Capstone- Final Project Documentation Project Summary For my capstone, I decided to create a University Annual Giving mobile application. I decided to create an app that would streamline the giving process for alumni while placing the decision of when to give in their hands. By placing the ability to make a gift in the hands of alumni, alumni offices will see a reduction in cost by saving money on paper products, such as mailers. By downloading the app, alumni are no longer reliant on phone calls from a student call team or university mailers in order to give to their alma mater. Alumni are now given the option to give when they want, where they want, and how they want. My goal for this project was to make institutional giving more enjoyable for a universities young alumni audience. I wanted young alumni to feel as if they could make a gift and financially support their university despite paying student loans, starting a new job, and facing moving cost as a relocating recent graduate. If an individual can only afford to give $5 that year due to finances being tight, using an app to make a gift keeps an alumnus from feeling embarrassed or as if their gift is insignificant since the donor wouldnâ€™t have to tell another individual the amount. After listening to peers and receiving feedback from individuals in my target audience, I have found that most young alumni would prefer to give via an app, rather than being solicited with phone calls and mailers. Final Deliverables For final deliverables, I chose to have a main product with supplementary products. The main product is the mobile application prototype that was created with inVision. The app prototype operates just as the mobile app would if downloaded from a userâ€™s respective app
store, Apple or Android. The app contains both tapping and swiping motions to simulate a fully functional, coded app. The supplementary products consist of an animation created in Adobe After Effects and multiple copies of product documentation. The animation can be used as a marketing tool from me to universities who are interested in the app or from universities to students to encourage application downloads. By having copies of project documentation, I will be able to show those who come to the showcase the process of my project. The documentation will not only include the deliverables and the process I took to create the deliverables, but also the elements considered, such as branding, user personas, and advertisement locations. Since my project is not housed on a website, the live link to the entire project can be found on my portfolio (https://ashleyesugg.myportfolio.com/) under the Capstone tab. The app prototype, animation, document, and process can be found in that one central location. For just the app prototype, https://invis.io/EZIKKVK68XV can be used. Research I wanted my Capstone project to reflect a need or a gap in the industry, specifically in annual giving based on my previous experience. In order to find out if my idea met a need or gap in the industry, I focused my research paper in Theory and Audience Analysis on how universities can better reach their young alumni audience. My paper consisted of twenty-five sources ranging from the importance on alumni giving, what factors affect alumni giving, and how the millennial demographic (current young alumni) view giving. Some of the most influential sources used for my project are as follows. 1. Bent, L. G. (2012). Young Alumni Giving: An Exploration of Institutional Strategies (Ed.D.). Johnson & Wales University, United States -- Rhode Island. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1221256724/abstract/F8F517D80B914D89PQ/1
a. This article stresses the importance of universities receiving funding from outside sources, such as alumni, because of how expensive it is to operate a university. The article looks at young alumni as long-term donors, which is a pivotal concept to rely on for my research in terms of lifetime giving. In order to revive the missing audience of young alumni, even if they are fifty dollars a year donor's, gift to the university add up. Fifty dollars a year for ten years equals five hundred dollars, which is a substantial amount of money. Additionally, the ‘sense of community’ theory mentioned aligns with my research. Using the elements found within the theory such as, membership, influence, integration, and fulfillment of needs, and shared emotional connection. Their research question of “What strategies do institutions with high young alumni participation rates employ to promote young alumni giving?” leads perfectly into what I am trying to analyze. 2. Farrow, H., & Yuan, Y. C. (2011). Building Stronger Ties With Alumni Through Facebook to Increase Volunteerism and Charitable Giving. Journal of ComputerMediated Communication, 16(3), 445–464. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.10836101.2011.01550.x a. In an effort to increase alumni participation, this study focused on the importance of networking with alumni through social media outlets. The cost of education is on a steady incline and universities rely on financial support from various sources such as money raised, government funding, and private donation, as outlined in this study. Additionally, mimicking information from other resources, alumni and private donations account for about thirty percent of university funding. This is the reason why effective and updated solicitation methods are vital to the success of university fundraising. Past research has been conducted that supports the idea
