking on what I’m most interested in somewhat private. And yeah, also, because I don’t care that much.

Ben Freda 21:37

I’m more I’m more interested in it less like what people are clicking on in terms of inside the email. But do we have the power users? Do you? Yeah, like, who are your people that are never opening and versus people that are pretty much making it part of their daily routine to read media, you know, daily? And who you might reach out to as like, advocates, right? Or? I don’t know, anything like that. Yeah,

Jake Wunsch 22:00

our community is so small and visible to us, though, that I feel like I’m in terms of the people who are the big players. Oh, yeah. This sort of their opening the media law daily would be the least of

Ben Freda 22:12

Ah, gotcha. So it’s not, that’s not how you’re gonna identify them. You’re gonna identify them as they want to talk at a conference or, or come up to, you know, the executive director or something like that? Sure. I got you. Yeah, that’s interesting. So okay, so the media daily goes out to just the membership, the membership roles kept in IMS? Do you put old copies of the media a lot daily, like the email list, like on the website somewhere for people to find? Or you just you don’t do that?

Jake Wunsch 22:37

We don’t do that. And I’ve toyed with the idea. Before, you know, the medium of audio is a lot of work. And yeah. And it seems like it could be a good research tool for people. Yeah, we have 20 years worth of media on news, you can see running searches. And that would be pretty helpful. I guess the problem is, and you’re the tech expert. But if we just put in each media daily, like a normal sort of article on our site, what would happen is, I believe, because of the volume of those, they would overrun our search results. So everything if you search for whole Cogan on our site, you would get a million news stories before you got for instance, like the lawyers a write up for our own publication, which which we want to push and which people would probably come to us for, you know that we have that issue. I mean, obviously, there’s ways to siphon it off. But it is an interesting, yeah, I suppose there’s there’s also an attitude, which is nobody’s really interested in old news. Um, and yeah, I got sort of, it’s good for that day or a couple of days, but right,

Ben Freda 23:50

it’s good for that day, a couple of days. It’s good to keep up. Yeah, yeah. But once, why would you look at look at the top news stories from 2019. You know,

Jake Wunsch 23:58

I could think of lots of reasons why now that I know that I say that

Ben Freda 24:01

I’m like, oh, yeah, maybe you would actually, you know, yeah.

Jake Wunsch 24:04

And we do certain things, in fact that that would make that would make it even more valuable. Like if you were searching within whenever we run anything on a court case, we always will put the jurisdiction. So if somebody was interested in the cases in their jurisdiction, yeah, that would that, for instance, would be fairly easy to search, we always put the case names after like, any sort of court document. So if you were searching for a case, it would be presumably, if the names were used enough, it would be really easy to find. So things like that would make it a good research tool. They’re not going anywhere. So we still could do that.

Ben Freda 24:39

Yeah, they’re saved somewhere. They’re saved to MailChimp, I would guess. Yeah, you know, it’s interesting. You bring up the search thing, because we do obviously we do a lot of websites for nonprofits. And one of the things that’s happened over the last couple of years is, is yeah, a lot more siphoned resource libraries, and a lot fewer master searches, right. So it used to just be there was one search bar At the top of website, you type your thing and and you get to the search results page and it gives you everything, right. And now, you know, for that for the exact reason you’re talking about, a lot of times people are interested in one type of thing. You know what I mean? So people using which the…

Jake Wunsch 25:14

The siphon searches because they are. So

Ben Freda 25:19

there’s really two types that we do a lot of, and they they’re used a lot. They’re actually used more than the keyword searches there. There’s usually almost always like a resources library. So you guys talk about this all the time. I mean, on your own website, you have media law dailies, it would be a resource, like each of those is a resource, you know what I mean? But you also have, you know, you have we didn’t talk about this earlier, but you I know you have the bulletin you have you have monthly things you do you have yearly books, all those would be resources. And so you probably want a different resources library for each one, I would think because they’re so different ones, like a book, one’s like an article and once like an email, you know what I mean? So, so Yeah, usually, usually, we’re setting up at least a resources library, and then at least like events, so a library of upcoming and past events, a lot of people want past events, because they’ll particularly with Zoom now, right? People that again, this is happening a lot more of the last three years, people are doing events that are online talks like this one, right. And they wrote in, they have an event on their website for upcoming event, buy a ticket or register for it, or just here’s the link for it. And then they after it’s gone, right. And so, but what people have started to do is we we gets shunted into a different library, which is past events, someone goes in and uploads the recording of the event. And then it’s not just an event, it’s a reason, you know, so that it becomes its own resources library, too. So we’re always doing those two. And then you also just want to keyword search, because you want people to be able to search, what’s their address, you know, or like, when where they found it, and that’ll just be in the page content, you know, like, that won’t be right. So it’s really started to splinter at least recently. Among for just that reason. Yeah. I

