When a nonprofit wanted to increase donations to help cure childhood cancer, we helped improve the donor experience.
Ben Towne Foundation (BTF) is combatting childhood cancer by raising funds for cutting-edge treatment. Like any non-profit, community awareness and involvement are essential to BTF’s mission. We helped contribute to its life-saving cause by refreshing BTF’s online presence—bentownefoundation.org—to deliver a clean, modern, and responsively designed website that better tells its story.
With its new site, BTF better tells its story and focuses on the work that really matters: shaping the future of cancer therapy to make a difference in the lives of the 10,000 children who are diagnosed with cancer each year.
It started with Ben
In 2008, Ben Towne died of childhood cancer. He was three.
Ben’s journey changed the course of his parents’ lives. In the months following his death, Jeff and Carin Towne tried to process their family’s immense loss. As time passed, a vision took shape—a vision that would become Ben Towne Foundation.
BTF launched in 2010 with a bold mission: to change the way that childhood cancers are treated and cured. It’s grown into a passionate movement of families, communities, and businesses who share that same belief. To date, BTF has raised more than $4 million to directly fund pediatric cancer research.
In 2011, the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research (BTCCCR) was established, in partnership with the Seattle Children’s Research Institute. The team at BTCCCR is taking a unique approach to cancer research, focused on harnessing the power of the body’s immune system (or cellular immunotherapy). It hopes to ultimately reduce or eradicate the need for surgery, chemo, or radiation treatments—harsh measures that can cause life-long side effects for pediatric cancer survivors.
“We have a chance to radically change the lives of kids,” says Jeff Towne, Ben’s father and co-founder of Ben Towne Foundation. “This is the future of cancer therapy. It's not a matter of if anymore, it's a matter of when.”
The movement continues to grow organically. BTF’s reach has expanded beyond Jeff and Carin’s network of family and friends. Jeff has been touched to see how many children have gotten involved in the cause. Whether asking for donations in lieu of birthday gifts or starting a philanthropic coffee company, the outpouring of support exemplifies what Ben Towne Foundation is all about: families helping families.
BTCCCR has had two clinical trials approved by the FDA, and the first two patients treated are now in remission.
Though BTF had been successful at spreading its message to a passionate follower-base, the foundation recognized that its web presence could use a refresh. Thanks to the Towne’s personal connection with a Slalom consultant, members of our Customer Engagement team joined the cause.
We wanted to help BTF tell its story in the most compelling way possible to engage the community and inspire giving. Our work began with a competitive assessment of similar charities, providing BTF with a review of and recommendations for its website and social media accounts. It was important to keep the focus on Ben and the kids the foundation supports.
The assessment highlighted two key opportunities for improvement:
Content strategy: BTF had a wealth of compelling information on its site, including blog posts and videos, but the sheer volume inadvertently buried some of the most important content. We encouraged BTF to establish a clear content hierarchy and frontload key messaging to better build a foundational emotional connection and provide succinct, actionable information on the foundation’s impact and work.
Mobile-friendly design: When BTF was first launched, mobile-optimized sites were far less prevalent. Our team proposed a responsively designed site that would allow today’s mobile users to access the site’s content, while still allowing BTF to provide a rich experience that meets the expectations of its audiences.
We then put the recommendations into action, delivering Ben Towne Foundation with a refreshed and responsively designed website that shares Ben’s legacy.
“This was an amazing project,” says Brian Ladyman, Practice Area Director at Slalom. “I’ve never worked on a website project where the content and the mission were so personal for our client. Going through the process and realizing the magnitude of what the project meant to Jeff and Carin, and all their supporters, was really inspiring. It was so great when we went live, but also somewhat sad that our journey together was over.”
“If Ben's name is associated with cancer cures, then I think we've done the best we can to honor him.”
A mighty legacy
Jeff and Carin and Ben Towne Foundation continue to tirelessly advance the face of childhood cancer therapy. By raising funds and awareness, BTF is accelerating the research and clinical trials in progress at BTCCCR.
“At the end of the day, we can't change the outcome for Ben, but through the generosity of the community, we can change the outcome for other kids and families,” says Jeff. “If Ben's name is associated with cancer cures, then I think we've done the best we can to honor him.”
“I’ve never worked on a website project where the content and the mission were so personal for our client. Going through the process and realizing the magnitude of what the project meant to Jeff and Carin, and all their supporters, was really inspiring.”