University Advancement websites

Campus Partner: University Advancement

MarComm partnered with University Advancement to reimagine their website, which resulted in turning one website into three, so that users could more easily find the content and complete the tasks relevant to them.



We focused on the key audiences made up of WashU alumni, volunteers, families, donors, current students, and friends of the university, while aiming to:

  • Promote attachment to and inspire pride in WashU and our community
  • Educate audience on how to be involved (through attending events, giving, volunteering, etc) and their impact
  • Facilitate and encourage connections between audiences

Our initial research combed through industry reports, website analytics, and peer institution sites. We surveyed site users from across all audiences as well as internal University Advancement stakeholders to discover the biggest areas of opportunity for the redesign. Our findings shaped our goals and the ultimate strategy for the site.

One major pain point we discovered was user frustration with the site navigation. The site navigation was overly complex, and there were too many competing messages. Users reported difficulty in finding information or completing basic tasks. Ultimately, we decided that splitting the one site into three made for a much better user experience since it allowed us to simplify site navigation, streamline messaging, and surface relevant tasks.

We identified three main types of content and tasks

  1. Alumni-focused content
  2. Giving-focused content
  3. University Advancement general content

which was then reflected in the three website structure.

However, it was also important that the three sites easily feed into one another as well, letting users move seamlessly between them to accomplish their tasks without feeling like they were leaving to a totally different website. We imagined the three sites as three front doors to the University Advancement web ecosystem.


Alumni website homepage

The new alumni website is focused on them – alumni, parents, and friends of the university who want to get involved. Messaging and photography evoke nostalgia and inspire pride in WashU.

The simple site navigation invites users to take action, and we surfaced common tasks that alumni searched for to make it simpler for users to find what they need. A common complaint about the former website was its emphasis on giving, but since giving now has its own website, we were able to focus on other ways for alumni and friends to be engaged with the university.

We found new ways to surface the various regional, professional, and shared interest or cultural networks so that users can connect with others more easily.

Top links for Alumni
Alumni can connect with regional, shared interest, and cultural networks.

Giving website homepage

The new giving website highlights top initiatives and the variety of giving opportunities that appeal to varied interests. It also demonstrates the impact of giving both through engaging storytelling and the new By the Numbers section which shows donors where their gifts are going.

One notable section is the new Areas to Support, which allows users to easily browse, learn about, and support the funds that matter to them.

Giving opportunities are easy to browse and filter under Areas to Support.
Give buttons link donors directly to the giving form with the chosen fund pre-selected.

Advancement website homepage

This site tells the story of University Advancement, demonstrating who they are and what they do. It clearly shows how alumni relations and giving both fall under their purview.

We also wanted to highlight the University Advancement staff here, as well as some of the other important areas they oversee including Corporate and Foundation Relations.

Site visitors can read the latest alumni and giving news from across the university.
The Spirit of Washington University lives within the Advancement site where visitors can browse the latest issue as well as past archives.