Jake Wunsch 26:58

be curious, are people um, when they’re uploading their videos and things like that? Are they are they using transcription programs? Because obviously, there’s all this content, but it would seem very hard to to sort of know what was in it. Yeah,

Ben Freda 27:11

they are. Okay, so So this is one of the ways that AI has changed things. I think, obviously, AI pros cons, lots of considerations, both ways. One of the things AI does really well is transcribed videos or audio. So what you should absolutely be doing is putting video, and then just dumped the transcript if you have 15 minutes to double check the estimate, right. And then good. There’s a program we use called otter AI, which is 15 bucks a month, so you don’t have to pay for it. And this is changing so quickly, I’m sure next month, there’ll be a different one and the month after it’d be different, you know, but all you’re asking it to do is understand what is being said it can transcribe it. And it can tell you it knows the difference between two different people or three different people or four different people. So it’ll say speaker, one speaker to speaker, one speaker to speaker three, Speaker four Speaker One and it’ll get it right. And then you just have to global replace with the names. So you do have to look at it a little bit. But the benefits are huge, because then people can search it. Right? It will search it find out. Otherwise, you can’t really search in videos unless there’s a transcript. So yeah, people putting the transcripts in long winded answer, but yeah, people don’t know.

Jake Wunsch 28:15

And it’s it’s interesting, though, I know that the media has struggled a lot with video, there was a lot of talk about the pivot to video several years ago, that everybody was gonna have to start providing a lot more video content, but it seems like that didn’t quite pan out that in fact, people don’t like video.

Ben Freda 28:33

Do you? Like New York Times?

Jake Wunsch 28:36

Oh, no, I don’t tend to like video. One thing I’m at work and I don’t Yeah, discrete.

Ben Freda 28:44

Oh, you’re on the subway

Jake Wunsch 28:46

sound or on the subway? Yeah, and I don’t have service but no, I don’t tend to like it is. There’s certainly like things like this are interesting. Or podcasts. I might not be looking at our faces if I was taking this in as an audience member but um, but there’s certainly a place for for non print media, for sure. But

Ben Freda 29:07

you’re right. It is it is not discrete, non print media. It’s not discrete. It makes sound. And maybe you have earbuds in but it’s also not scannable. Right. You can’t scan get the headline, you can’t get the highlights. There’s certain AI tools blah, blah, blah. I don’t know, right or wrong with that. But I’m not sure that they’re very good. Yeah, yeah, totally. So yeah, video is on the New York Times is interesting. But so what were we talking about? See this is episode two, right? This is something that will hopefully get better or at future episodes. I should be like taking notes of what we’re so I can go back to where we were but we you know, we were talking about media law daily. So whether you reuse it you really don’t it’s sort of in the archive you might reuse it in the future, but it’s only for members anyway. So would you put it behind like a like a paywall on the website so only members can log in? Is that how it works? Absolutely.

Jake Wunsch 30:01

Absolutely. Most of our content is behind a paywall.

Ben Freda 30:02

Okay, so anything you create or write that is like a member benefit would be behind a paywall, and that paywall is also synced with your IMS CRM or not

Jake Wunsch 30:12

Correct. It is synced with the IMS. Because actually our our structure is a little more complicated than just member or nonmembers. So certain membership classes will have access to things that other members won’t.