of networking though social networks to increase volunteering and giving for organizations. According to the past research, this is because information is more accessible on social media so that is a better chance for an audience to hear about opportunities to support their organization of choice. One issue that universities face is keeping strong ties with alumni after graduating. 3. Freeland, R. E., Spenner, K. I., & McCalmon, G. (2015). I Gave at the Campus: Exploring Student Giving and Its Link to Young Alumni Donations After Graduation. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, 44(4), 755â€“774. a. This study is one of the most valuable resources for me because it mentioned senior giving campaigns while a student is taking classes at their soon to be alma mater and how/if that impacts their desire to give once graduating. This study found that giving to the university as a student increases your likelihood of giving to the university as an alumnus. This research also looks at the factors that increase alumni participation, like most of my other research. Additionally, this article also supports the fact that alumni giving counts for about thirty percent of funds to aid in university costs. Annual giving offices rarely utilize young alumni as a type of non-donor due to the lower participation rates. This article discusses the importance of senior annual giving campaigns and highlights the lack of research and evidence on this specific causation. The authors of this research claim that students are often overlooked for two reasons. The first reason being that young alumni would likely be you smaller dollar amount donors and because of this it can be hard to see the immediate return on investment, in comparison to the donors who give the university in large enough amounts to have something named after them. The big picture of lifetime giving can be more influential than
the large donations every so often. Example, twenty dollars a year for twenty years is a total of four hundred dollars, which could help a second semester senior finish paying their tuition in time to walk across the stage or provide a student in financial trouble a scholarship to keep them from transferring to a cheaper university. 4. Mcdearmon, J. T. (2010). Whatâ€™s in it for me: A qualitative look into the mindset of young alumni non-donors. International Journal of Educational Advancement; Basingstoke, 10(1), 33â€“47. https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/ijea.2010.3 a. This article analyzed key motivators for young alumni giving. The non-donors were coded based on factors such as influence of the university career services office, use of incentives to promote giving, and how restricted and unrestricted funds play a role in the decision to make a gift. This article highlights the obstacles, both financial and influential, that young alumni face once graduating from their alma mater. Additionally, in the introduction of the article the author makes a point to bring to light the current solicitation practices that in currently being used to promote annual giving. Additionally, this study references research from Gunsalus which provides insight into how first year retention rates, graduation rates, the percentage of students on campus, and tuition price in an effort to better understand the relations this factors have on alumni participation. Gunsalus' research showed a positive correlation. Institutional prestige also affects alumni's willingness to give but primarily with recent graduates. 5. Newman, M. D., & Petrosko, J. M. (2011). Predictors of Alumni Association Membership. Research in Higher Education, 52(7), 738â€“759. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-011-9213-8
a. This article discussed the alumni associations and the factors that encouraged individuals to join, with a focus on dues based. Factors that increased alumni association participation include donation history (current donors are more likely), have accessible contact information for solicitation methods, age, having a positive experience and thinking highly of alumni chapters as an alumni, knew about other alumni member participating, and level of involvement with university. Some factors that were studied that had resulted in less of a chance of alumni participation were, being a university employee, having a higher level degree such as a masters, as well as positive experiences as a student and looking highly upon your alma mater. The use of alumni programs and associations is to keep alumni connected with the university in an effort to maintain relationships and a flow of information between the two. This survey looks the similarities in motivation between alumni association participation and alumni giving participation. These five articles, amongst the others, not only encouraged me to move forward with my plan for capstone, but also shaped some of feature present on the app. Some of the feature mirrored are the list of alumni events to show a focus on participation post grad, affinity group are apparent in the use of athletic events to be saved and activities shown on the profile. By adding student testimonials, users of the app can experience a similar personal connection achieved by the student call team.
Design and Development Process
This project began and as an idea in early September 2017. I can remember sitting in Theory and Audience Analysis, receiving the first of many capstone talks. It was almost as if a switch had flip and my brain was working faster than my hand. All of my ideas from this project were scribbled on pages of a notebook, staring back at me, waiting to be made sense of. As the semester went on, I focused any research and projects that I could on my capstone, in hopes of developing this idea to itâ€™s most refined state for my capstone class. I wrote research paper as well as create and app design that were used to refine my scattered ideas. The research paper focused on how to reach Young Alumni as a donor group, whereas the mobile application designed as a broad institutional advancement mobile application with giving being a component, rather than the focus. The app was focused towards my alma mater, Campbell University, as a way to test the feasibility of my capstone idea. When capstone planning began in the spring, I was also taking the Digital Branding class and found a way to tie the two together in an effort to further develop the idea of Belton University. I stated the development and branding process for Belton by creating the branding page show below. Following the branding page, I decided that it would be important to create a persona, in an effort to fully understand the target audience that I was trying to reach. The purpose of the persona was to identify a recent graduate of Belton University, the social networks they would use, personality attributes, motivations, influences for giving, and activities or affinity groups the individual would have affiliated with during their time as a student.
