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National Nonprofit Engages Social Donors
With the help of EpiServer, the National Down Syndrome Society replatforms its Web presence.
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The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) aims to enhance its constituents' quality of life. However, its efforts were hampered by outdated technology.

A nonprofit organization must constantly seek new revenue streams and maintain relationships with past donors to stay afloat. At NDSS, the main audience is parents of children with Down syndrome, "a very socially connected community," explains Julie Cevallos, NDSS's vice president of marketing.

Many of those parents interact with each other on Facebook to share images, stories, and resources. The social platform helps NDSS reach "potential donors who might fundraise for us," Cevallos adds. Another of the nonprofit's audiences, which includes doctors, therapists, service providers, and educators, tends to go directly to the Web site seeking information and resources, making it necessary for NDSS to have a platform that meets Web and social demand.

Last spring, NDSS realized its Web platform was not current enough to accommodate its growing base of user-generated content and social outreach. "We weren't allowing multichannel engagement" by driving traffic to the site through e-newsletters or social media, Cevallos says.

Because it had reduced its print mailings with the hope of moving more resources online, NDSS needed to have a system to tie its donor and patient channels together on the front and back end. It turned to enterprise content management and e-commerce software provider EpiServer. With the help of EpiServer partner agencyQ, NDSS deployed multiscreen content management system EpiServer 7 in September to streamline its online experience and make updates easier on the back end.

NDSS saw a 67 percent increase in site referrals from social channels. It was able to increase user-generated content for its My Great Story public awareness initiative, which asks site visitors to submit inspiring stories about living with Down syndrome or about someone they know who has Down syndrome. Users read, comment, and vote for their favorite stories online and on Facebook. The author who garners the most votes at the end of the month is rewarded with a prize and featured in the NDSS e-newsletter.

The nonprofit agency also noted a 15 percent increase in page views, a 10 percent increase in email opt-ins, and a 12 percent decrease in bounce rate, which Cevallos says indicates that the donor base is more engaged and successful when searching for resources online. Next, NDSS will consider expanding the use of EpiServer to include a MobilePack add-on for mobile content management.

By upgrading the NDSS site and content management system using EpiServer, Cevallos expects to see significant cost savings in the long run because internal development and marketing teams can now make minor updates without consulting IT or third-party developers.

"With so many people following us socially and so many people doing that from their phones, our [mobile users are] bound to keep increasing," Cevallos says. "We've definitely made sure that the site was optimized for mobile and that it could be seen and navigated well from phones and iPads."

The Payoff

Using EpiServer, the National Down Syndrome Society:

  • drove 67 percent more site visits through social channels;
  • obtained a 10 percent increase in email opt-ins;
  • saw a 12 percent decrease in bounce rate; and
  • increased page views by 15 percent.

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