Student and faculty volunteers at The Art Institute of California-Los Angeles in Santa Monica have joined 31 other Art Institutes throughout North America for National Web Raising day on Saturday, May 13th.

For many small nonprofit organizations, having a Web site is not just a perk but a necessary tool to provide services, resources, and information to the communities they serve, an Art Institute spokesman notes. Web site design does not come cheaply, and while most organizations have sites, the sites are often basic, the spokesman says.

The Art Institutes are dedicating their fifth annual National Web Raising day to helping nonprofit groups boost the impact, appearance, and effectiveness of the groups’ Web sites.

National Web Raising days have been dedicated in the past to arts groups, environmental groups, social service programs, and educational institutions.

“With more than half the population in North America using the Internet, there is an expectation of how a Web site should look and function, regardless of whether the site is for a Fortune 500 company or a local food bank,” said Laura Soloff, president of The Art Institute of California-Los Angeles.

Interactive media design students and faculty work for months with a charity organization to learn as much as possible about what the charity does and what it wants its Web site to accomplish.

Students in Claire Kwon’s Interface Design class designed and built a new Web site for The Amanda Foundation, an animal rescue and adoption organization.

The foundation’s current site was replaced with a more dynamic site that promotes services and displays pets currently available for adoption.

Adam Duro, a student, designed the interface selected by the foundation and assisted in migrating the site to a new hosting service that supports the advanced features.

Casey Remy, another student, designed and built the application that will assist foundation volunteers in the frequent updates necessary for the Web pages of adoptable dogs and cats.

“The Web site design donated by the very talented students of The Art Institute of California-Los Angeles was a godsend to our charity,” said The Amanda Foundation president Teri Austen. “We know this generous gift of the Web site will mean a big leap forward in helping us with our mission.”

The Amanda Foundation’s Web site is www.amandafoun