Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation embraces digital future with major website revamp

des-tutu-foundationPowerful, simple content management gives Foundation control over funding destiny

Realmdigital, the leading Cape-based Web and mobile developer, has rebuilt the partner website of the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, giving it a strong visual appeal and handing the Foundation the means to take control over its own content.

The need

Lavinia Crawford-Browne – long-time PA to the Archbishop Desmond Tutu and marketing-liaison officer for the Foundation – says its previous website (donated) was unsupported and difficult to use, giving the Foundation an unwelcoming, out-of-date public façade.

“We had to have a new site. I came upon Realmdigital, who offered a highly compelling package that could help showcase the Foundation’s contribution to HIV research and community work, and the value of partnering with us.”

She says a visual element was important. “We commissioned a video to feature on the site, which might seem extravagant for a non-profit, but given modern information consumption trends, it was worth it.”

The outcome

Crawford-Browne sums up the extraordinary value of the Realmdigital package.

“At a very good price, Realmdigital has given us a great-looking site that is easy to navigate and meets the information requirements of those interested in HIV and TB as well as potential donor partners.

“It is backed by a powerful, yet easy to use content management system [CMS] that has been very empowering for us in its simplicity and the immediate control it gives us over managing our content.”

Simon Bestbier, account director at Realmdigital, says the site is based on Platform, Realmdigital’s CMS. “Search engine optimisation is part of the offering, because it can be managed within Platform.”

Crawford-Browne says after all is said and done, what impressed the Foundation most is Realmdigital’s on-going support. “They stood by us from the start, to ramp up our knowledge of the CMS, and covering technical issues as well as instances where we want extra functionality or simply needed guidance.”


“I am confident of their continued support.   In fact, the amount of face time we’ve had with them has been exceptional when you consider the propensity of many service providers for withdrawing active support once they’ve made the sale.”

After an initial hurdle (which she attributes to a lack of computer knowledge), she finds the site easy to use.

“It received a glowing endorsement from the technology department at the Graduate School of Business, so we know our instincts were right,” she says.

The future

“We are well aware that there are many more bells and whistles that Realmdigital is just dying to show us in Platform, and there is real enthusiasm here to prioritise the site. I have a list of ideas for future functionality, and for someone who started off asking a lot of stupid questions, I now have  confidence that I might be able to handle some of it myself!”

Bestbier says Platform will scale to load well under any volume of visitors on a site of this nature. As regards future functionality, he says additional modules in Platform can be made available to the Foundation as needed.

“We are looking at tighter integration with donation systems as well as e-marketing options including newsletters. We think website analytics could identify additional necessary design or functional adaptations going forward.”

Crawford-Browne describes the website as an ongoing work in progress. “Things change, so it can never be complete. But for the foreseeable future, Realmdigital is our preferred partner in taking this major marketing tool forward.”

About Realmdigital

Realmdigital is a top South African e-business strategy and technology partner, specialising in Internet and mobile platforms. The company has proven local and international success in building leading online businesses including Avusa (incorporating Exclusive Books), Naspers, Die Burger, Media 24, Ford and Mix Telematics (Matrix Vehicle Tracking). Founded in 1999 by CEO Wesley Lynch, the company lists industry-leading clients across all industries, with a strong install base in retail and travel. Realmdigital’s e-business engagements are grounded in a strong solution portfolio that integrates with best-in-class technologies, including payment and booking/reservation engines, SEO techniques, CMS, CRM and Intranet platforms. In addition we offer an established lead development capability and an advanced partner management and project methodology. Together, these elements make up a comprehensive e-business enablement portfolio comprising a full spectrum of work streams – digital strategy, creative and technological.
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