The Richmond Forum

Creating a Tool Designed to Help a Nonprofit Expand Its Reach

Visit The Richmond Forum 
The Richmond Forum case study


COLAB has a long history of working with the Richmond Forum, supporting the development of features and making minor improvements to the site. This included creating the Richmond Speech and Debate site, an initiative to promote speaking leadership in regional middle and high schools.


Like many other event-driven businesses during the coronavirus, the Richmond Forum realized that it needed to pivot from the in-person event model they had used for 38 years to something different. Opening the proverbial doors to online subscriptions and virtual attendance expanded the organization’s ability to spread its message to a large audience.

In addition, during that period the organization also changed leadership, established an internal marketing team, and worked through a refresh of their visual brand. With so much change sweeping through the organization, The Richmond Forum needed much more than the essential maintenance we were already providing.


We redesigned the website to be more intuitive for site visitors, from the navigation to the front-end design. On the back-end, we integrated a new administrative experience for content editors that leveraged WordPress’ block editor and upgraded the site infrastructure for a faster content management experience. Whenever possible, we leveraged existing brand assets, enabling a more cohesive user experience, aligned with other print and digital event materials.

Richmond Forum on desktop and mobile

Every page benefited from the newly implemented design system. Using new block patterns, the communications team can create compelling content and better-utilize their incredible event photography.

The experience was improved for desktop, however the mobile experience – prioritized for “at event” usage – was greatly improved. We upgraded the speaker archive to be easier for visitors to use and much easier for administrators to maintain. We love attending their events and sponsored this functionality through an in-kind donation. 

Richmond Forum desktop
Richmond Forum mobile experience

The site launched before The Richmond Forum’s newest season, enabling a clean dataset for future comparison. We’ll examine this more closely when the season is over. 

In the meantime, here’s what our client had to say:

We will continue to sing the praises of [the team] who went so far above and beyond to get us launched on schedule!

Maggie McVicar
Director of Communications