Going Further, Going Bigger, Going Higher, Going Greater
The University of Florida Foundation engages alumni and organizations to advance the university’s mission through charitable donations. The Foundation uses those contributions to fund scholarships for Gators who might otherwise be left out because of college costs, professorships that attract and retain faculty stars, initiatives that empower the university to focus on real societal problems, and innovative research.
Donors were having trouble navigating the 6,000+ funds in the roster, and online engagement was lacking. The UF Foundation came to Parisleaf to reinvigorate their website, encourage online donations, and rethink the user experience behind that process. In addition, UF Advancement’s brand identity needed refinement in order to jell with the many other University websites – and perhaps even set a new standard for how UF websites should look and function.
As with every discovery process, we began with interviews. We talked with Advancement staff, donors, alumni, students, and foundations at other universities. We studied storytelling strategies, donation mechanisms, transaction processes, and measured engagement of the existing UF Advancement site.
We developed personas to help us understand the five types of donors – where they would be coming from, what their goals were, and how they might navigate the website. We then designed the experience around all of those possible journeys.
Early on, we identified causes as effective means of inspiring people to give. By telling clear and compelling stories of how donors’ dollars are put to work, and making it possible to give immediately from any part of the site, we cut through the noise and kept a consistent emphasis on how money can be mission fuel in the right hands.
The site features a unique organizational structure for both the fund directory (Giving Opportunities) and the blog-based story section (Your Impacts). All content types are organized by six major themes, allowing for easy searching and presentation of stories based on a donor’s particular interests.
The donation process was a huge pain point in the previous design, and many transactions were reportedly abandoned halfway through. We designed a fluid donation process, promoting clarity and focus through well-labeled steps which are broken up into small chunks.
Within two weeks of launch, site traffic was up significantly. The Advancement website’s strongest two weeks are typically December 18 through December 31. In December 18–31, 2016, the old site saw 23,577 page views and 17,804 unique page views. In just the first two weeks after the new website launched, there were 33,792 page views and 26,369 unique page views. We’re on track to have over 400,000 total page views in the first year.
“I have truly enjoyed working with the Parisleaf team. We were looking for a creative partner who could take our comprehensive campaign style, make it approachable, and revolutionize our website. Parisleaf certainly delivered – in droves. What we now have is something truly unique in the world of higher education advancement websites, and it has received high praise.”