It's difficult to simplify a process.
It takes time, effort, and many iterations before you're able to boil something down into what really matters. Think about Amazon. They've been testing how to make it easier and easier for you to buy products online: Amazon Prime, Dash buttons, recurring purchases, and even one-click purchasing. It's so easy to buy something on Amazon.
Other businesses can take advantage of this concept of "making it easy." I'll share an example of how one non-profit is making it easy for their audience online, and how you can apply some of these principals to your business.
Who's Doing it Right: The St. Baldrick's Foundation
The St. Baldrick's Foundation is a volunteer and donor powered charity dedicated to raising money for lifesaving childhood cancer research and funds more in childhood cancer grants than any organization except for the U.S. government.
Since the Foundation's first grants as an independent charity in 2005, St. Baldrick's has funded more than $234 million to support the most brilliant childhood cancer research experts in the world.
- St. Baldrick's Website
The name "St. Baldrick's" is a combination of the words "bald" and "St. Patrick's," since the first event was held in 2000 on March 17, which is St. Patrick's Day. For over 18 years St. Baldrick's has been able to refine and expand on the ways they support their mission- you can learn more about their history.
Now, I'll admit, I have a vested interest in this non-profit. I shaved my head in support of the cause (you can see my before and after photos at the end of the post). Because I'm also a volunteer "shavee," I have an inside look into all the wonderful content efforts St. Baldrick's has in place. I don't have a connection to anyone who works there, but I admire what they are doing with their website, content, and digital marketing efforts (not to mention the cause).
What They Do Well (Basically Everything)
- They put their audience on center stage
- They have a strategy for each social channel
- They tell inspiring, emotional, and educational stories
- They clearly explain their "why" and what impact you have by being involved
- They have a website that is fast and user-friendly
But, in addition to all this, I believe the biggest factor to their success is that they make it easy to do what you need to do - as a donor and as a volunteer.
Top 5 Ways St. Baldrick's Makes It Easy
1. Make it easy to get started.
Half of the battle is to getting people to take the first step. And once they decide that's what they want to do, you better hope it's easy! First impressions are everything, and nothing deters a user more than being frustrated with their first experience.
St. Baldrick's does an amazing job of getting volunteers and donors to what they need quickly. When you land on the home page, if you are a new volunteer and want to "Get Involved" by shaving your head, you'll go to this page where you see exactly what you need to do to get started (they even mention how easy the other steps are!)
2. Make it easy to fundraise.
If your organization is asking it's audience to complete a task, giving direct guidance and support is necessary.
With St. Baldrick's once you're signed up as a shavee you get access to a resource lounge with tons of helpful information about fundraising tips including sample emails, sample donation request letters, facts to share about the organization, and more. It's easy to know what to do to start raising money. They even outline exactly how you can get to $500 and what that impact would be for the kids fighting cancer.
3. Make it easy to donate.
Going back to the basics is something I'd recommend every business do with their online efforts. What do you want your users to do on your website? Now the big part, is it easy for them to do that?
With St. Baldrick's they want to raise money for childhood cancer research. So it needs to be easy to donate. If you go to their website (on your phone of course), here's what you see:
You can donate in the top right, you can enter the amount you want in the box to donate once or make it recurring, or you can find the individual, team, or event you want to support all within your first view. Then when you go to complete the transaction it's a simple 3-step process that's easy to complete.
If you pause while going through this 3-step process, they've even listed helpful content below that talks about why it's important to fund childhood cancer research and reasons why you should support their organization. Perfect content placement. And so easy to complete this task.
4. Make it easy to track your progress.
If you have a goal or target and no one knows, it's hard to measure how you're doing. This is true in all aspects of business.
St. Baldrick's sets up each shavee with an individual fundraising page, and you can customize it with your own information. They make it easy to see your fundraising goal, how far you have to go, and who's contributed.
5. Make it easy to say thank you.
When your users or supporters do something great for you it's important to acknowledge them. This helps build your community and engagement with your audience. And it's nice.
St. Baldrick's has an excellent system that tracks donations and allows you to send thank you notes out from an online dashboard (and they have thank you templates ready to go in the resource center!) - you can send a note via Twitter, Facebook, or email. Or you can print out ready-made thank you cards to send the old fashioned way. They make you look good (thank you!).
Bonus: Make it fun.
By grouping the events into teams and keeping track of individual donations and team donations, St. Baldrick's puts the "fun" in fundraising by turning it into a challenge. The excitement and dedication to the event from the team leaders and attendees is contagious, which is why there are so many return volunteers. They even give out awards for shavees who've donated over a certain number of times. And of course, everyone's favorites: the BEFORE and AFTER photos!
How Does this Apply To My Business?
It's clear that St. Baldrick's has walked through each step of the user journey for each of their different audience segments, and they understand what's needed to help make each part of the process easy. Similar to Amazon, they've probably tested, updated and tested again for each part of this process. This takes time, but there are some questions that can get you started:
- What are the most important tasks for your users to complete?
- Is it easy for users to complete these tasks? How do you know? (try it yourself!)
- Do your users need additional support or information at any point along their journey?
Make adjustments that you believe will help your users complete their tasks. Test again. Repeat.