Make-A-Wish Increasing impact of wishes through UX & Service design

  • Research
  • Design

Digital Innovation

Project Overview

  • Client

  • Industry

    Non Profit

Make-A-Wish partnered with Highland to map the experiences of wish kids and their families. Then, they invited us to create a mobile app experience to help facilitate wish journeys that build resilience and agency in wish kids. Finally, they asked us to create a digital strategy help all 64 chapters use better digital tools to bring their mission to life.

Client Challenge

Make-A-Wish wanted to create a bigger impact for wish kids, but the 35-year-old organization felt stuck. In order to grant more life-changing wishes for critically ill children and their families, they knew something needed to change. They wanted to deliver more impactful wishes than ever before, and knew they need to deeply engage Make-A-Wish staff in order to do it.

“The customer journey mapping process gave us ability to visually see the work that we do and to validate the things that we know, believe, or assume to be true. The ability to take a step back and look at where we do well and where we have room for improvement was invaluable and re-energizing.”

- Dina Thatchet, Referral Outreach Manager at Make-A-Wish Illinois

Our Approach


We worked with our local Make-A-Wish chapter to map the wish family experience. In just six weeks, we led chapter staff through a series of interactive in-person workshops, stakeholder interviews, and a group mapping exercise.

Design & Prototyping

Through our journey mapping work, we discovered that wish families often had many points of contact with the volunteers and staff who were working on their wish, this included emails, phone calls, texts, and Facebook messages. We created a speculative design for a Make-A-Wish application that would streamline communication for wish families, giving them one less thing to worry about.

Digital Strategy

Using our wish kid journey as a starting place, we created a digital strategy for the entire Make-A-Wish organization. We interviewed staff across the country to better understand the challenges and limitations of their current digital infrastructure. We mapped how each tool played a part in delivering an impactful wish experiences, and shared recommendations for improvements.

“They’re genuine. I’ve worked with many IT consultants where that isn’t the case. They’re experts in their field, and the entire team is professional.”

- Bipin Jayaraj, CIO at Make-A-Wish Foundation of America


A lasting partnership

Make-A-Wish plans to continue working with Highland to build on our digital strategy recommendations. We're excited to help them continue to further their mission of transforming lives one wish at a time.

  • 40+

    hours of interviews conducted
  • 3

    years working together

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