United Way - Action Day Registration

Get People to Sign-Up and Volunteer

This project had just one simple task. Get working professionals in Minneapolis and Saint Paul to donate time on a specific day. Get them to register. And then hopefully show up.

What is the goal?

I worked with United Way TC on this project for 3 years. Volunteers are needed to help in a variety ways to create care packages for those in need as well as volunteer time with kids. This event is just one day. The goal is to get as many hours of volunteer time donated that day as possible.

The premise 'Speed Volunteering' was created. Volunteers could give as little as 15 minutes over their lunch break.

  • Target working professionals downtown in both Minneapolis and Saint Paul.
  • Volunteering takes place during the work day.
  • Website and Kiosks would be used as well as contacting existing UW donors via email messaging.
  • Speed Volunteering: 15 minutes - 1 hour

The Planning

What's our message on the site? How can we get 20-35 year old working professionals to sign up as a volunteer for the big day? One thing we knew is that most users would not be 'looking' for our site. It would be referred to them via ads, colleagues, friends or family.

We thought we had a nice concept. A simple visual showing people, plus small amounts of time, combined together to equal real, actual things that help.

The initial campaign was centered on a 'Find Your Way' slogan that would be featured throughout both cities using chalk graffiti to tag areas and guide volunteers. Registration kiosks were planned along with a registration website.

I created a user-flow for the kiosks that would be in specific locations for a few weeks before the event to register volunteers.

Although the kiosks were omitted, the planning and thinking from this flow chart carried forward into the website development.

I then built a prototype to share with steak holders to show a possible version of how the kiosk-app could work. This idea was well received but ultimately the kiosks were not implemented due to budget and time.

The website

Once we had our direction. It was time to work out the website design. I was lucky enough to do the UI/visual design as well as code the theme up for WordPress. This was a custom WordPress site with custom plug-ins to handle the registration and the functionality involved with the automatic Twitter posts. Each version had multiple iterations and was tested at UW member meetings as well as placed on iPads for our own "on the street" user testing.

The sign up form was simple and clean. It kept hidden fields that were optional unless invoked by the user. The form had to feel as simple and small as possible to get volunteers to go through with filling it out.

The first 2 years the site kept with the same basic message. The second year we were free from an agency generated brand of "Find Your Way" and updated it with a cleaner design. The last year we simplified the design even more and also went away from our previous [People + Time] visual. We had feedback that although the treatment was working nicely, some comments had accumulated that they were too abstract, and did not connect with the actual events.

We thought users might be able to envision themselves better if we showed real, actual volunteers at actual events. And of course we were trying to double the online registrations again. But before we changed direction we tested both versions to see if moving away from the [You + Time = Help] design would be detrimental to the registration numbers. We ran them A/B for the first week. And what we found was that people reacted more to the version with photos of volunteers in action. This was possibly due to seeing themselves in those places and having more context of what was involved at a glance. Registrations were up 40% on the new design.

Registration Flow
1st Year Design
2nd Year Design
3rd Year Design

Was registration a success?

This was a totally new volunteer stream using an online sign-up system.

  • In the 2nd year the site engaged with over 1,200 volunteers that helped create nearly 25,000 kits for those in need.
  • The 3rd year that rose to around 2000.
  • It created more 'buzz around town' by igniting company rivalries.
  • Friendly reminders before and during the day helped boost attendance.
  • Past volunteers returned at high rates. Re-attendance was easier due to having past year information.
  • Sending requests to managers on behalf of volunteers was a helpful tool in attaining corporate buy-in and getting volunteers out of work for an hour.

Have a question or want to get in touch?





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