My wife and I, feeling so called to action by the need around us and the examples of compassion in our lives, are leaving our lives behind to venture out into the world with the hope of living out our calling to serve with our giftings in a way that will have lasting effects. Our support site, burkeandlizzie.com serves to raise support for our work and the causes close to our hearts while keeping friends and family updated on our life and work abroad.
Chris is a friend and colleague. He is a regular attender at the same church we go to and is in our mid-week community group. During a Sunday evening dinner he tells us about how excited he is about our willingness to leave behind the comforts of our American life and how he wants to help others in places he is not able to go himself. He wants to make a monthly tax deductible donation to support us and would like regular updates on the impact of our work.
Malissa serves in our church and cares deeply about social justice issues relative to women and children. After hearing about our work abroad from others, she is interested in signing up for regular news updates while she considers if she can make a donation. After a few months of reading email updates, she responds to a call to action to support our work in helping women rebuild their lives after a traumatic event. She prefers to make larger one time donations as she sees fit.
Design Goals & Challenges
I believe that what drives people to action with respect to social justice is a mutually shared cause or calling on one’s heart. Practically speaking, donors are much more inclined to give to those they feel close to and have a personal relationship with. Burkeandlizzie.com is inherently personal and would need to have a simple clear message and call to action (CTA), “This is who we are; support us!” CTA buttons would be positioned at each step in the user story to capture a supporter’s desired response. Understandably, not all news could be shared publicly so managing public and private content would need to feel seamless as users would be entering the site via a click-through from our private newsletter.
Outcome & Execution
The design language of the site aimed to communicate a more powerful and meaningful truth; my wife and I aren’t just championing a cause, we are people of action who believe in making a difference. With this in mind, the site and our fundraising efforts were driven by who we are as people and a consistent stream of news and media from our work that reinforced it. When appropriate, a clear and present CTA was used to support the site’s design goals. Easing the path for converting email newsletter signups to paid donors was made possible on the server with some custom endpoints and URI decryption to allow supporters to simply and securely input minimal credentials after clicking through a CTA. After one year abroad we reached 60% of our annual needed budget. A year later donations exceeded our support goal by 150% covering 110% of our annual budget. For perspective, typically people will spend two years (and upwards of 5 years) raising support before actually leaving to serve and volunteer. This effectively allowed us to be 4 times more effective over the same period of time.