Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People is the East Midlands’ only hospice for children and young people, where they and their families can find care and support.
Supporting those affected by life-limiting and life-threatening conditions, Rainbows Hospice provides a variety of care services including end of life care, symptom management, short breaks and respite care, with support from a team of doctors with expertise in children’s palliative and end of life care.
Its vision is to provide the Rainbows experience wherever a child or young person and their family is, either in the hospital, community or at Rainbows Hospice itself.
The need for the vital services that Rainbows provides continues to rise, with children and young people with a life-limiting or long-term condition has increased from 26.7 children per 100,000 to 66.4 per 100,000 in the last 17 years.
To continue to provide these services for a growing number of children and young people, Rainbows relies on raising the majority of their income through voluntary donations, with only 15% of income coming from government bodies.
The Rainbows website became an essential tool, both for families who need its support and also as a promotional tool to raise the vital funds and public awareness the charity needs.
Over time, the website had become unfit for purpose. Whilst it still reflected their brand, it had technical debt which led to inefficiencies regarding online donating and the current CMS lacked the flexibility and functionality the Rainbows team required.
Rainbows challenged Hallam to create a future-proof, world class website for the charity sector to meet the demands of a digital-first experience for staff, service users and supporters alike.
What we did
We wanted to create a bright and engaging site built on WordPress CMS to offer the best user experience to families, supporters and staff to encourage higher sign-up and fundraising rates.
We ran a number of discovery workshops with the Rainbows team, to uncover the pain points of their current website and to understand the needs of each of the core audience and user groups, including families, professionals, supporters and staff.
This translated into website wireframes, overlaid by SEO research, to ensure the needs of the brand, the users and search engines were considered.
To maintain the bold and fun nature of the Rainbows brand, we implemented dynamic animations without compromising on performance and accessibility. We achieved this with best practice coding standards; the site, for example, scores over 90% in Google PageSpeed Insights on both mobile and desktop.
One of the core challenges for Rainbows on the previous website was around the lack of data validation with the integration of thankQ – a CRM designed for charities and non-profits.
We solved this issue by integrating donations with thankQ through a custom plugin which allowed the Rainbows website to communicate with thankQ’s API and store contact details, communication consent, allow GiftAid, the reasons for which users wanted to donate, and donation/pledge details.
As part of the streamlined donation process, we also added support for several payment methods and providers including PayPal, Stripe and a custom direct debit integration.
On migration, there were also over 600 news articles that existed in their old site, which was built on Drupal 7. To save time – and to avoid manually adding in the new site in WordPress – we were able to run a few SQL queries on the Drupal database in order to export the news content in a format suitable for WordPress import.
At Hallam, we ensure that our strength of digital capabilities and technical specialism is married with a dedication to exceptional customer experience and seamless project delivery.
“The whole project appears to have run like a dream and my colleagues can’t speak highly enough of the team that they have worked with. I have had oversight of 3 new websites and this is by far the most successful. Communication has been great and the team at Hallam have been very helpful whenever they encountered a problem. Added to that, everyone is so delightful.”
— Jane Burns, Director of Supporter Relations at Rainbows Hospice
What’s the data saying?
We’ve seen an improvement across the board in user engagement on the website, reflecting one of Rainbows’ core objectives of lowering bounce rates, improving viewing time and creating more engagement with the website.
When comparing the month following migration compared to the month preceding migration (all traffic), the new site saw:
- Pages per session have increased by 46%
- Session duration increased 37%
- Bounce rate declined 16%
Slow loading and technical debt was leading to user frustration; now, page speed insights indicate that the website speed is 98 and desktop speed is now 100.
“Working with Hallam has been a pleasure. When we commenced planning for this project over a year ago, having been through the process before, I had braced myself for a difficult twelve months ahead. However, Beth, Kate, Tom, Dave and the team helped ensure everything ran smoothly and the process was virtually pain free.
“The clear and regular communication, along with specific deadlines, helped make sure we kept the website on track and, apart from one slight delay, we managed to deliver the fantastic new website within the required time frame. The Hallam team were always on hand to guide us through and were especially helpful when it came to the back-end integration of thankQ and our online payments systems and processes. If any of my counterparts in the charity sector were to ask, without hesitation, I’d highly recommend Hallam.”
— Nishil Saujani, Head of Marketing and Communications at Rainbows Hospice
As a result of our work with Rainbows, we won Best Charity Website at the UK Digital Excellence Awards 2023.
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