Mule Design worked with Cornell Alumni Affairs and Advancement to redesign their web presence to better serve their communities and answer the question, “Why give to Cornell?” The redesign was featured as a Communication Arts Web Picks. Read the official case study or view the live site.
A Big Red welcome to life as a Cornell Alum.
Alumni giving is changing. New alumni aren’t as motivated by a sense of obligation. They feel like their smaller gifts won’t make a difference. And when it comes to charitable donations, their alma mater doesn’t jump to mind as a cause worth giving to. Schools need to change the way they communicate with alumni to continue fostering and sustaining these essential relationships.
Instead of reminding alumni of their time at Cornell, the new site reminds them of the values that attracted them to the university in the first place. It showcases the ways alumni are living out Cornell’s values of creating and sharing knowledge and being of service today. It builds excitement around Cornell as an institution that not only positively shaped their lives but also continues to shape the world. It answers the question of why Cornell is a cause worthy of whatever you can give.
The visual design system uses Cornell’s secondary palette to add life to the site. Big typography and accessibility best practices keep the content enjoyable for an audience that ranges from current students to those who have been alumni for decades.
The modular design creates ample opportunities to direct visitors to specific actions and make connections between information and stories across the content-rich site.
By far, the most important challenge to address when designing for large institutions is socializing the design outside of the core client team. While working with a tight-knit digital communications team, we also worked with gift officers, content creators, and IT to ensure that system met the needs of internal stakeholders as well as alumni and volunteer communities.
And I can now say confidently, having been there to present the design to Cornell AAD staff, that Ithaca is gorges.