A neighborhood non-profit with a need for a modern website that could collect donations and sign up members.
Historic Wooster Square Association (The HWSA)
Art Director, Product Designer, Strategist, Copywriter
3 months

I have had good fortune with many things in my life. But when I had my daughter and realized I would be blessed with a baby who slept, I also realized my type-A personality was not going to allow me to rest while she did. Enter the HWSA.

This group throws a 5,000 person attended event each year for the blooming of the cherry blossoms in New Haven, CT and is tied to several other local projects throughout the year. They serve as a community hub, introducing new neighborhood arrivals to the different ways they can get involved and contribute to the Wooster Square neighborhood and larger city. I live across from one member who pitched me joining on my second day of living here. When I went to their website to join I realized they needed my help.

The Challenge

Rework a sprawling non-profit volunteer-maned website, updating look and feel, and unf*cking their membership and donation user journeys.

The Details

As non-profits are want to do, many designers and helpers have come and gone throughout the years. Their current site was a Wordpress site and the level of complication was beyond the current maintainers. Rather than a site with a homepage that introduced the curious to what the group did and gave a clear path to become a member or donate, the homepage was a blogpost list. Onerous and full of pain-points does not begin to describe the signup process. This website needed a serious overhaul.

I met my neighbor and the organization president for coffee with my zonked out daughter in her stroller, and proposed a pro-bono project of giving them the website they deserved. When they accepted, I got to work in 1-3 hour chunks with my daughter's snoring as background noise.

I am used to working with a copywriter who goes through the written content and makes assessments about what should go where and rewrites when needed. I had none of that help here, and it was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Once I had a content outline and rewritten copy, I wired up the new site and got signoff. Finally, I pitched a move from Wordpress to Squarespace, a much more user-friendly site for future maintenance, and moved their email and hosting to a much easier option as well.

The final piece was making sure the signup and donation user journeys were painless. I went through a lot of different options, finally settling on a form plugin that worked seamlessly with PayPal. Instead of the users having to fill out a pdf form to mail into the association then go to PayPal to pay dues, leaving the association to match dues to member forms, A member fille dout a MUCH simpler form online, and then was redirected to PayPal to finish their payment. Everything lined up digitally and compiled into a google form for the treasurer and membership chair to use without having to manually search for payments and assign them to members.

The Validation

Membership has increased, and so have donations. And so have my efforts: I branded their Cherry Blossom festival in 2023 and consulted for them in 2024. Join us in New Haven each April!

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