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Building a user-centred membership process

Your organisation has grown rapidly, but your internal systems haven’t kept up. We take a fresh look at your processes and make them work better for your audiences – and more manageable for your staff.

Project type: analysis and design

Girls Not Brides is a global partnership of more than 1,300 civil society organisations – from more than 100 countries – committed to ending child marriage. Founded in 2011, it has grown exponentially year on year.

Such rapid growth often means outgrowing existing systems and processes. The GNB member engagement team increasingly struggled to cope with the volume of applications for new members. They needed a new, more effective solution. 

So they brought us in to redesign the member induction process. The new process had to reduce the staff time needed to process applications, fix technical issues with the tool they were using and get more new members signing up for the inductions with the GNB team.

“The project consisted of multiple overlapping problems that we needed to solve. Our member induction process was very time consuming, clunky, and manual. As well as a series of technical issues and bottlenecks - such as the online application form not syncing with our database properly - it was not achieving the desired outcomes of getting members to join induction calls and properly engage with us.”
Megan MacGarry
Member Engagement Manager, Girls Not Brides
Mapping the problem – with members in mind
Photograph of the design process

Photo: the visual representation of the original process

Our first task was to map out the existing member induction process. What happened when? What tools did people use? Where were the main problems, and what caused these?

We created a visual representation of the process, showing the various phases, actions and problem areas. We then used this as a basis for detailed discussions with the GNB team. 

In parallel, we developed simple objectives and explored possible solutions with the team: what did an ideal process look like, and what would be our indicators of success?

More engaging for members, easier to manage for staff

The existing process wasn’t working for two distinct sets of users: GNB staff, and new members. Staff found it impractical, burdensome, and time-consuming to manage. Potential new members needed it to be more effective, engaging and welcoming. 

We worked closely with the GNB team to both fully understand their needs and identify what was causing them the most difficulty. We then developed user profiles of potential new members, and established what the revised process had to provide for them.

We used these insights to design a revised and much improved process that would successfully address the needs of both sets of users. Again we developed a visual representation of the process to allow the GNB team to discuss and analyse the proposed design.

“Smith&Brown listened carefully to what we had to say, and were very good at breaking down a complex process with multiple moving parts into clear and manageable pieces of work. From the application form to the automated emails and the overall process, they helped us think in detail about what we needed, and how to really improve the experience for our members.”
Megan MacGarry
Member Engagement Manager, Girls Not Brides
A more effective and personalised member journey

Photo: the visual representation of the redesigned process

We delivered three key improvements:

we made the whole process shorter and simpler

we redesigned the online application form, and replaced the tool used to build it 

we improved the user experience, creating an automated, personalised email journey for new members and eliminating numerous data-synchronisation bugs and other bottlenecks

For the GNB team, these changes mean they’ll be able to process multiple applications in multiple languages far faster than before. New members will experience a smoother, more effective and informative induction to the partnership.

“Smith&Brown were able to see the bigger picture, identifying key challenges and other factors outside of the project scope we needed to consider - such as how other teams were using tools we planned to update or replace. They always had an overview of where we were, and where we needed to get to. When the project became more complex than we originally anticipated they were very flexible, remained calm, and always came prepared with a plan for what we needed to do next, and why.”

Megan MacGarry, Member Engagement Manager, Girls Not Brides