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Austin Bousley, art director
Amanda Caldari, writer
Jim Bizier, creative director
Gabe Flavin, interactive creative director
Tom Kelly, executive creative director
Doug Gladstone, chief creative officer
Antonis Kam, developer
Matt Kalinowski, photographer
Steven R. Lord, music
Stephanie Taubin, producer
Andrew Massouh, project manager
Brand Content, project design and development/ad agency
Birthday Wishes, client

Launch Site

“An effective call to action doesn’t have to be fancy. It just needs to be engaging and persuasive, like this.” —Ana Serrano

“A pretty simple interaction, but it demonstrates how easy it is to support and donate. Who wouldn’t want to put a smile on a kid’s face?” —Kris Kiger

Overview: Birthday Wishes is a nonprofit that throws birthday parties for homeless kids. It doesn’t take a lot of money to provide a little something to make a party special. Brand Content wanted to create a way for anyone to give, at any amount—proving that a little can go a long way. Build-a-Birthday is a grassroots online fundraising tool that lets people participate however they can, donating anything from a $2 balloon to a $10 piñata, or even an entire birthday bash. By seeing exactly what their donation provides, whether that’s candles, gifts or juice boxes, people understand that every bit counts.

• The main goal in building the site was a simple, fast user experience that was fun to use and easy to share.
• Animations and effects make the act of donating a rewarding, interactive experience.
• Videos set the tone and give users an overview of the cause.

Comments by Austin Bousley, Amanda Caldari and Gabe Flavin:
What was the thinking behind the navigation structure? “The removal of any type of traditional navigation makes the experience linear. We wanted the navigation to tell a story, starting with a video of the charity’s mission. Then, the same child shown in the video is seen sitting alone at a table. As users begin to click on different hand-drawn party supplies, the scene starts to fill in and come to life. The final piece is a ‘thank you,’ as the child makes a wish and the user is encouraged to share the experience with others.”

What was the most challenging aspect of the project? “Birthday Wishes isn’t trying to end poverty or world hunger. They have a simple and attainable mission: give homeless kids the joy and normalcy of a birthday party. We had to get people to understand that their donation can make this happen, so the creative had to do more than simply tug at the heartstrings. We needed to help people visualize exactly what their donation, however big or small, could mean. A $20 donation becomes a lot more powerful when it represents a birthday cake for a child who has never had one.”


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