Website for people with alopecia 

Alopecia UK is a small charity, run entirely by volunteers, yet it has a national reach that shows it is punching far above its weight. Each month, the charity’s discussion board has 8,000 views and the site as a whole is visited by around 5,000 people.

Back in 2004, the charity embraced the potential of the internet, realising that they could do a great deal with very little in the way of human resources and budget, of which they were short. A trustee put together a website and discussion forum in his spare time and this was quickly very successful.

The original website served the organisation very well for many years, however, in 2009 it became apparent that the site had lost its edge and needed some improvement.

During our initial conversations with AUK, it became clear that there were a number of opportunities for us to help them do even more with even less. Here are some of the recommendations and solutions were offered:

  • make it easier for the charity to manage the content using our CMS
  • refresh the design
  • increase donations
    • make it easier for people to see that the charity is run by volunteers and depends on donations
    • provide a prominent ‘donate’ button on each page
  • increase income - make it easier for companies to join the suppliers directory
  • reduce the amount of administration AUK need to do
    • automate the suppliers directory sign ups, which were then paperbased, take payments online and issue automatic renewal notices
    • provide a single, automatically updated list of suppliers and their subscriptions
    • allow suppliers to update their own entries on the list
    • let supporters and people with alopecia sign up to become members online (rather than printing and posting an application form) and invite them to contribute a donation when the process is complete.

This website was created using a content management system we have developed with a partner company. The aim of this CMS is to offer the benefits of both a bespoke system and a subscription-based website builder. Because we work with so many charities and their requirements often have similarities, we’ve been able to develop a number of modules that can be re-used for a fraction of the bespoke cost. Yet, the site is fully flexible and, if needed, can be completely reshaped.

If you are interested in a similar project, please get in touch.

It’s nice to have such an easy admin system to allow us to update the site and add news items. We’ve had a huge increase in both supplier directory and membership applications, which is great. In comparison to the old website, it looks much cleaner and fresher and it’s definitely more user-friendly.

Vicky Spencer, Alopecia UK trustee


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