With a transformative website redesign, we put the spotlight on a national nonprofit’s most life-changing foster care and community service programs.
Eckerd Connects serves over 34,000 families and children in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Founded in 1968 by Jack and Ruth Eckerd, Eckerd Connects has always centered its core values around serving kids. Now their services have expanded to include workforce development as well as other programs that help adults live full, healthy lives.
At the cusp of Eckerd Connects’ rebranding, we stepped in developed a content strategy, design, and robust backend that gives Eckerd Connects the tools they need to raise money, educate the public, and get people involved in everything from foster care and adoption to volunteering.
It all starts with a story.
We launched this project with a brand workshop at the Eckerd Connects offices. As is often the case, this was exercise in listening. We asked the right questions to discover not only who Eckerd Connects had been in the past, but what they wanted to be upon relaunch and in years to come. With a deep understanding of the organization’s goals and challenges, we had what we needed to then direct the focus on who matters the most — their end users.
I’ve loved working with Big Sea. After we reimagined our brand, we were ready for a website that matched our ever-growing mission. Eckerd Connects serves the community in a variety of different ways, so picturing a single website that could successfully highlight all of the amazing work we do was a challenge. Big Sea took the time to learn the ins-and-outs of our organization though. The result was a beautiful website, with a user-friendly design packed full of hundreds of pages of information. It was exactly what we needed.
Chay Hughes, Digital Content Manager
Helping people find the help they need.
The stakes were high on this project. Kids’ health and well-being are at stake every day and community programs are often a critical bridge that gets children and their parents the help they need. We knew we were dealing with multiple audiences, including those in crisis needing to find a service center.
We began with a content audit of over 500 pages, carefully combing through a site that had outgrown its own structure to become a convoluted Frankenstein that was difficult to navigate. Most of the site content served a specific purpose. We brought the count down to a more reasonable 289 pages without losing crucial information.
The result? An information architecture with logical entry points for each of the organization’s key audiences. No more barriers between users and the actions they needed to take.
Designing for hope.
From the very start, the Eckerd Connects team knew they wanted a design that stood out from other social services pages. Our Creative Director worked with the team extensively on “gut checks” to get a sense of how far they really wanted to push the envelope. Then we came back with what made the most sense to end users. The result is a beautiful marriage of functionality and imagery that tells an uplifting, inspirational story.
It’s a design that speaks to hope. Brighter futures. Action. Bright calls-to-action drive users to take key actions like learning more about foster care and donating to support community programs across the United States. This isn’t a place to idly browse, it’s a place to get involved and make the difference in children’s lives. It was a privilege to work on this design.
Getting down to business on the back end.
The huge breadth of content on Eckerd Connects provided its own unique challenges. Our development team needed to come up with solutions that gave the Eckerd Connects team full control over content moving forward — without having to go in and change dozens of pages one by one. We worked closely with the Eckerd Connects team over several workshops to identify their needs and develop new ways to use custom post types to distribute information across multiple areas of the site — such as service locations.
The result is a clean, intuitive back end that the Eckerd Connects team is comfortable driving. That means they can spend more time on community events and fundraising and less time fiddling with their website. As much as we love websites, that’s ultimately what we want for our clients. Keeping a site fresh and functional should never be a chore.
Big Sea Delivered:
- Clear calls-to-action to volunteer, donate, adopt and foster
- A fully restructured sitemap with an emphasis on clarity and ease of navigation
- Fresh copy that tells a story of hope and action
- A dynamic back end that puts the Eckerd Connects team in the driver’s seat
Distributing life-saving information to the community.
With Eckerd Connects’ new website, the organization now has a clean, user-friendly newsroom to distribute updates about community programs and information families need — such as bulletins about the opioid crisis and inspiring success stories of reunification. Nonprofits have unique marketing challenges, and Eckerd Connects is now ahead of the game with the ability to function not only as a resource but a publisher.
It isn’t every day the team at Big Sea gets to take part in efforts that save lives. This is the kind of work that inspires us. Soon after the launch of Eckerd Connects, the majority of Big Sea’s team enrolled in a weekly mentorship program serving underprivileged kids at a nearby elementary school.