Project Details

  • Simon Says Give (SSG)
  • Timeline: August 7, 2017 - August 11, 2017
  • Team members: Cody Gallup, Josh Kaeding, Patrick Craigie

Tidbit Overview

  • We worked with our client to redesign their existing website, devise a social media strategy, and create a mobile application to increase donations. 


  • Survey
  • Interview
  • Usability Test
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Secondary Research
  • Personas 
  • Journey Mapping 
  • Site Mapping


About Infographic_Official Arrow.png

The Problem

Simon Says Give is missing out on potential participants and donors because the existing site is overly complex and difficult to navigate. This is due to the excessive number of pathways and steps required for visitors to either create or donate to a crowdfunding page. In addition, unclear verbiage and inconsistent use of various external web/social media platforms cause confusion for the user.

The Solution

The short-term solution is to streamline the existing site and minimize the number of steps required for users to reach the external crowdfunding platform. The long-term solution is to allow crowdfunding to happen within the organization’s website. Our group also proposed a mobile app design that would increase Simon Says Give’s web presence and enable a more straightforward integration with social media platforms.


The Process



  • Overall, create a design strategy to help the client reach their short term and long term goals:
    • Short term goal: help at least 300 children in 2017 by boosting awareness of the birthday "pledging" campaign.  
    • Long term goal: impact 2 million kids by 2022 through all of Simon Says Give programming.
  • Present strategy and design concepts to the client. 

Understanding The Client


Simon Says Give was started by a seven year old girl named Mandi in 2012. With her mother's and many other people's help, they grew the organization into what it is today. This nonprofit now puts on a variety of charity drives, but their core commitment is to provide birthday parties for children in need. 




We surveyed our network on general thoughts and opinions on nonprofits, motivations to donate, and the concept of "pledging" one's birthday. We devised a survey and received 95 responses. After compiling the results. It was clear that we had inadvertently targeted the 20-30 age range. However, we did gather some valuable information:

1.  70 out of 95 people had never heard of "pledging" their birthday. 

2. The number one thing that deters people from donating is not knowing if the money is going to the correct place. 

3. People are not motivated to donate  by the prospect of receiving a physical item as a "thank you." They would rather receive nothing or have an opportunity to connect with the people they helped. 



Our team member, Josh,  attended Simon Says Give's events at the Mall of America. He interviewed eight teenager participants and got their answers on the survey questions. The main takeaways were the following: 

1. Teenagers appear to be more interested in receiving a personal connection as a "thank you" compared to adults.

2. Social media is an incredibly useful tool for increasing awareness of any organization. 


Usability Tests

Each team member conducted one usability test. Each participant was asked to "pledge" their birthday through Simon Says Give's site by creating their own CrowdRise fundraiser page. The results confirmed our assumption; navigating this site was difficult. The following were our findings:

1.  No participants distinguished the difference between creating their own campaign by "pledging" their birthday versus directly donating. 

2. Every participant's attention was drawn to the round green button on the home page. 

3. Participants were frustrated and confused by the multiple pathways that lead to different CrowdRise pages. 

Site Mapping

We created a site map of the current site (shown to the right). The findings confirmed our assumptions about the existing state of the site, and also supports our usability test findings; the multiple and redundant pathways to various external secondary domains (CrowdRise), and the vague differentiation between "pledging" your birthday, and directly donating to the birthday fund were the major pain points. 


Competitive Analysis

To get an idea about what similar nonprofits were doing to streamline their donation process, we looked at The Birthday Party Project's site to get some ideas. The main finding was that they did not use an external fundraising domain (e.g. CrowdRise) which allowed  them to keep their user on their own page at all times. In addition, their site map is much simpler with a lot less separate screens (shown below). 


Personas and Journey Maps (Prepared by Josh Kaeding) 

After collecting and organizing the presceding information, we finally felt like we had built a foundation for our research. With the data we had collected, we came up with four personas, and focused on two of them. Of note, these persona boards and journey maps were created by our team member, Josh.  

The first persona is seen below -John Doughner. Per our survey results, many users would fall under this persona. They are financially well off, want to help out, but have limited time. They want to make a quick donation and be done. We created a journey map to show their thoughts and emotions throughout the process of making a donation to a pledger.


The second persona we focused on is seen below - Celes Johnson. Per the interviews Josh conducted, teenagers are also an important user group. Celes would actually want to pledge her birthday, rally her friends, and prefer having a personalized pledge fund. We created a journey map to show her thoughts and emotions throughout the process of creating her pledge campaign. 




After compiling and analyzing the data from above, our team came up with a three pronged strategy to tackle this project. 


#1 | Simplify the Existing SSG website


There are two parts to this strategy. The first is to streamline the existing SSG website so the user can easily access CrowdRise and create their pledge page. A screen flow of what this could look like is presented in the image to the right. A interactive prototype was also created for the client. The design of this screen flow and prototype is  based on the findings from the usability tests. [1] 


#2 | Leverage Existing SSG Programming and Social Media (Prepared by Patrick Craigie

The second strategy is largely based on the data we gathered from the survey and interviews. The panel to the right explains how incorporating information about the birthday celebration initiative and "pledging" campaign into exiting meetings and volunteering events can boost the interest of currently active SSG supporters. The idea is to leverage existing SSG supporters. The panels below visualize how SSG's social media presence could be improved to cater a wider audience. These visuals were created by our team member, Patrick. 


#3 | Create a Fundraising Platform that is Internal (i.e. Remove CrowdRise) and Make It Mobile Responsive (Prepared by Cody Gallup)

Finally, our third strategy is long-term. To truly increase the number of pledgers and donations, we believe it is necessary to eliminate the external platform for fundraising (i.e. eliminate dependence on CrowdRise). This would allow all transactions to occur within SSG's website. This will streamline the process and is modeled after SSG's competitor's site. If this feature is created to be mobile first, it will increase flexibility and the ability to incorporate mobile dominant social media platforms (e.g. Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, etc). The prototype shown below was created by our team member, Cody. 



Through implementing these strategies, the hope is that users like Celes Johnson will be able to seamlessly navigate and become involved with SSG. The image on the right shows what her journey map could look like if the proposed strategies are implemented. 


Next Steps


Per our research, we gathered some additional information that may be worth considering for future growth of SSG. We suggest that collaborating with corporate sponsors, churches, and synagogue communities would be beneficial. Many survey respondents specified that their volunteering opportunities were made available to them through religious affiliations, and SSG already has many corporate affiliates. 




This project was educational in terms of learning how to work with a client face to face, collaborate with a team, and apply a variety of UX methods to meet our own and client's goals. From the data we acquired, we crafted a strategy and carried out our plan by creating a variety of deliverables. Finally, we gave presentation to our client and pitched our ideas. I revised our presentation based some personal takeaways from the feedback we received from the client and the audience. Going forward, we would also like to conduct usability tests on the prototypes we created. [2]


Documentation & deliverables


[1] ^ prototype [open Axure link]

[2] ^ client presentation [open PDF]