BCRF: advancing the world’s most promising research to prevent and cure breast cancer

An Engagement Case Study: Other Ways to Give to BCRF

A recent mini project we completed for our longtime client, BCRF, makes a good engagement case study for how we help them use their content management system to elaborate their site content and keep their audience on site longer.

Working with a great design set from our longtime collaborator on the BCRF project, HDMade, we were able to respond quickly to BCRF’s request for an estimate. We asked questions to dial in the work involved and time to delivery. Within about 3 weeks, we were able to build, theme, QA, and deploy an entirely new Ways to Give section on their site. This included two parent landing pages, many child pages, and a companion web form to close the loop.

All easy stuff in Drupal and some light theming for us. But to the end user, they now have an easy to navigate, fully explained experience to help them make decisions about legacy giving, workplace giving, corporate matching, and more.

How Activated Studio has Helped BCRF Since 2013

The Breast Cancer Research Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to achieving prevention and a cure for breast cancer. They provide critical funding for cancer research, fueling advances in tumor biology, genetics, prevention, treatment, metastasis and survivorship.

  • BCRF is the highest rated breast cancer organization in the U.S. with an A rating from Charity Watch.
  • Since its founding, BCRF has raised more than half a billion dollars for lifesaving research.
  • In 2019-2020, BCRF will award $66 million in annual grants to nearly 275 scientists from top universities and medical institutions around the globe.

Activated Studio began working with BCRF in 2013 to build a new and improved bcrf.org in Drupal, integrated with third party fundraising tools. We’ve supported BCRF ever since, adding more features and optimizing for conversion rate and increased engagement.

Special features of the site include:

Marketing campaigns pointing to the website—during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, around Mother’s Day, on Giving Tuesday, etc—bring in important donor dollars throughout the year. We help the client prepare for and operate these campaigns each year.

Prior State of Other Ways to Give: Good Traffic, Little Chance to Convert

A sizable portion of BCRF’s annual fundraising comes in from online donations, enabled by our integration with Classy fundraising platform on their site.

However, BCRF’s ‘other ways to give’ perhaps weren’t getting enough emphasis on the site. For example, not only can site users set up a recurring, honorary, or memorial donation, they can also donate by mail, or start their own fundraiser. Furthermore, BCRF helps donors give through avenues like legacy giving, workplace giving, donating Delta miles, etc.

But how would the audience ever know it, when the details were effectively buried deep inside one boring page?

For a long time, this important information lived in a lonely silo, on a utilitarian FAQ-style page.

Before: BCRF's previous ways to give page was pretty bland.

If users found their way to this page from the main navigation, they had to click to open each heading in order to see any content. This layout didn’t lend itself to using imagery or any creative presentation.

Analytics on the site gave BCRF site owners a good indication that people were indeed finding their way to this page, with a big spike coming around October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Analytics also showed that bounce rate was high, and engagement was low.

The old FAQ style page was not very interesting visually. Worse, it required the user to open each header to view the information. Certainly there would be no point building a marketing campaign centered around this discouraging user experience. But BCRF needed to increase awareness about its planned giving options, especially as charitable dollars get harder to come by in the wake of the Covid-19 recession.

Content Strategy, Design, and Development

Although an FAQ style page works well enough for FAQs, but this content clearly deserved better. BCRF needed content strategy, a design pass, and some light development work to do justice to the user’s demonstrated intent to engage more about planned giving, etc.

BCRF worked with HDMade to develop a model for a new section and a new design template. They quickly settled on a solid strategy:

  • redesign a main landing page for the section
  • use well place calls to action directing people to choose their topic of interest
  • give each subtopic its own space with dedicated detail pages
  • rely on a right rail navigation column to keep the user oriented within the subpages, plus breadcrumbs
  • close the loop to thank the user for their generosity, with a form to “let us know your plans”
  • consistently offer multiple ways to get in touch with BCRF for any questions

Soon after, we came in to vet the design files from a development perspective, offer suggestions, and tell them how much work it would be.

