The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation simplifies the donor journey

A new digital presence aims to make the path to contribution more straightforward.

Like most charities, Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation has dealt with struggles during the pandemic. So to adapt, it has been working to simplify its message and entice more monthly donors by revamping its web interface and making the “donor flow” more seamless.

According to Alyssa Huggins, VP of brand and integrated marketing for The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, the challenge faced by charities of all stripes is that fewer Canadians are involved in philanthropic giving.

As part of its outreach, she says, it’s important to connect with donors outside of high-profile events like The Ride to Conquer Cancer, its home lottery, or major giving proposals, and to do so via people who’ve been inspired to engage with the Foundation through family and friends.

And that means, strategically, better conveying what it means to be a donor, particularly a monthly donor, which offer consistent income and tends to be a larger donor over time compared to one-off donations, Huggins says.

So, the Foundation is encouraging people to move from one-time to monthly donations as part of its new web interface, which is often the first exposure to the Princess Margaret brand after hearing about it through word-of-mouth.

The Foundation enlisted digital consultancy Apply Digital, which created a modern, digital hub that launched in January, informed by donation data from Environics. It was developed using “personas” to better understand segmentation and what is interesting to donors. Much of the webpage is focused on impact of donations, no matter the size, through the stories of patients and the breadth of work the Foundation does with the funds it raises. It also showcases the different ways donors can get involved, be it through events or the “DIY Challenge,” which asks people to use their creative talents to help raise funds.

Apply Digital’s head of UX, Rabiya Samji, says making the donor flow simple was a key facet of the site redesign, and it was important to add “little triggers” throughout the site for people who perhaps were not sure about what typical giving looked like, to let them know how they could best contribute and the many different forms it can take.

Huggins says it was important to redesign its site as a place where anyone could understand why they are giving and what the impact is, and all the ways they can help, from one-time and monthly donations, to in memory and tribute, to event participation, a will or estate, or invest in research programs.

The new messaging approach also reflects an understanding that the Foundation had to appeal to two slightly different audiences:  those personally affected by cancer, to whom more inspirational image-focused stories would appeal, but also a more general health audience that required a better grasp of how its donation dollars are being spent.

This was difficult to do with an outdated, confusing site that had ballooned in size and complexity, a “Frankenstein” that needed to be rebuilt from the group up, Huggins says. Apply helped take the site, which had a lot of long-form information that was a bit overwhelming, and simplify the journey to be about either donating to Princess Margaret or participating in an event.

The organization, Huggins says, conducted an RFP process for the web refurbishment, completely separate from the AOR RFP it did with Rethink. Historically, a lot of what was done on the web side had been handled internally, without a long term agency partner.

While fewer Canadians may be giving, on the positive side, the pool of funds is actually higher, Huggins explains. She says the Foundation is fortunate to have a diversified portfolio and a generous, loyal base of donors who understand the difficulties of the current pandemic situation, the importance of remaining committed to future physical events that inspire a sense of togetherness and community, and also the importance of funding leading edge health research.