Ben Freda 30:22

And in the sync between Imus in the website, which I presume is in WordPress, right? Can’t remember Yes, it’s in Word because it will it will assign a role to the particular user record in WordPress based on what type of member they

Jake Wunsch 30:34

are. Exactly. And we have about four membership types. Yeah, so

Ben Freda 30:38

this is really common, we have a couple of membership organizations that are clients that aside from you, that are that, yeah, and depending on the tool they use to manage our membership. Sometimes that sink can include the Member Type, and sometimes it cannot, it can just include whether they’re members or not. So you kind of just have one level. So you, but you are able to have multiple levels, and media lot media. Ideally, if you did have an archive of that on the website, they’re probably the lowest level I would, I would assume.

Jake Wunsch 31:06

I’m surprisingly actually, I believe that is one of our most restricted publications, which I always find ironic, given that the majority of the content is not, in fact, ours. But I

Ben Freda 31:17

believe the service is incredible. The fact that you’re compiling this thing is so valuable, I

Jake Wunsch 31:23

guess that’s the thinking and so they they want to make sure that you’re paying top dollar, if you’re gonna get that if you’re gonna get that service. Yeah, I suppose.

Ben Freda 31:31

That’s Yes. That’s, that’s, that’s funny. That’s interesting. Okay, so we are actually, you know, before we end up running out of time, there is another topic to talk about, in general, because we do we do a lot. And you guys recently went through a website redesign project, we do a ton of these from the other end of it from the agency end, where we’re helping nonprofits with their, you know, redesign project, and I just am curious to talk to you about how that unfolded, what the process was, like, what worked, what didn’t horror stories, success stories, anything, you know, from that process that might be worth talking about. And a good place to just jump in is what the process was like, did you guys do designs, first, how many rounds of designs then moved to development? Who did content, all that kind of stuff?

Jake Wunsch 32:15

Um, well, it’s been a, it’s been a few years. So I’ll admit, my memory is a bit easy about the exact process. Um, there was some sort of internal debate at my organization as to whether we should take the website redesign as an opportunity to sort of rethink the entire website to go through it sort of page by page, see what what needed to be transferred on what didn’t, versus just sort of taking the taking the entire old site and kind of dumping it into the new one, making everything available, and just seeing sort of how it how it fell. That is what we wound up doing. And I regret that, really, because, because to this day, there’s a lot of just strange sorts of pages on the website, I mean, 1000s and 1000s of pages on our website, our organization is like 40 years old or something. So we’ve we’ve created quite a lot of documents and, and publications and things like that. Yeah. So so to this day, I’ll get, you know, people come up with a lot of pages that don’t make any sense to them, that are scrambled to me, it would have made actually more sense to maybe copy everything over. But then, but then to go ala carte, and just release things as we reviewed. I suggest anybody

Ben Freda 33:33

do that. Totally. It’s funny that you say that, because I just we had a meeting yesterday with an organization, we’re redoing the website that was it’s a membership organization, just like yours. And they’re one of the things we’re talking about is their menu is 20, something like eight items across the top, and each of those eight has 24 on average, underneath it, half of it is not necessary and just calling that is an auditing that and calling that as a project on its own, you know what I mean? So I can understand being reticent to do it because of the effort involved. But it is, but you’re what you’re saying is you’re kind of paying for it after for not doing?

Jake Wunsch 34:09

Yes, um, yeah, it’s an I guess it’s when the project is not active. Also, it sort of goes to the backburner. So it’s very hard to sort of, to force oneself on a Friday afternoon to say like, Hey, let me look at the art, you know, articles from the 90s and see cleaned up. Whereas when the when the project was sort of active and top of mind, that might have been easier to do, or so.

Ben Freda 34:37

So when you started this project, you’re you were you just made a decision to sort of keep the structure the way it was, and keep the pages that are exist and not not retire any pages and look at more at like the design on the UX. Is that what the idea was?

