Published: 2 December 2014

Digital transformation for the British Heart Foundation

The British Heart Foundation’s new 2020 strategy is boldly singular: fund more cutting edge medical research and eradicate heart disease once and for all. Its new digital platform has resulted in a transformation for BHF both inside and out.

The newly launched is a sophisticated digital platform designed to drive engagement, convert users into fundraisers and donors, and empower them with online tools to fundraise in an easier, more personal and more social way.

Dr Charmaine Griffiths, director of strategy and performance for the BHF said: “No part of our new strategy can be delivered without the new website. It’s the new virtual home of the BHF. From growing investment in life-saving research to helping even more people fight cardiovascular disease, we’re going to be bolder, braver and more focused to get the biggest impact from our work – and our new website will play a central role in this.”

With over 600,000 visits each month, the new website is mobile and tablet optimised, and includes extensive system integrations to automate processes and personalise content to make user journeys and transactions easier and more engaging.  

The four parts of the transformation

1. Users driving the user journey – not departments

The website’s old department-driven navigation and over-cluttered home page with competing calls to action is gone, and the content that remains now speaks directly to the individual visitor’s needs.

Because the new digital presence is built on the Sitecore CMS, it will be able to learn from user behaviour and in the future, use automatic personalisation to help visitors find what they’re looking for faster, based on factors like how they arrived on the site, the content they’ve viewed and how engaged they are.

2. Integrating all systems for a single customer view

The new digital platform is now the hub of the entire business.

This gives a complete view with real-time insights, of user interactions, making it easier to identify ways to further enhance and support visitors in activities like fundraising, finding heart health resources, and accessing support.

The system integration also cuts down on administrative costs and human error, as entire business processes can now be conducted and managed entirely online.

3. Defragmenting the digital experience – even on external sites

Not only can visitors and BHF members now access all services and heart health tools online, they can do it from any device and with one set of log-in credentials.

More than just responsive design, the new digital presence uses adaptive design to detect the user’s device type and serve up the correct content, functionality and layout to match.

Single sign-on has also been built in, connecting it to the BHF’s many external sites, allowing the user to move seamlessly between different sites and online communities with only one log-in and user account to manage.

4. Empowering and enabling people to do more and to raise more

The new 2020 strategy means fundraising for cutting edge medical research is now business critical for the BHF.

In order to ensure this is achieved, fundamental changes have been made to the online processes. The new focus is no longer based on data capture alone, but on recognising supporters’ motivations for donating in the first place. Equally, another big change has been elevating the social side of fundraising events. Now, rather than having to opt to sign-up to an event as an individual, anyone interested in participating in an event can register online, manage their account, search for teams to join or create and manage their own fundraising teams with ease.

Features like this will help take the fear out of fundraising and make as powerful as any major marketing campaign to get as many people as possible to join the fight against heart disease.

“Scalability is key to match our strategic ambition for growth, and we now have a platform that gives us the flexibility and tools to grow a digital-first approach within the organisation. The launch of is just the beginning of our digital journey. After launch we will continue working with our digital agency, Precedent, to deploy new features to the site, as testing with our visitors reveals new opportunities to improve what we do,” said Chris Thorn, head of digital.  

View the newly launched website.


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Lindsay Herbert, global head of digital, Precedent

Lindsay Herbert has been leading digitally transformative work for major businesses and organisations around the world for over 10 years. She is the Global Head of Digital for Precedent, and  acts as the agency’s global thought leader on digital innovation, speaking regularly at conferences and industry events worldwide. Passionate about the charity sector, Lindsay has had a personal hand in using digital to transform the likes of British Heart Foundation.