In 2015, we launched fundraising websites for 12 countries in seven languages to help Mary’s Meals reach their ambition to feed another 500,000 children in the next three years.
- Digital & Mobile
A simple solution to world hunger
Founded in 2002, Mary’s Meals is a Scottish-based charity which has become a global movement, reaching children in some of the world’s poorest communities.
Their idea is a simple one that works. They provide a meal in a place of learning every school day, to attract children into the classroom, where they receive an education that can, in the future, be their ladder out of poverty.
By 2014, feeding nearly 1,000,000 children every day, Mary’s Meals had seen tremendous growth, and been supported by celebrities and personalities such as Gerard Butler and Martha Payne.
However, their digital presence had not kept pace with this growth, and a very small proportion of donations were made online. We were tasked with developing cost-effective and engaging fundraising websites for 12 countries, in seven languages, to help them meet their target of increasing the number of children benefitting by 50 per cent in the next three years.
Engaging new supporters worldwide
Mary’s Meals is a very efficient charity, ensuring 93% of all funds received go directly towards their charitable activities.
This ethos was core to our proposed digital solution. We recommended the creation of a single, simple design that was flexible enough to retain the same spirit and look and feel in any language, equally effective on mobile or desktop devices, and welcoming to a diverse range of stakeholders.
Straightforward navigation quickly directs users to relevant calls to action, including new functionality enabling them to set up their own fundraising projects to sponsor a school for a whole year.
We really wanted Mary’s Meals positive, uplifting and optimistic approach to come through every page on the site as well as provide evidence that their simple idea works, and works well. The best way to achieve this was to use their brilliant library of photography which tells such a compelling story and requires no translation in different countries.
Putting user experience first
We wanted to create the functionality to support a 50% increase in donations by creating simple user-journeys and by reducing staff time needed for administration.
This was also an opportunity to improve the data that charity staff and volunteers could access to develop new insights on fundraising and inform future eCRM programmes. Having reviewed existing systems on the market, we realised it would be best to build a bespoke fundraising platform.
Everyone on the team has fundraised online at one point or another, and fundraising sites aren’t always the most user-friendly platforms. Building a fundraising system from scratch wasn't just more economical for Mary's Meals in the long run, it also presented the perfect opportunity to really improve the user experience for both fundraisers and donors – and make fundraising online enjoyable again.
Digital Media Producer
It was vital that we built a user-friendly system that staff could use with minimal training to quickly export data, performance reports, and make changes in one place that would automatically update across the sites.
Head of Digital Production
Reducing donation costs
With sites for so many different countries, we spent a lot of time investigating payment providers for receiving donations.
We set up the bespoke fundraising platform so it can be quickly adjusted to work with different payment providers in different countries. Although some providers were primarily set up for payments and subscriptions, we adapted them to receive donations and manage elements such as Gift Aid.
This approach also removed the need for commission payments to any online giving organisation, so we maximised the percentage of online donations that can directly reach the children.
UK site first quarter results
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