The Soil Association achieves one unified digital experience

Guest
By Guest on 13 October 2017
The Soil Association achieves one unified digital experience

Founded in 1946, The Soil Association is the UK’s leading charity campaigning for organic food and sustainable living with over 27,000 members.

Internally, The Soil Association were struggling with data and membership management, which was causing tasks to be time-consuming and data to be difficult to surface to members. Externally, they had two disparate websites; one for their charity and one for their certification subsidiary. These two websites suffered from poor usability and were difficult to update and manage meaning content was dated, cluttered and affecting membership and donation conversions.

The aim was to drive digital transformation and maximise the investment in technology to provide an exceptional membership experience and improve internal processes. Whilst also combining the two websites into one unified site that focused on great user experience, increasing donations and driving membership sign-ups.

It was important to improve data and membership management behind the scenes; improving Gift Aid, event and fundraising and donation management, built on a scalable solution, whilst streamlining the marketing and membership communications through marketing automation. It was necessary to integrate the back-end CRM with the public-facing website to allow users to view, edit and submit their information on the website and automatically reflect in the internal CRM system and drive self-service.

Chorus used their tailored membership and fundraising management solution, Rhythm, built on Microsoft Dynamics 365 as the back-end platform to record and manage all membership information, payment processing and other internal activities, such as event management and marketing. Information stored with Dynamics 365 could then be easily surfaced through a new, unified website built on Umbraco CMS, using their own bespoke plug-in, Harmony. The website development involved detailed UX research and design and took into account UX best practices to encourage membership conversions and provide a fluid and secure user experience for members.

Before beginning Chorus carried out several UX and IA workshops along with user experience research to optimise the customer journey and to increase donations and conversions via the website.

Umbraco was the perfect CMS choice thanks to its flexibility, integration capabilities and intuitive experience, making it ideal for content managers to create engaging website content; both for the public website and the secure membership portal.

Chorus integrated the Umbraco website with Rhythm using their own bespoke Umbraco to Microsoft Dynamics 365 plug-in “Harmony”. This allows the automation of membership management, donation management and various business activities, such as Gift Aid claims and payment processing. Information amended internally through CRM is automatically updated and reflected on the website; and data created or edited on the website automatically feeds back into their CRM system via a two-way data sync.

The Soil Association required a scalable and robust platform that fitted with their overall infrastructure stack but catered for their membership and fundraising needs. The bespoke Microsoft Dynamics 365 system, Rhythm, was implemented which allows the Soil Association to benefit from ready-built tailored modules to manage membership, events, Gift Aid, fundraising and donations, while also providing the out-of-the-box features and advantages of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform.

To improve marketing automation capabilities, ClickDimensions was used to provide email marketing, website analytics, subscription management amongst other features.

When standard functionality wasn’t enough Chorus extended and developed the system through bespoke .NET development to ensure a tailored solution, which then integrated with their website; automatically feeding information captured from the website into the system.

“Thanks to Rhythm, we are embracing technological change that enables us to better engage with our members and supporters in ways which were not possible before,” said the head of IT at Soil Association. “We highly recommend working with Chorus; they continue to help us innovate and deliver projects with a human touch and a smile!”

The final result is one unified digital experience (on any device) that effectively promotes the core messages and values of the Soil Association - increasing membership signups and individual donations.

Umbraco’s simplicity has allowed the Soil Association to manage all content and to easily update and create engaging content to further drive community engagement. Behind the scenes, the website integrates with key line of business applications and their new CRM system, Rhythm, built on Microsoft Dynamics 365, which has allowed the Soil Association to reduce time-consuming tasks and to streamline internal business processes. Thanks to the scalability of Umbraco and Microsoft Dynamics 365, the website and CRM system can continue to grow with the Soil Association as they continue to champion and drive organic and sustainable living.

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