We knew that the client hoped to have this ready by the end of June 2020. Their marketing schedule included a campaign to promote more ways to give. Though we had only about 3 weeks to deliver the new section, we applauded the fact that the client and designers worked within the content management framework. For the most part, everything they planned fit seamlessly with existing content types and block entities.

Years of working with BCRF and HDMade had all of us in sync on the goals, tools, and work schedule. We understood the requirements, and we were go to get started.

New Ways to Give Section: A Bigger User Experience for Better Engagement

When you land on the new and improved Ways to Give section, you know you’re in the right place. You’re greeted with a full width hero image and a welcoming intro paragraph.

After: a redesigned landing page helps BCRF increase engagement on other ways to give.

BCRF consistently uses this format on its important section landing pages. All the front end responsive theming integrated seamlessly.

Following this is the “Make a Gift Today” block group. Here, BCRF can make sure that their audience understands the straightforward donation options available through the site 24/7.

We were able to repurpose responsive locked-up call to action elements we had previously built on the site, where an image and supporting text flows down naturally on mobile. That saved our client money and time.

The bottom two CTAs direct the user to Donate by Mail (download the mail-in form) or start their own fundraiser on the Classy subdomain site.

Next comes the “Other Ways to Give” block group, which echoes the proceeding group in functionality. But its modified design style signals the user to see this as something different.

Clear CTAs puts the user in control, signaling user engagement

Here we created CTAs linking to new internal pages:

Benefits of Creating Subtopic Pages: Adding Depth to the Section

Maintaining a new page for each of these discrete topics makes a lot of sense for BCRF, and their audience. It puts the user in control, an excellent engagement tactic. They can find the information they want, and go directly to that page. There, they have space and focus on that one topic.

For instance, on the Corporate Matching page, there’s a widget to look up whether the company you work for will employee donations:

Users can engage with corporate matching lookup tool

They can bookmark that page for later, or share a link to it on social media or to a friend/colleague. Search engines can index that page under its own topic keyword, Corporate Matching, which gives SEO value to its parent page, Ways to Give. This all serves to benefit BCRF’s site authority.

Legacy Giving to BCRF

A special subtopic of “Other Ways to Give” needed extra real estate to fully explain. The Planned Giving’ CTA takes you to an even deeper level of this new section, entitled Legacy Giving to BCRF.

Planned giving landing page with a large hero image

This sub-landing page has its own hero image and persuasive copy. It then reuses the block group style of its parent section, breaking down the topic of legacy giving into its parts:

Let us Know: Closing the Loop on Audience Engagement

The “Let Us Know” webform, which is linked to on every page, serves to close the loop for BCRF’s engagement with their audience.

closing the loop on audience engagement with a webform option

It encourages users to let BCRF know if they have decided on planned giving, so they can join the Legacy Society or Catalyst Circle. For those still on the fence, it previews how BCRF honors their contribution, giving them incentive to move forward and/or ask questions.

Conclusion: BCRF Made Efficient Use of its Existing Drupal CMS Tools

The beauty of this small scope, quick turn project lay in how BCRF utilized the Drupal tools at their disposal to create more awareness with their target audience about these crucial elements of their fundraising operation.

More than just keeping it simple, they did it right. Using existing block templates and content types, with a fresh design skin and scaled up content footprint, they dramatically improved an overlooked section of their website in a small amount of time. Because they had such discipline in building within their CMS framework instead of going in a brand new direction, we were able to easily satisfy their aggressive schedule. We were set up to succeed, and they were happy with the final product.

There’s more to read, react to, explore, find in a search, invitations to collaborate, etc. Most important, their audience understands there are so many other ways to give to a very important cause—achieving prevention and a cure for breast cancer!

“From providing support when needed to project leadership when asked, the Activated Studio team has always come through for us. We’ve been counting on Activated Studio for eight years to maintain several high-traffic websites in a competitive space, and have also engaged them for custom design/development projects. This crew does not disappoint. Not only have they enhanced our users’ frontend experience, improving engagement and search performance, they’ve also simplified and streamlined our backend experience, making all of our jobs easier. And we know Activated Studio has our back and will reply within minutes via slack or email if we need them. Where would we be without them? Don’t want to know.”

John W.

Englewood Health

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