The foundation was looking for a stronger online presence to allow autonomous communications, boost donations, and create a more streamlined platform for teachers to request demands. This is because the foundation volunteers are no longer stay-at-home / work-from-home parents and need more structure.
Figma Squarespace Notion
User Research UX Design Visual Design
Professional Project 3 Months 2023
How do we increase ease of communication and online presence for a parent-run foundation with the goal of financially supporting teacher projects throughout the year?
The Fondation de l’école Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (the foundation) is a non-profit organization of parent volunteers whose mission is to raise funds to promote the school’s goals. The foundation raises approximately $40K a year to assist special pedagogical projects, give financial aide to the 10% of students in need (about 80 children), and supplement the school financially. The foundation’s role to public schools in Montréal is essential as « le financement public de [l’]école n’est pas suffisant pour répondre à tous les besoins de nos enfants »
Currently, the foundation solely communicates with parents via social media and using the school’s channels. Pre-Covid this worked well due to the constant stream of information and consistent personnel. Post-Covid communication has proven to be difficult, and these channels aren’t reaching new or incoming students which has limited fundraising capacities.
We began with a stakeholder kick-off meeting with the 10 foundation members where we discussed the mission and goals of the foundation, and they listed their business goals for the website which were:
Other revenue generating possibilities (such as paid-for advertising)
Secret page for teachers to upload financial requests
Explanation of the foundation mission and goals
A Calendar feature for upcoming events
To better understand how other foundation websites functioned and were integrated into the identity of the school, I researched various Quebec-based school foundations for both private and public schools to see what functionality and resources they provided on their websites.
Private schools were able to link their foundation website directly to the main school website. This is not a possibility with the public school system.
Foundation websites for public schools were straight forward and directed users immediately to donations.
Not many public schools had foundation websites – instead people seem to communicate via social media.
We continued by conducting user interviews with parents of children at École NDG and asked the following questions:
How familiar are you with the school’s foundation?
Can you tell me your impressions about the foundation?
Have you ever volunteered with the foundation?
Have you donated money to the foundation in the past? What kept you from doing so?/Why did you donate?
What do you think would be the most successful way for the foundation to communicate with parents?
What type of information do you want to know?
User interviews made it clear that there was a disconnect between the business goals and the user needs.
User Interviews allowed us to get a good understanding of the potential end user and highlighted common characteristics:
Refining the Problem Statement
Now that we’ve discovered user characteristics, competitor functionality and stakeholder goals, I was able to merge my findings to define a stronger goal:
How might we create a simple foundation website that is supplemental to current communications, can easily be maintained and elucidates the positives the foundation provides to the school, personnel, and students?
We knew we had to develop a no-code website that could be handed off entirely to potentially not tech-savvy volunteers which led our research to all-in-one website builders. We explored using wix.com and squarespace.com to create a visually forward, easy to use, structure that would work in both mobile and computer environments.
Ultimately ease of use and cost led us to Squarespace which allows for easy modification, quick troubleshooting, and multiple upgrade options for future iterations.
Defining Structure & Features
develop & organize
Wireframing & Prototyping
The website was launched mid-March 2023 so we haven't had enough time to see how it's working. But using analytics we were able to determine the following:
Expected results: The traffic to the website is driven by social media notifications and school communications
Unexpected results: over 50% of traffic has been generated directly, meaning parents have saved the resource or can easily remember how to access it.
After launch, we had another stakeholder meeting where we discussed features and decided upon a few additions: