Keeping the Faith
To clean it all up, Grizzard and URM took a step-by-step approach, building out the aspects from the top down as opposed to the bottom-up approach URM took with its website originally. It began by driving all of URM’s online channels — website, blog, social media (CEO Andy Bales, the 2011 FundRaising Success Fundraiser of the Year, has a huge social-media following) — toward the best search engine optimization. So Grizzard took best practices and molded them to URM’s mission.
For starters, it moved URM’s blog from a different site to host it on its own website. Then in the marquee space of the homepage, it transitioned from a current cause program to focus on its mission in an impactful way. So now, instead of highlighting a different message depending on the time of the year, the first image that appears is always the same slide of a homeless person and the message: “Tonight there will be 57,000 people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles. There is a Solution.”
“We redesigned it to make sure it was an introduction and not assumptive that everybody who’s coming to the site knows as much about URM as their agency or as their staffers and team,” McKinney says. “We started with a more introductory statement and call to action — if you click it brings you to a compelling infographic and more imagery.”
Grizzard also added more compelling videos; made URM’s mission statement prevalent; and organized the website to make it more user-friendly by incorporating social sharing, a feed of Bales’ tweets and calls to action everywhere. The design was also tweaked to have a more gritty feel, and that new look was added across all online and offline channels.
URM also streamlined its e-mail communications. Each week, it sends an e-mail message to its constituents. Bales shares an end-of-month update. There’s a video that highlights a changed life. There’s the e-newsletter. And there’s an appeal. So Grizzard made sure those messages reflected the website redesign to make sure the creative was coming from the same source with a unified message.