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Need: The Special Olympics of Northern California (SONC) needed to streamline their operations, after a 60% staff reduction. Adobe’s SVP of Sales, Matt Thompson, was on their Board of Directors. Matt saw an opportunity in making better use of their website—at the time, hard-coded HTML—and had Adobe Consulting take it on as a pro-bono effort funded by Adobe.

Response: A CMS was a no-brainer, but what else? For the Adobe team I lead a number of discovery, synthesis, and prioritization activities with SONC. Once we understood the client’s needs the team regrouped, learned about capabilities available through vendor tools available to them through their parent NGO, and drafted a proposal. My work was in leading the UX discovery and strategy portions—culminating in the report, below.

View PDF of completed proposal All visible sections & artifacts were authored by me—less sections identified as authored by others—with editing and ideation contributions by others on the Adobe team.

The homepage thumbnail image showcases the project’s culminating visual design, by Ian Ingalls.

Outcomes Included

    • Tracked & made constituent data available for use in targeted fundraising efforts.
      • By implementing data reporting on constituent demographics via website reporting tools and a robust online fundraising platform. Both were identified as mission-critical to inform fundraising targets. Both were built-into the first version that Adobe pushed, live.
    • Website embraced as a critical communication, distribution, and fundraising tool.
      • Use of the Drupal CMS, and development of a content strategy that eliminated publishing bottlenecks & planned for content lifecycle needs.
      • Use of Drupal also allowed for multiple levels of per-user permissions, to further relieve per-person task burdens.
      • Social media channels used in reciprocity with new site, to deliver and pull content to & from where audiences and content already are.
      • Ticketing tool was adopted for web-to-lead (WTL), targeted communications; “just a feature” but a mighty efficiency impact.
      • Fundraising platform was finally able to be fully embraced, used by different fundraising segments, and to inform future campaign targeting.
    • All events published & managed online.
      • For not only the Northern California region, but neighboring regions and International, as well.
      • Second to the WTL ticketing system, this added much needed efficiency to human workflows, while enabling improved task-delegation across staff and volunteers—and, in a distributed fashion.
      • This was surprisingly harder than we’d thought. A combination of calendaring tools, rostering tools, volunteer signup processes, and fundraising stuff, all needed to be thoughtfully stitched together in reproducible templates for each event.
    • Paper forms replaced with either digital forms or direct access to relevant vendor services.
      • In 2010 all processes were paper-based: event sign-ups, everything.
    • School Partnership program fully operationalized, with the help of vendor services & built into the new website.
      • Capabilities included background checks for volunteers and coaches, scheduling, event management, team rostering, and much more.
      • Supporting +6,000 Athletes from over 200 schools, by mid-2013.
      • In 2023 there is now a stand-alone portal for the Schools program.
    • Improved access to Athlete communication.
      • Through “Athlete Profiles” created on website, that were built to keep multiple caregivers for each Athlete to-up-date on future commitments, preparation needs, past accomplishments, and other information often lost when multiple agencies or individuals are involved in the care of an individual Athlete as they matriculate through age-based programs.
      • Which of course, resulted in some of the loveliest folks in the world, just leading happier lives. At the end of the day, that’s what counts the most.
      • Design for inclusion: learn about the needs of differently abled humans, and rise to the occasion of meeting them where they are—so that we can all come together and help them shine!

See PDF proposal for more, plus identified success metrics.