Creating a shared messaging platform for a consortium of twelve individual United Way chapters.
Select Cities is a collective of twelve of the most innovative and forward-thinking United Ways from some of the largest U.S. markets including Los Angeles, Boston, the Bay Area, and Phoenix. Select Cities was created out of a need to elevate and modernize the digital and nondigital experience of United Way’s donors and volunteers. For this project, their goal was to understand the member journey and look for opportunities to enhance the member experience, better move members along the volunteer and donation funnel, and to close the service and communication gap between United Way members and their local chapter representatives.
Select Cities had already done a significant amount of research with their audience in order to understand a baseline experience journey. Each market had done varying levels of journey mapping, design thinking, and primary member research and began outlining the needs and wants of their members. Cast & Hue’s first job was to collect all that data, digest it, and then shape it into something that could be understood by all the market’s stakeholders. The outcome was a universal experience map that highlighted the primary overlapping digital and nondigital experiences across all markets.
With a comprehensive experience map in hand we then set a course to identify those moments in the journey where a service-member gap existed.
Our analysis of the experience map led us to uncover several crucial phases of the journey, each needing to be addressed and optimized. Though the most pressing concern for United Way was their onboarding phase: the process in which new members are introduced into the United Way community.
Through our research, we understood that there was no standardized process to onboard new members when they donated, volunteered, or attended an in-person event for the first time. This meant that these new contacts were left to their own to understand how to; further their relationships with United Way, explore and find United Way offerings that would be interesting to them, and learn about United Way’s mission and vision. We also knew from interviews and design thinking sessions that members wanted to feel like they were part of a larger community and a have a sense of personal connection with their United Way chapter. Not only did United Way need to deliver on specific information important to their members, but they also needed to satisfy the emotional needs of those new to United Way.
Together with United Way stakeholders, we invited existing donors and volunteers to a design thinking session to ideate on solutions for a “Welcome” phase, touchpoints that would welcome new members, introduce United Way’s mission, connect with them on a personal level, and suggest programs based on members’ personal interest.
Cast & Hue designed and prototyped Welcome Email Series to meet the onboarding needs of United Way’s community. This three-part email series would be sent out to new members when they’ve provided United Way with an email address. The first email would welcome the new member, introduce them to their local United Way representative, and share with them United Way’s mission. The email also prepared members for a second email that would arrive within a couple of days that would ask them to take a short quiz in order to understand what sorts of programs a member would be interested in. The last and final email would send program, event, and activity suggestions based on the member’s quiz results.
Our team took these sketches home and designed various email designs meant to resonate with the different United Way audiences. We used behavioral economics principles to help members along the email journey and nudge them toward more engagement with United Way.
The final designs were tested with various donors and volunteers and began being implemented in 2016.