Changes to our websites and online giving

May 12th, 2016

Late last year, as part of an overall “Digital Roadmap” for WFAA, our Business System Steering Team (BSST) approved a plan for the organization to migrate away from using My UW Connect for our alumni/donor-facing web applications such as online giving and alumni record updates.  My UW Connect (also known as BBIS) is the web “front-end” that came as a package with ABE (our Blackbaud implementation) and, despite our best efforts to customize this “out of the box” system, it never lived up to our expectations for alumni/donor experience.

To address this, we’ve been working on a number of projects that are rolling-up into a broader plan to move decommission My UW Connect altogether. Here’s what we’ve been working on and have in store for the near future:

  • Simplified “Update” Form – September, 2015
    • Last year we launched a simplified alumni/donor update form on making it easier for alumni to send us updated contact, employer and job information.
  • WAA Membership Forms – February , 2016
    • We’ve designed and developed new WAA Membership and Sustaining Contributions forms.
    • By rebuilding these forms in-house, we were able to significantly improve the user experience and customize the forms to match our business needs.
  • Badger Bridge – March/April, 2016
    • We recently launched this new platform to replace the alumni directory in My UW Connect and to give our alumni a fresh new way to make professional connections, mentor fellow Badgers and more.
    • Nearly 2,000 alumni have already signed up (almost 25% of the number of My UW Connect registrants in 20 months). If you haven’t already done so, it’s a simple sign-up process… check it out today!
  • Redesign – May, 2016
    • Speaking of refreshing changes, the homepage is due for refresh. In next week or so you’ll be seeing a new design there that better highlights the features our alumni are looking for.
    • Wondering how many times the new design will be seen? In the last 12 months, we’ve had nearly 2.4 million page views on the site – 368K of those were the homepage.
  • Online Giving – June, 2016
    • We’re currently building our new online giving forms in-house, giving us full control over the technology and user experience. We’re planning to launch these new forms in early June.
    • We’re considering this initial release as a foundation on which we’ll be able build several new features going forward, but we are including some enhancements right out of the gate like:
      • improved designation search
      • multiple designations on a single gift
      • auto-address completion
      • significantly improved tribute gifts
    • There’s no need to make any immediate changes to start using the new forms. We’ll continue supporting existing links to the giving forms, including the links that pre-fill particular designations. Via your existing online giving links, donors will be redirected to the new forms.
  • Redesign – June, 2016
    • With new online giving forms and a refreshed on the horizon, we couldn’t leave behind. So shortly after the online giving forms go live, we’ll be releasing a redesign of that will also complement its sister sites, aligning nicely with and the new designs.

Decommissioning My UW Connect

With these new systems and updates, we will have effectively replaced all the functionality in One exception, however, is the Giving History feature in My UW Connect that enabled donors to log in and see their past gifts. While this feature wasn’t highly utilized on the site, we did have a couple thousand alumni who registered to have access since we went live in 2014.

Unfortunately, like many of the other functions in My UW Connect, the Giving History feature wasn’t particularly intuitive – and sometimes the data was confusing – which caused regular issues for users. With this in mind and with the deprecation of the other features on the site, the BSST recently decided to discontinue support of the Giving History feature, thereby eliminating the need for My UW Connect to continue as an alumni/donor-facing site.

Over the next several weeks, we’ll be communicating this change to affected alumni/donors and taking steps to redirect web traffic to our new systems.

If you have any questions about these changes, please contact:

Dan Treuter
Managing Director – Digital Marketing
Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association