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Case Study: New Website for Nonprofit

Updated: Jan 3


Service Dogs, Inc. is a Texas-based nonprofit with two important goals: rescuing dogs from shelters and training them to change people's lives as service dogs. To carry out its mission, SDI has cultivated relationships with a network of donors through phone solicitation and email fundraising. SDI's website serves as its primary platform for sharing information with its donors, beneficiaries, and volunteers.


Build a brand new website to better communicate SDI's mission, improve donor engagement, and showcase their impact through storytelling.

What We Did

After conducting a thorough competitive analysis and evaluating the user experience for each of SDI's key stakeholders, including prospective beneficiaries, donors, volunteers, and staff, we made recommendations and began executing across in three distinct areas:

1. Design

Brand Style Guide:

Initially, SDI's website lacked a unified brand aesthetic that resonated with their identity in other domains. To address this, we collaborated closely with the client to forge a new brand style guide. This guide was shaped by insights gathered from detailed brand interviews and comprehensive industry research. With this renewed brand vision in hand, we meticulously developed a website that not only mirrored this updated branding but also enriched it with content specifically tailored to these new guidelines.

Site Map and Organization:

Subsequently, we embarked on a strategic reorganization of the website's structure. Our goal was to enhance user intuition and utility. By simplifying the layout and streamlining the content within each page, we aimed to create an experience that was not only more user-friendly but also more reflective of SDI's mission and values. This redesign significantly reduced complexity, making the website more accessible and easier to navigate for all users, whether they were beneficiaries, donors, or volunteers.

2. Functionality

Donor Experience Enhancement:

Upon assessing SDI's existing fundraising platform, Classy, we identified its complexity as a barrier for donors. After thorough research and comparative testing of various platforms, we advocated for a shift to Givebutter, known for its user-friendly interface. Upon client approval, we meticulously managed the transition over three weeks. This process included the careful migration of existing data, as well as comprehensive onboarding and training for SDI staff, ensuring a seamless shift to the new system.

Streamlining Applicant and Volunteer Processes:

SDI's application procedure for prospective beneficiaries was initially a cumbersome, multi-step process involving an online pre-application, a paper form, and a video essay submission. To streamline this experience, we consolidated these stages into a single, efficient Google Forms process. We further enhanced this system by developing custom notification systems and integrating Salesforce, Google Drive, and Gmail. This was achieved through the strategic use of Google API Scripts and Zapier, significantly simplifying the application journey for applicants and the administrative process for staff.

3. Content

New "Meet Our Grads" Section

We created a specialized section on the website to highlight the impactful stories of SDI graduates. Over several months, we conducted multiple video shoots and crafted blogs and videos to narrate their experiences. This approach was designed to deepen emotional engagement with the cause and vividly illustrate the transformative effect of SDI's work.

New "Meet Our Dogs" Section

We designed a section on the website dedicated to showcasing the journey of dogs currently in training at SDI. Each dog has a personalized page featuring regular updates and videos of their progress. This integration was made possible by our comprehensive partnership with SDI, where we not only manage their website but also handle their content across social media, email, and websites. Leveraging this multidisciplinary partnership, we created a cohesive system where regular video updates for social media are also mirrored on the website. This strategic approach transformed website visitors into active participants in the dogs' training journeys, fostering a deeper connection and engagement with SDI's mission.

Results and Impact

Website Traffic and Engagement: (See screenshots below)

Donations: 7% increase in average online donation amount

Email Subscribers: 55% increase in average number of new email subscribers per month, year-over-year

Operational Efficiency: Over 2x faster application processes for clients and volunteers, and 40% reduction in staff labor hours required to manage application process

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