Recovery Website in a Box

We create and curate documentation, templates, knowledge resources and user guides that help people use free and open technology effectively during disasters.

Scroll down to view our resources, ask us questions via the web forum at the bottom of this page and contact us.

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Manage Your Information

Organizing information for your coalition's members, disaster survivors and the general public is one of the most important roles your network can play. We've below you will find resources to help you provide your community with the information they need to operate effectively and support each other.

Data Templates contains data models (first rows) filled out that define information many networks organize, such as lists of active groups/committees, member organizations, volunteer opportunities, communications channels (such as social media accounts) and more.

Website Starter Template outlines many of the questions you and your organization will need to answer to have a complete website. Once you've completed this template, you'll be ready to deploy a website.

Services Directory is formatted to comply with the Open Referral Human Services Data Standard for managing information about social and human services. If you want to serve this information through Ohana, let us know and we'll help you set it up.

Volunteer Request Form and Volunteer Sources Templates can be copied and embedded in your website to create a quick, Google Docs-based system for managing and publishing opportunities for volunteers.

Set Up a Website

Content management systems (CMS) enable anyone who is comfortable using office productivity applications like Microsoft Word to make high quality websites with the functionality most nonprofits need to succeed such as news posts, event calendars, “about” information pages, forms for collecting information, donation processing and email newsletter.  If you also manage your own hosting environment, which is now easy to do with Cpanel software, you also gain the ability to create and route your own emails, install more web applications, manage your SEO (search engine optimization), host large files and more.

1. Buy a Domain Name (URL)

Buying a domain name is as easy as online shopping. People buy domain names from "registrars" who will sell you yearly access to that domain name for a fee: usually between $10-$12. Pick a .org domain name that is short, easy to remember and hard to misspell. Don't buy a name with dashes in it. Domain names are brands. People can become passionate about them. Don't let that passion get in the way of acting quickly. It's important to get up your own website up ASAP.

2.Get a Hosting Account (Server)

Once you bought your domain name, it's time to buy server space (aka a "hosting account). This basically means renting a computer that will put your website on the internet. Sometimes individuals or organizations already have "hosting accounts" and you can create space on those systems for your website. If you don't have one, you can buy one from NameCheap.com for about $5/month. Get the smallest hosting account. You can always upgrade later.

3. Point your Domain to your Host

You need to associate your domain name (internet address) with your hosting account (home). This requires logging into your "registrar" and pointing the "DNS" to your hosting account's "name server". This might sound intimidating but it's actually really easy. If you're using NameCheap.com as your registrar you can follow the instruction here. If you're using a different registrar, search their knowledge base for "DNS to NameServer" or chat with their support people.

Deploy WordPress

WordPress is the world's most popular open source "content management system" with over 50% of the market. It enables you to build and manage a website without having to write any code, but it's powerful and extendable enough to do most anything you'll want. It's a miraculous system, and you can deploy it from your own hosting account interface in just a few clicks.

There are many easy ways to install WordPress. If you use NameCheap follow these instructions, if not ask your hosting provider what they recommend, or do it manually.

To the right is a list of WordPress plugins we recommend because they are stable, easy to use and add very useful and commonly requested functionality to your website.

Recommended Plugins and Themes


Post to our Support Forum

Get free help by posting your questions to our support forum below. Our community will address them ASAP.

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