Date

Jun 19, 2024

AAACF Homepage

What is Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation?

Envision worked with the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation to reimagine their website and directly support their brand-building efforts.

As a Community Foundation, Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation (AAACF) serves the community of Washtenaw County, MI. The funds they raise as a 501(c)(3) non-profit are spent on grants and scholarships that lift up families in their region. Since 1963, they have affected meaningful change for people in need by:

  • Establishing more than 600 charitable funds
  • Coordinating the efforts of more than 1,000 volunteers
  • Supporting 1,700 non-profits
  • Distributing more than $90 million dollars as grants and scholarships

Transforming the Web Experience for a Beloved Non-Profit

Identifying the Need

Ann Arbor met with our Digital Innovation & Design team in late 2022 to discuss revamping their website, which Envision has managed since 2017. The driving factor was their need to reach new audiences and increase brand recognition. With these two objectives in mind, we provided a strategic and tactical project scope. Ann Arbor earmarked funding, including an additional allocation for a post-launch project to highlight their grants program.

Our team reviewed Ann Arbor’s brand journey and provided fresh ideas to meet their goals. We wanted to stay true to their robust color palette (green, yellow, orange, pink and brown) while modernizing their look and feel. We also wanted to carry forward their leaf motif, which has a deep history for their organization. We pitched ways to improve the user journey, improve the site conversion rate, and emphasize the values-centric language that matters deeply to the client and its audiences.

Design and Build

Our design and development team collaborated seamlessly to bring innovative designs to life. We added an animated “values” hero banner on the homepage showcasing each values-focused phrase, and quick links to value-focused content. In the management portal, we added additional configuration options, including the ability to overlay or remove a leaf design on specific images with a quick toggle. We strive to make the management portal easy to use for our clients so they're empowered to make changes themselves, if they choose to do so.

The site was built in Envision's preferred Content Management System (CMS), Craft, which is known for being a cut above the alternatives: easy-to-use, secure, flexible, and scalable. As part of our robust internal testing protocols, our ADA compliance experts completed an ADA WCAG 2.1AA review of the site and verified it met compliance requirements.

With all requirements met/exceeded, we received approval to launch. The URL for the site remained the same: https://www.aaacf.org/

Successful Results

According to DiD Project Manager Allison Brewer, "We had an extremely smooth launch that resulted in no downtime for the Ann Arbor website. The client was able to access the website immediately after the launch and start making updates as needed."

Ann Arbor received praise from donors and employees when the site was announced on social media. When asked to comment, AAACF CEO Shannon Polk said, "We have received nothing but positive feedback about our new website. The Envision team was a joy to work with and took our creative ideas to the next level. I really appreciated their frequent communication as we were going through the design and publication process."


Interview w/ Ann Arbor BI & Systems Coordinator, Zachary Smith

Relationship

Why did you partner with Envision on this project?

We're an existing client of Envision's. We used their web services to build our previous site in 2017 and they've helped us manage it since then. We love what they've done for us and we trust them to do good work.

Problem

What drove the need for a new site?

The primary problem that prompted us to make a change in our website design is brand awareness. We have not been as well-known locally as we should be as a community foundation. While an improved website cannot solve this alone, it is one of the first impressions that people will get of us. Our previous site met our original goals, but didn't focus enough on our values and didn't guide our various audiences to the pages that best fit for them.

Solution

What made our solution stand out?

Envision has been a great partner over the years and in the initial conversations about the redesign, both the expertise and the passion for web design from the Envision team was very clear to us. We knew that we could trust them in guiding us to a fresh and streamlined website that could draw in visitors to what we are about and how we can serve them.

Results

How has this project helped since its implementation? Anything else we should know?

We have received nothing but great feedback on the website and could not be happier with it ourselves. We had a lot of requests as we went through the project and they've all been completely fulfilled. We're excited about phase two, which is a re-design of our grant directory. That will boost the visibility of our grant program and will include upload functionality that will save our team countless hours.