Jake Wunsch 34:53

Yeah, well basically, you know, so we are not a very tech forward organization. Um, and We were sort of forced to change websites, because some of our members were actually complaining that their IT departments were saying that it was unsafe to visit our website that there were security issues. Again, you’re the tech expert. But I know on our old site, it was HTTP. Yeah. And a new one. It’s HTTPS. And I believe we had to change websites to get that s. And maybe you can explain better than I can. That’s interesting. It’s probably not true that we had to build a whole new website. But um, I

Ben Freda 35:33

don’t think that, yeah, I don’t think the back end creating the website pages determines whether it’s HTTPS or not, that’s more to do with the certificate that is required in terms of encrypting the traffic that goes back and forth. But I do think if I remember, right, that you are on an old version of Joomla, right. And so I think this, which I think had reached end of life and required a version of PHP that was so outdated, that your server was gonna shut it down or something like that is

Jake Wunsch 36:01

great. Right? That was another major issue also. Right. So

Ben Freda 36:04

that would require an update of some kind. Yeah, you’re kind of you’re, you’re, you’re at the end of life of that. So you got to move to something else. So that was what really occasion the the project was the underlying sort of tool going out of date. Right, exact Gotcha. Okay, gotcha. And so you thought at the same time, let’s also update the UX UI, you know, the UI and the design. And let’s keep most of the content in place and see what happens. Absolutely. Right. Okay. All right, that makes sense. How long do you remember how long it took roughly, and pain points? And

Jake Wunsch 36:36

I think it took about, like a year and a half in total? Um, what do I remember about the process, I remember how quickly we were forced to move by the by the development company really had a very strict timetable, which sort of put a lot of pressure on us to, to keep things moving to approve designs very quickly to you know, just all sorts of decisions had to be made, you know, in a matter of days. And while I think that that was good, because I do think these projects can be overwhelming. And it can be very easy to sort of procrastinate until nothing gets done. The process did feel a bit rushed. And I do think that we’re still sort of cleaning up from, you know, sort of imperfect

Ben Freda 37:29

result. Yeah, that makes that makes sense. I think it’s, it is true, like a lot of agencies, right? Like they’re, I’m an agency or I have an agency, and it’s not just me, it’s also our employees. But yeah, it is true that when projects run super long, you know, it is costly for the agency to do, I suppose I think in general, you know, for now, one of the things we’ve started to do is in even in our proposals in the plant, like before we even started we have, we have a timeline that we talked about with the client. So we’re like, Hey, this is the like, here’s, here’s what we think it would take six months, three months, nine months, whatever. How does that work with you. And we also sort of try and set expectations for meetings, because this is as maybe getting into the weeds. But one of the things we do during the strategy, design phase, more planning, everything, which usually takes a month or two months or something. We do meet with a client twice a week, and it’s an hour of time, and that that’s where a lot of the decisions are made. It’s it’s high impact. I mean, you think, Oh, two hours a week, no big deal. But you’re in a meeting for two hours a week, right? You’re you you’re looking at stuff in between the meeting, because we’re sending you designs beforehand, you’re probably looking at it probably we’ve probably asked you to track down some information from somebody or to do you know what I mean? And so you’re working on that between, it’s at least five hours a week of work? So, yeah, it’s a lot. I mean, you know, if somebody’s working 40 hours a week, you know, maybe they’re a part time because I don’t know, whatever, it’s a lot of time. And so we say look, if this is if that is too high impact, then we can stretch the time out, you know, I mean, and so you want to have an expectation, you know, that it is it is these products are of high impact, you know what I mean? So, yeah, so to get sort of go as quickly as you would go ahead and go as quickly as you guys work. That may have been where that pressure was coming from, you know, right? Absolutely. Yep. Well, I

Jake Wunsch 39:08

believe there was monetary considerations also, like if we if we blew deadlines, things would get more expensive. Oh, I

Ben Freda 39:15

see. Okay, how did you? That’s, that’s interesting. Must have been a stressful experience. Yeah,

Jake Wunsch 39:21

it was stressful. It also seemed sensible in some ways, like I said, but but it but it didn’t lead to a sort of rushed project, or a rushed process and then rushed to sort of looking website.