Once creating the persona, I had a better idea of how to structure the app and certain elements that should be included. Moving forward from the branding page and persona, I began creating sketches of the application.
Once the sketches were completed, I created a mock of the screens in adobe Illustrator that were used in user testing and for feedback. The illustrator files were then put into Adobe XD to create a simulator of the mobile application.
These mockups and XD file, in the final steps, became what is now the final version of the app created in InVision.
Design Style Guide To ensure consistency on my mobile app, I created a branding page. By creating a branding page, I was able to keep colors, fonts, and themes consistent throughout the project. Since Belton University was created for the purposes of the project, I want the university to look and feel as real as any other institution. My goal was for to interact with the app prototype and ask â€œSo where is Belton located?â€? If users of my prototype were able to feel connected to a non-existent university, then it would show just how connected they would feel to their personal alma mater. I wanted the fonts used, the colors chosen, and even the mascot to be based off of what I envision when I think of a university. I chose a serif font for the name of the university to give a more professional and regal feel, followed by the word university in a sans serif font to visually compliment. I chose a combination of navy, gold, and white to provide a sense of tradition. I didnâ€™t want the color combination to appear too modern or new, in an effort to further the idea of Belton University previously existing. The colors, fonts, logos, and submark are to be used throughout the mobile application with simple transition into graphics or print items used in university solicitation methods.
Technology Guide The first element of technology used for the mobile app was Adobe Illustrator. I used Illustrator to create my branding guide, branding guide elements, app mock ups, and the finalized mobile app pages. In addition to Adobe Illustrator, I also used Adobe Photoshop to color correct any images used from unsplash.com that did not reflect the Belton University colors or name. Once I was ready to mock up the function of the app, I used Adobe XD to create a prototype that could be critiqued and user tested by individuals in my target audience. When the app was ready to be finalized, I used inVision to create a prototype to closely simulate a fully functional and coded mobile application. When creating the animation, I used Adobe Illustrator to create the animated elements and Adobe After Effects to put the animation together. Primary Content Assets As a university is constantly changing and development, this application will need to be developed accordingly. An example of how the app may develop over time would be what the university is fundraising for. According to the app presently, Belton one of the two main fundraising projects is the parking garage. Once the appropriate amount of money has been raised for that project specifically, the university will begin fundraising for a new project. As the content is developing the tone of voice and writing style should be reflective of the universityâ€™s goal to inform and connect with alumni. The reader should be able to feel Belton, have an emotional connection to the current students and the tradition of the university. It is important for the student testimonials to be written in first person in order for the desired emotional connection to occur.
Project Usage and Instructions The main feature of this app is the streamlined giving process. In a matter of three clicks, an alumnus has the ability to make a gift on the app. Before a gift can be made on the app, the alumni user will need to login or create an account. On the app prototype, the user will tap the login button to be directed to the home screen. From the home screen, the user can go ahead and make a gift to the university by tapping the â€œmake a giftâ€? button in the upper right hand corner. However, if the user would like more information on university fundraising efforts and testimonials, the user can explore the When, How, Where, and Why of Belton giving. The hamburger style navigation bar allows the user to interact with secondary elements such as a campus map, alumni events, athletic events, and introduction to the office, and a direct link to the users profile. The Belton giving icon at the top of the application serves as a home button, returning the user to the homepage. For users interacting with the fully functional coded version of the application, the login process will act differently. First time users will have the option to login using a gmail account, which is what most universities use for email, or a linked in account. By giving alumni the option to login using their linked in account, the university will be able to gain data on their alumni about their employment and contact information that can be used to update alumni profiles or turn into magazine features. Other than the login information, the prototype will function the same as a fully coded version of the app.