Spark of Hope Foundation
Spark of Hope Foundation has been empowering the people of Baja California for nearly 20 years. Together we developed a fresh website to usher in a new era of service.
ux design
web development
The Opportunity
Spark of Hope Foundation is a non-profit that serves the people of Baja California by organizing service trips in which volunteers build homes for deserving families.

After nearly 20 years of service, the foundation is expanding its service and needs a new website to support the growth. The foundation now provides funding and helping hands to numerous orphanages throughout Mexico and are establishing a refuge for abandoned women as well.

The foundation needed a new website that would not only support future expansion, but enable it.
Our goals
I worked closely with the foundation's co-founder in creating a site that would take their group into the future with two main improvements:
Improved UX
Increase the ease with which patrons can learn about the foundation and sign up for service trips.
Increase donations
Develop brand identity, copy, and functionality that will boost donation quantity and value.
Understanding the patron's experience
I worked with the management team to understand how I could help volunteers meet their goals. Three common sentiments arose from my research:
"I want to be able to sign up and pay for a trip all at once."
"Before I take my family on a service trip, I need to know that we will be safe, and that I can trust our guides."
"I want to know that my donation is making a difference."
I decided that if the new site was going to meet the SoH team's goals, I was going to have to design for two types of users - a donor, and a volunteer. I created personas for each to encapsulate the stories, demographics, and user data that the SoH team had provided.
Saving the foundation time and resources
If Spark of Hope was going to reach its growth potential, the website had to not only improve the patron's experience but streamline the management team's workflow. Together, we identified the following bottlenecks that, if removed, would unlock valuable hours and dollars.
Manual payments
The management team processed payments for service trips and donations manually by check or Venmo, wasting time and losing potential donations.
Too many support calls
The team would often receive support calls from patrons who didn't know where to find information on the site, answering the same questions day after day.
Tricky Wordpress updates
The original site was built on an old Wordpress template that was visually and technically outdated. When the management team updated the site, it was messy and difficult.
Didn't bring in donations
All of the foundation's donors were friends that had been pitched by the management team. The website didn't contribute to the gathering or processing of donations.
Business meets pleasure
This multidimensional research kept me oriented on both user goals and business goals. Consequently, the new site would be informative, easy to use, and easy to maintain, all while boosting donor revenue and customer satisfaction.
The patron's journey
To make sure that both the volunteer's and the donor's goals were met in the new site, I made a simple user journey map segmenting the user goals by path.
Matching patron goals with foundation priorities
I then combined user goals with the foundation's goals to create a user story map that tied in user goals with business needs.
Opening a new revenue stream
In my research I learned that for most non-profits, the overwhelming majority of donation revenue comes from a monthly donor base. We decided to make a "monthly donors club" that would be highlighted throughout the site, and incentivize patrons to join. If we could communicate the value and make donating monthly easy and enjoyable, we could unlock a significant revenue stream for Spark of Hope Foundation.

Once we had nailed down a feature set, I organized a sitemap and designed wireframes to communicate the final layout. After some simple testing to evaluate the information architecture, we were good to move forward in building the site.
Visual Design
At the heart of Spark of Hope Foundation is the relationships developed between patrons, Spark of Hope staff, and the people of Baja California. Likewise, this had to be at the heart of the website. The new brand identity design captures the experience that patrons have as they get involved. It's intended to feel handmade, rugged and personal, much like the homes that volunteers build, while still feeling trustworthy and solid, with a sense of legacy.
A delightful patron experience
Spark of Hope Foundation's new site is intended to inform patron's about the foundation's history, causes, and inter workings, while incentivizing them to get involved by signing up for a service trip or becoming a monthly donor.
CTA's that work
The nav bar includes "Service Trips" and "Donate" call to action buttons that ensure patrons can get involved at all times. It's a simple but significant change.
Telling the Spark of Hope story
The updated sign up process is intuitive and natural. Volunteers can scan through available trips, identify which best fits their needs, sign up, and pay for the trip, all in one simple process.
A streamlined trip registration process
The updated sign up process is intuitive and natural. Volunteers can scan through available trips, identify which best fits their needs, sign up, and pay for the trip, all in one simple process.
I integrated the sign up process with Spark of Hope’s existing spreadsheets and Paypal account so the process is automated for all sign ups, saving countless hours.
Creating a community of monthly donors
On the old site, donors had a hard time donating, and their options were limited. The new donation flow is easy and customizable for each donor. They can choose who they donate to, and how often.
For Spark of Hope to successfully expand its service, this pool of regular donors needs to grow considerably. Throughout the site, patrons are encouraged to help out by joining the monthly donors club.
Using an e-commerce platform called Foxycart, the site will automatically create a monthly subscription and send payments directly to the Spark of Hope PayPal account. This automated process makes it really easy for donors to donate, and requires no involvement from the management team.
As flexible as it is powerful
I built the site with a content management system integrated, making it easy for the management team to add new service trips, update media, add FAQ's, and even create new pages. This way the team can spend less time managing the site and more time growing the foundation.
Ushering in a new era of service
The Spark of Hope team announced the rollout of the new website to past patrons as a signal of Spark of Hope's new era of expanded service. Since it's launch, the new site has enabled the team to focus on growing it's new initiatives in the new year.
Estimated weekly hours saved
It's estimated that the new site saves the management team up to six hours a week now that they no longer have to process payments, organize sign up forms, answer support calls, and update their broken website.
Increased monthly donors
The emphasis on donating monthly, coupled with the redesigned donation flow, led to a significant increase in monthly donor revenue.