Support for support groups goes online – with rare success

NZORD is a CWEA finalist in the category use of IT in a not-for-profit organisation

The New Zealand Organisation for Rare Disorders (NZORD) has developed a website template, so support groups can develop cheap, quality websites for those affected by rare diseases and their families.

NZORD is a charitable trust which aims to improve the level of information available for sufferers, assist the development of rare disease support groups and make them more effective, and build partnerships with health professionals and researchers, so as to improve knowledge about rare disorders. NZORD acts as an umbrella network for all rare disease support groups.

The organisation has developed NZORDgroups, www.nzordgroups.org.nz, which provides low cost but good-quality websites for these small support groups, which typically have neither the time nor money, or the IT skills, to develop high-quality websites of their own.

The sites are based on a standard template, which includes colour scheme and format, but offers flexibility in navigation labels, layout variation and graphic insertions. The template provides for a user-friendly content management system.

The NZORD project also aims to help these small support groups be more efficient. A dedicated site can give such a group a better web presence and also allow it to actively manage its own content.

The project means small groups can now have websites that meets design, architecture and accessibility standards.

NZORD subsidises the development of the websites courtesy of funding grants from the Todd Foundation and the Paul Newman Foundation.

The organisation meets the cost of initial and on-going registration of a dedicated URL for the groups. This includes the cost of web-hosting, technical support costs and basic training in CMS use.

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