Ben Freda 39:33

I think your website looks pretty good. Okay. And I will say this, everyone should go there. Right now. M media law.org. Here’s something I really like about your website. I wonder if I can. I’ve never screenshot on a podcast before. Let’s see if this works. Here’s what I think I really like about your website as somebody who makes nonprofit websites and has for 10 years. This, right, this is right at the start. It’s right at the beginning. It’s at the top. I mean, how many websites do you see where there’s a A picture of a newspaper, right? And maybe a gavel, you know what I mean? And it says something, I don’t know, it’s something or maybe doesn’t say anything. For you guys, your mission is really clear what to do right up the top. Right. So and you know, you could do analytics on who’s coming and why. But you know, I think without knowing anything else, my assumption would be people are coming to mlrc.org or medialaw.org, when they’ve heard of you. And they’re just like, wait was that this is what people want to see, when they’re of that mindset. They want to know what the heck you do, you know what I mean, without a whole bunch of stuff. So and then, and then you go down, and then the first thing you see is events, and that is kind of what you’re all about is having events and connecting people, I actually think this works pretty well, to be honest, like, why has been somewhat impressed by just just how this is laid out? I mean, yeah, you know, it could be a little bit fancier, or whatever, you know, to the design can be different. But, but I think it’s pretty effective, to be honest. And then down here, you have latest issues of your publications. Just

Jake Wunsch 40:55

ask you a question, though. It’s interesting, you go straight to the homepage, because I actually can’t imagine a lot of scenarios where people would be going to our homepage, since we’re not really such a public facing organization. If maybe there’s like a sort of undue emphasis on on this page, which in fact, people don’t use. I mean, I would assume that most people who are coming to our website are coming from our emails that we send to them. Yeah. pages that that are linked in those emails? For

Ben Freda 41:24

sure. Yeah, I think you’re probably right. And you can look at the analytics, figure that out, one of the things we do is like, try and really figure out what you know, how can we digest the analytics, which is more complex for nonprofits than it is for an organization selling shoes or something? You don’t? I mean, the analytics for selling shoes, pretty easy. How many people come to the site? What percentage of them buy shoes? How can you increase the percentage of people that buy shoes now, for somebody like you, and for a lot of our clients, it’s not that simple. It’s more complex, you know, you’re not selling shoes. You know, some nonprofits are trying to even put themselves out of business, because they’re trying to solve an issue that if solved, would necessitate their dismissal. So it’s just a different thing. And so I think for anyway, that’s an aside, but you look at the analytics and figure out like, who is coming, but, but there are always going to be, you know, there’s always gonna be new people and old people. Right, right. And the impact of the design and structure of the site is going to be much more important for new people, right? Because they don’t know what you’re about the old people that are used to it, they know what you are, they know what to do. They’ve been here before, you know what I mean. So it’s really the that in my mind, it’s the people who like think, Wait, what was the organization that I could join? That would help me, you know, my media company? What was the thing? And they kind of vaguely remember it? And they put it in? Yeah, that’s

Jake Wunsch 42:37

what we did. Um, you know, in terms of spending money on templates and things like that, we did put most of our sort of attention into those two menu items on the right, the join and about ages. Yes, exactly. Which, you know, important, obviously, for, for bringing those new books.

Ben Freda 42:56

Yeah. Listen, we, you know, I could talk about this forever. This is super interesting. And it might be fun to even later on do episodes where we just analyze people’s sites and say, like, here’s what you don’t know, what’s working, what’s not, you know what I mean? Hopefully, with some, you know, understanding of what you’re trying to do behind the scenes, I’m going to stop it there for now. And talk about us forever. We have like, one minute left. So I just wanted to circle back. And first of all, say thanks for coming on.

Jake Wunsch 43:23

Thanks for having me.

Ben Freda 43:24

It was always super enlightening. I love talking about this stuff. And you’re a great conversationalist. Any anything else? So my only last question really? Is there. Is there anything else I didn’t ask are we didn’t cover that is important to cover you think?

Jake Wunsch 43:40

I’ll think about it as soon as we hang up. But for now. It’s been a very fun conversation. So thank you.

Ben Freda 43:47

So my real last question is if people want to learn more about you learn more about the organization? Where can they go? And I think we’ve just shown them, but…

Jake Wunsch 43:54

believe so. But yes, they can go to a medialaw.org and check out everything that MLRC does.

Ben Freda 44:01

Excellent. Thank you so much for joining us. Great conversation. Really appreciate it. All right. All right. Take care. Thanks. Bye. Bye bye.

Outro 44:11

Thanks for listening to the Nonprofit Thrive podcast. We’ll see you next time. And be sure to click subscribe to get future episodes.

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