Online donations are they way to go for our new client Durham University.

Online donations are they way to go for our new client Durham University. Archive

The Tomorrow's Yesterdays website was a collaboration between Durham University and Urban Element's designers Jonathan and Mark, and Developers Andrew and Witek.

Durham University wanted a modern way to help raise £500,000 in donations from their alumni in order to develop their Palace Green Library (part of Durham’s World Heritage Site) into world-class exhibition space. One of the approaches was through the Chancellor's Appeal, a campaign which runs every year. The website was designed to complement the traditional appraches of mailing alumni and calling them in the telephone campaign.

Durham approached Urban Element for help with this project after Linda Morrison, the Annual Giving Manager, attended a discussion held by Kary Kelly, a fundraiser from Oxford College's Lady Margaret Hall. She had previously worked with Urban Element on their Click4Bricks website which aimed to raise money to help build accommodation at the college. Linda was so impressed by the concept and the quality of the site that she waited for an opportunity in which she could use the concept and decided that the Tomorrow’s Yesterdays project was ideal.

The Concept

After meeting with the team at Urban Element, the representatives were convinced that this form of online donations were a good, light hearted way of raising funds. It was also a good way to appeal to their younger alumni, and was intended as an experiment for future fundraising drives. They asked the team to produce the concept for the website which required our range of consultancy, design and technical skills, although the branding of Tomorrow's Yesterdays was one which was produced by the University itself. The idea for the name came from University Librarian Jon Purcell, who had written an article for the alumni magazine, using the phrase 'Tomorrow's Yesterdays'. The University decided that this perfectly encapsulated the purpose of the campaign and the name stuck.


This project presented a number of new challenges to the Design team at Urban Element. The skills and expertise needed meant that they had to work very closely with our developers in order to integrate the flash development, action scripts and payment methods needed with the concept and design produced by Urban Element. While this produced a great technical challenge, Mark described one of the biggest challenges as being the long distance relationship: "Normally when working on a project we are able to meet with the client and visit their place of work in order to get a real feel for their environment and what they do which we can incorporate in to the design. In this instance we were unable to visit the University and so all communication had to be carried out via email and phone calls."


Alongside the website, Durham University have also sent out two mail shots to their alumni and will be holding a telephone campaign over a 12 week period which will direct alumni to the website. They have been so pleased with the results of the site, which has so far raised £4,200 through donations and gift aid, that later this month Jon Ellard will be returning to speak to members of other departments at the University as to how Urban Element can help them with similar projects.

Jon Ellard
- Director

A results driven, self-motivated and resourceful director with a proven ability to develop and strengthen client relationships. With 14 years marketing experience Jon’s main focus is to ensure clients receive return on investment from their online investment. Jon has excellent people skills and possesses the valuable ability to explain technically-complex subjects and make them comprehensible.


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