Writing code and developing a website for a good cause has been a sensationally uplifting experience. It gave us a newfound motivation that our work would contribute to raising awareness and helping those living with autism spectrum disorders.
The Együtt az Autistákért Alapítvány (Together for Autistic People Foundation) had a vision, which we had the honor of implementing. Subsequently, this website helped them achieve thousands of conversions and the foundation won Website of the Year in the non-profit category.
The Együtt az Autistákért Alapítvány (Together for Autistic People Foundation) is a Hungarian charitable organization whose main goal is to help children with autism spectrum disorders, support their integration into communities, and provide long-term assistance to their families.
They had been in operation since 2016 as the Út a Mosolyért Alapítvány (Road to Smiles Foundation) but changed their name in 2019 to further express their commitment to the cause.
The foundation has organized a great number of charity concerts, flash mobs and other seasonal events throughout the years to try and break down the social stigma around autism.
We were approached in late 2019 by Balázs Gubcsó, a member of the Board of Trustees. He expressed that the foundation required a website which would serve as a simple and effortless platform for people to donate through.
Before this website was implemented, the foundation had three main ways of receiving funds:
Being a charitable organization, the foundation also had to seek the most cost-effective solution for their website.
The foundation started a huge rebranding process, to create a way to connect with younger audiences as well. The website, the new donation option and their marketing campaign were all built around this idea.
Instead of the usual route with charities where a website emphasizes sadness or sickness, and people donate out of pity, the foundation wanted to do something completely different.
They wanted to create a joyous landing page and highlight that with a bit of help every person on the autism spectrum could live a happy and complete life.
For the donation page the foundation wanted all possibilities displayed. Along with the 1% tax or single donations, there are options to donate a custom amount, or even donate as a company. An interesting challenge was implementing the regular monthly donations, which technically function like a subscription. We created this with the help of a Barion integration.
1. Consultation and Brainstorming
We sat down with our client multiple times to get a thorough understanding of what they wanted to communicate with the website. We concentrated on their challenges and together we conceptualized the functionality that would help solve those issues.
We browsed through the websites of many Hungarian charities, but we found no good solutions there. Looking internationally, UNICEF had a similar donation system to what our client required.
Even though our technological assets come nowhere near to what a huge organization like UNICEF has, we were determined to give our client a solution that would be just as great, while staying within their strict budget.
3. Graphic Design and Prototyping
At this phase we had a decent idea of how the structure of the website would look like. Equipped with the knowledge of our client’s needs we contacted our partners at SilArt Design. With comprehensive UI/UX knowledge they created the wireframes. We also discussed how the content and the foundation’s message would be the most effective. By the end of this stage we had a comprehensive visual layout of the website.
Following the design, our team at Splendex developed the entire website. The biggest challenge was the donation system – where we needed to provide a lot of different options while keeping the page clean and simple. Our custom development was based on WordPress, which enabled us to be incredibly cost-effective and pretty quick.
We put the website through a rigorous testing and quality assurance process to ensure all the functionality was perfect.
In the spring of 2020, roughly two months from our first consultation we deployed the website. Since then, we have been monitoring the website’s performance, and we are glad to say we had no downtime.
The Hungarian campaign “Being Good is Good!” collects different items from celebrities such as jerseys from soccer players for instance. Subsequently, these items are auctioned off, and the proceeds are given to a different charity each year. For 2020, the selected charity was the Együtt az Autistákért Alapítvány (Together for Autistic People Foundation).
This year was especially difficult for charities, because COVID seriously limited their opportunities. Furthermore, it was also an incredibly trying time for people on the autism spectrum, therefore the foundation’s help was more important than ever.
The foundation came up with a physical product, a blue heart pin, for people to purchase. Naturally, this meant they needed an e-commerce store to sell these pins through. Moreover, many Hungarian celebrities and influencers also backed the cause, which opened it up to an international audience.
The more content and functions there are, the more troublesome it is to translate websites into a different language.
All the pages were only available in Hungarian when we started this project. The strict campaign deadlines meant we had 2 weeks to transform everything into English, while implementing the e-commerce store. We worked closely with a translation agency, who thankfully delivered on time.
Other than being incredibly cost-effective, WordPress is an outstanding content management system (CMS). It gives plenty of opportunity to change content directly from its admin surface, as opposed to static code.
We took every static element and developed it so the content would come from the admin dashboard. These can be edited or replaced at any point (without needing to code) by anyone with sufficient access.
After we had no static content, with the help of the WPML plugin we transformed the website to English. This plugin recognized the structure of our website and generated identical text boxes to our Hungarian content regarding size and formatting. We then had to fill these out with the corresponding translated text.
Supervising this process is an incredibly meticulous task even on standard websites. However, this project was more complex as every single step of any donation process had to be available in English too. This meant that naturally the form, the payment details and methods had to be translated. The tricky part was, even everything after that, such as the Barion payment surface, any follow-up emails, the status of the order we had to find English solutions for.
From the very first day, the orders of blue heart pins were pouring in. In the first week we saw over 1000 orders, mostly by Hungarians, but there were some international purchases too. The intensity decreased a bit, but the orders kept on coming throughout the following weeks too.
On the 20th of December the foundation experienced a traffic of multiple thousands of people. This is a fantastic result and an incredible feat for the website of a charitable organization.
For the month of December, we can safely say that on average 1500 users visited the website per day.
Not only were the blue heart pins incredibly successful, conversions for the foundation also include any type of donation.
People have a lot of misconceptions when it comes to WordPress and performance. We know and aim to prove that with the right setup, WordPress can really be a solution for handling even a huge influx of visitors.