Giving to UCSF

Giving to UCSF

Design a compelling digital strategy and fundraising website. 

(Tomorrow Partners)




UX Designer / Researcher / Strategist / Information Architect 

UCSF Dept of Alumni Relations
Favorite Medium
Gaby Brink – Creative Director
Nathalie Destandau – Lead Strategist
Eva Deniel – Lead Writer
Kirill Mazin – Visual Designer


San Francisco is home to UCSF, a nationally ranked medical university and hospital without outstanding health services. In light of new challenges and a brighter future, they were looking for a modern digital fundraising strategy. This project was a piece of a larger shift by UCSF to embrace new mediums and communicate their story to the world.



The project began with conversations. We spoke with the core client team and stakeholders across departments, including the Foundation Board, the Department of Alumni Relations, the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, and others. Together, they provided a cohesive picture of UCSF as an institution, their goals, and their challenges.

We also spoke with the future audience of the new digital strategy. These 1-on-1 interviews provided insights about the needs and desires of those who chose to give / not give to the institution. 

Based on these insights and an audit of existing UCSF assets, analogous experiences, we developed personas to clearly articulate the desires of the audience. The Devoted Supporter, Conscious Contributor, Major Steward, and Grateful Ambassador became a foundational framework for the content strategy and design that followed. 


"Content strategy helps organizations provide the right content to the right people at the right time for the right reasons."

– Meghan Casey, The Content Strategy Toolkit

We sat down with the team to define short-term and long-term success for the strategy. In co-creation sessions, we evaluated the goals and personas and proposed a future structure of UCSF's digital assets and how they might interact with the new giving site.

From the beginning, it was apparent that UCSF's story and high-quality content would be the major focus throughout the digital strategy.

In order to support the creation, maintenance, and quality of the content over time, we generated a variety of editorial tools and recommendations for the UCSF team around the following areas:

  • Structure
    • Of the giving site in relation to other assets
    • Information architecture of the giving site
  • Substance
    • Desirable content for audiences, both internal and external
    • Editorial voice and tone
  • Workflow
    • Guidelines around team members, their roles, and responsibilities
    • Editorial calendar for digital content
    • Workflows for different types of digital content and their archiving process
  • Governance
    • Guidelines for approving and publish content
    • Criteria for published content

Living tools, flexible platform.

In addition to the adaptable workflow seen below, we created a living suite of content creation tools via Google Drive. As digital content is a constantly shifting medium, the entire team recognized the importance of flexibility and adaptability in their own culture also. The fact that the content creation tools were in Google Drive were indicative of this cultural shift.

The tools included a comprehensive Content Audit, Competitive Landscape Analysis, Editorial Calendar, Ecosystem Map, Social Content Guidelines, and an Implementation Roadmap.

UX Design

Using the strategy, we built on the comprehensive information architecture and structure for the new giving site. To roll out the site in a timely manner, we used existing pattern libraries, assets, and links. We designed the wireframes atomically to build onto the pattern library and make sure that the site would be configurable and flexible for future use cases. Responsive, modular design was considered during every step of the design and build process.

After an initial round of visual design by Tomorrow Partners, Favorite Medium completed the design and build of the giving website. It was launched in 2016 and continues to be updated today.