About Empty Stocking Club
The Empty Stocking Club is the charitable arm of the Wisconsin State Journal. They provide new toys to children in need in the Dane County and surrounding areas each year at Christmas. Their sole mission is to ensure every child has a toy for the holiday season.
The Empty Stocking Club started in 1918, when the wives of Wisconsin State Journal reporters would collect old toys, fix them up, paint them, and distribute them from the newspaper office to families in need. More than 100 years later, it is an annual event that serves thousands of families and children each year.
Parents and guardians register their children (ages 0-16) each year, and then come to the two-day Toy Depot event at the Alliant Energy Center in December, where volunteers help them shop from a huge selection of age-appropriate toys to find something perfect for each of their children. In 2020, Empty Stocking Club partnered with Madison Reading Project to add distribution of books to the annual Toy Depot event, allowing each child to now receive one book and one toy.
Solely by the numbers, the event’s impact on our local community is clear. In 2021, approximately 7,000 children from 3,000 families received a toy, a record 600 volunteers registered to help at the Toy Depot event, and more than 3,000 people and organizations nationwide donated almost $350,000 toward the purchase of toys.
With most of their outreach and communication previously done via Facebook, Empty Stocking Club needed a website that would allow them to communicate more effectively with their three main audiences: Individuals and families applying to receive toys, volunteers interested in giving their time to distribute the toys, and donors supporting the purchase of toys. While they had a web presence, it was very minimal, serving largely as a launching point for a few key links.
The previous website for Empty Stocking Club was largely a launching point for a few key links.
After choosing the Webflow website design and content management platform for our build, we started with an information architecture laser-focused on those main goals, with landing pages dedicated to applying for a toy, volunteering, and learning more about the Toy Depot. For those wishing to support Empty Stocking Club, we offered easily accessible links to donate integrated throughout the site, including in the main nav and footer.
Now, filled with step-by-step how-tos and context-specific FAQs, the website serves as a dependable first stop for information and links to resources for each audience, presented via a warm, friendly, and modern look and offering a responsive experience across devices.
Lynn Wood, Executive Director of Empty Stocking Club, described the anticipated impact of the new website on their efforts:
“With this beautiful and content-rich site, we will be better able to deliver on our mission of getting toys to children in need in our community at Christmas. Our outreach to the generous donors who support the purchase of toys, the volunteers who give their time to distribute the toys, and the individuals and families who will benefit from the effort will be exponentially better.”
The new Empty Stocking Club website will give families, volunteers, and donors the information they need about the annual Toy Depot event.
Since 2019, Acumium has done an annual social good hackathon called HackingKindness, where we volunteer our design, development, and digital marketing time to organizations who are trying to do good in the world. Previous recipients include Mikayla’s Grace (2019), Foundation for Dane County Parks (2020), and the Friends of San Damiano (2021).
Staying active and involved in our community, and giving back where we can, is important to us at Acumium. And it makes us feel great to see the results when we give our time and expertise in this way.
“We could not be more appreciative and impressed with the work Acumium did to help Empty Stocking Club establish a real website,” said Lynn Wood. “We were blown away when they told us we were recipients of their HackingKindness efforts—such a generous offer….We are grateful and humbled by this amazing gift!”
We accept HackingKindness nominations year-round and are actively looking for our next recipient. Do you know a local business or non-profit that does good within our community and needs help with website design, development, branding, creative design, or digital marketing? Submit a nomination today!