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Making the great outdoors a Daley habit. A Deedub success story

"Seriously, what would we have done without Deedub Inc.?! I am very proud to be associated with the website & digital strategy you have created for us. I can only imagine how much effort & patience it takes to create a final product that works so smoothly."

Jim Schafer
Board Member, Friends of Daley Ranch

We may be a consultancy that speaks fluent digital, but truth be told, we prefer the “real world,” and we absolutely love nature and the environment. That’s why we jumped at the opportunity to work with the Friends of Daley Ranch.

If you run a non-profit, environmental, or cause-related organization or movement, this user experience success story is a must read:

Short on time? Skip to the results, or experience daleyranch.org for yourself.

Preserving the “Jewel of Escondido”

Daley Ranch is a stunning and historic 3,150 acre city park and preserve located in Escondido, California, just about 30 miles north of San Diego. Sometimes referred to as the “Jewel of Escondido,” the land was “discovered” in 1868 by an English immigrant named Robert Daley. Over the years, he acquired more and more contiguous property and developed it into a working dairy ranch.

By the 1980s, economic forces caused the dairy to close, and a plan was devised to develop the property with over 3,000 homes. Fortunately, in 1997, the Escondido City Council made the wise choice to purchase the land, thus preserving it in perpetuity as scenic open space.

A 501(c)3 non-profit called The Friends of Daley Ranch was also established in 1997 to work with the City of Escondido towards the goal of protecting, maintaining, and restoring the open space and facilities at Daley Ranch. The Friends also work to educate the community as to the biological and historical significance of the preserve.

A grant leads to great things

In early 2013, the Friends of Daley Ranch received a generous grant from the Escondido Charitable Foundation. The goal of the grant was two-fold:

  1. Fund an educational program that would allow every seventh grade student in Escondido’s public schools to experience Daley Ranch during a day-long field trip.
  2. Create a new website offering resources in support of the field trip program, and general information about Daley Ranch for the benefit of the entire community.

On the digital front, the Friends were already fortunate enough to have a hard-working volunteer webmaster who kept their old site up to date.

However, that website was a bit outdated in terms of design and technology. They needed help crafting a more intuitive new site that was mobile-friendly, in addition to a comprehensive content strategy to strengthen their digital efforts.

As you probably guessed, that’s where Deedub came into play.

But there was a problem: The needs of the Friends required more than a cookie-cutter, cheap web solution. A fully-custom website redesign driven by research and strategy was ideal, yet the budget didn’t quite allow for it.

As a result, we devised a unique funding proposal: One third of the budget would come from the Escondido Charitable Foundation grant, one third from existing Friends of Daley Ranch funds, and the gap would be closed by Deedub Inc. contributing the final third of the project value via pro bono hours worked on the project.

The Friends agreed, and the project was underway.

Pixels and plants, together in harmony

In April 2013, Deedub launched daleyranch.org on-time and on-budget, and the results are nothing short of amazing:

  • Creative Direction
    Our design work for the Friends of Daley Ranch went far beyond custom website concepts. We also created a logo, and specified a versatile palette of common fonts, colors, and textures that could be reused by the Friends on future marketing collateral. Our efforts gave the new website an inviting and earthy aesthetic, and gave the Friends the professional appearance they deserved.
  • Content Strategy & Development
    Our research uncovered a strong affinity for Daley Ranch amongst community members. We tapped into that sentiment by developing a content strategy and navigation structure centered around a theme of “love.” Website visitors are greeted by giant buttons inviting them to “fall in love” or “show their love” for Daley Ranch, and the website has garnered praise for its ease of use.
  • Social Media
    The Friends’ Facebook efforts were being undermined by the fact that multiple place pages existed for Daley Ranch. We helped them to claim and merge these pages with their own. Today, the centralized Facebook page for Daley Ranch is a vibrant hub featuring announcements about upcoming hikes and rave reviews from visitors.
  • Email Marketing
    Having previously produced a 100% printed newsletter, the Friends needed to make the environmentally-friendly leap of moving more recipients to digital delivery by email. We helped them with this process by building forms into the website that automatically add new subscribers to a centrally-managed list inside MailChimp.
  • Responsive Design
    The new site is 100% responsive, meaning it “shapeshifts” and offers full-featured content and functionality on any size screen or device — an imperative considering the number of outdoor enthusiasts who might want to access the site from their smartphones while out on the Ranch.
  • PayPal Integration
    Previously, the Friends only accepted donations through mail-in forms. We brought them into the digital age via an online donation form and PayPal integration. We also went the extra mile by creating intelligent email notifications that immediately thank the donor and notify the Friends as soon as a donation is submitted. As you’d imagine, having a customized online giving solution built right into the Friends’ website has led to a significant increase in yearly donation totals.
  • Training & Empowerment
    Thanks to our one-on-one training, and the simplicity of the WordPress content management system, the Friends’ volunteer webmaster is able to continue his work and keep the website updated more easily than ever before. They are now 100% self-sufficient at maintaining their site — no costly hourly maintenance charges or retainers to worry about.

We’re incredibly proud of what we were able to accomplish working with the Friends of Daley Ranch, and we think you’ll be impressed by it, too:

Screenshots of daleyranch.org displayed on both a MacBook Air and an iPhone.

Experience daleyranch.org