Saint Leo University Advancement
A NetCommunity Case Study
“We couldn’t be more pleased with both the process and the results. Collaborating with Nonprofit Garden provided us with the tools to conduct the business of alumni engagement and university giving in a very modern way.”
– Denny Moller, Vice President of University Advancement and Communications
Saint Leo University had been using NetCommunity for events and giving campaigns, but other content was disjointed and on other technology platforms. Their current site lacked visual appeal and had not been included in the strategy of their overall communications plan. It was hard to navigate, overloaded with dated information and had no online resources for their alumni community. Although their team included graphic designers, writers, and other experts, Saint Leo University needed some guidance and development by Nonprofit Garden to fully modernize it.
Nonprofit Garden and design partner Colombo Designs collaborated with Saint Leo to design and build a dynamic website that would tell their story & provide a way for their nearly 80,000 alumni in 72 countries to connect with the University, its alumni community and each other. The process began with discovery sessions to identify the site’s needs and project goals to create alumni engagement and promote giving.
The result of this initial discovery session lead the team to create a homepage, some custom feature pages, and templates with new multi-pane layouts that lead to greater flexibility without managing too many templates. These innovations assure that Saint Leo will be able to continue to grow while remaining self-sustaining with regards to their design. The team at Saint Leo took over the content migration in order to create the additional hundred or so pages in NetCommunity that made up the site at launch.
The new responsive site finally bridged the gap between the print collateral and the online presence of the University’s Alumni Association. The site was tested on all platforms, and Nonprofit Garden provided essential training shortly before site launch.
- Interactive Areas of Support feature page
- Expand/collapse functionality to help display large areas of content
- Integration of third-party web calendar that’s more dynamic that the out-of-the-box calendar
- Staff contact information displayed prominently in each section to better serve their users
- Donor/Alumni testimonials prominently displayed throughout the site
The Your Saint Leo website launched on the first of the year and was promoted to alumni with a postcard and email. In the first month, 320 alumni joined the online community, and after three months, the number doubled. Feedback among the university administration, alumni, and friends of Saint Leo has been very positive. Statistics have shown that alumni events have been the most popular pages. These include a third-party embedded event calendar, Alumni Weekend pages, and additional pages dedicated to alumni events.
In its first three months, the site had more than 10,000 unique visitors and 40,000 page views, and 65 percent of its visitors are now return users. The university reports that 64 percent of its visitors are using a desktop, but that 30 percent are viewing the site on mobile, and 6 percent are using a tablet to visit the website. As the site is now responsive, all visitors have no issues in navigating and using all features.
By its fifth month, the site grew to nearly 200 engaging pages, and has a growing collection of student stories, alumni stories, and donor stories. The student stories are geared toward scholarship recipients and the impact that donor funds can have on their alma mater.
The site provides a number of opportunities to donate, and online donations are on the rise. The website also contains sidebar ads for the university’s text-to-give program and online alumni store.
Saint Leo plans to consult with Nonprofit Garden each year to add additional technology and innovation to their NetCommunity site. The goal is to continue to engage alumni and be accessible.
Visit the website at your.saintleo.edu/.