Published: 16th January 2020

On your bike: increasing support for Sustrans

How we made a website that works harder for Britain's sustainable transport charity.

Tim Jones
Tim Jones - Founder & Director

Walking and cycling charity Sustrans has a bold ambition: to create a society in which the way we travel makes us all healthier and happier. 

They’re custodians of the National Cycle Network and, in partnership with policy-makers and sector experts, have helped the country to make millions of journeys more sustainably. 
Despite these impressive results, their website was not doing enough to persuade potential allies to support their work. 
Analytics data showed that only a tiny fraction of the people engaging with content on their site were choosing to make donations so Sustrans wanted the site to work harder.
True were asked to create a new digital presence that would improve the authority of the Sustrans brand and, ultimately, increase the number of donations they received through the website. 

Strategic direction

Our user-testing revealed why the website was not driving donations at volume. 

Visitors found the navigation was confusing and that much of the language and content was too inward-focussed and difficult to relate to. 
With so much of their work taking place behind-the-scenes - shaping policy, engaging local communities, building partnerships - their core proposition was getting lost. 
Even keen cyclists and potential supporters of the charity were struggling to understand exactly what Sustrans did and the value it added to their lives. 
The strategic imperative for increasing donations was therefore simple: to design user journeys that make it clear to all audiences how and who Sustrans help.

Creative solution

We brought this to life through some clever design solutions. 
A new, streamlined Information Architecture and navigation made it easier for different stakeholders to find the information that showed Sustrans’ value to them. 
A revamped and more prominent ‘About Us’ section provided a sharper focus on Sustrans’ bold vision and values, making it easier for supporters to build an emotional connection with their work.
Impressive statistics were brought to the fore, helping website visitors understand how their donations were translated into tangible outcomes, like additional miles of cyclepath or school-runs taking place on foot rather than car. 
The cycle route pages - some of the most-visited on the site - were made to work much harder, too. 
A subtle call-to-action now prompts users to donate as they research a stretch of the National Cycle Network, encouraging visitors to support Sustrans right at the moment that they’re most receptive to that message. 
And this was all built with umbraco using a simple, modular design that made the project cost-effective and easy for the team at Sustrans to update in the future. 


Analytics data shows the site is delivering more value for Sustrans by converting far more prospects into donors.
Visitors arriving on the site from organic search are more than twice as likely to make donations than they were on the old site. 
Across all search, social and advertising traffic, transactions have increased by 50%, bringing in 20% more revenue compared to the same period in the previous year.   
That extra revenue means Sustrans can spend more time doing what they do best - making walking and cycling easier and safer for everyone.

“The website is what we hoped for and has had very positive feedback from our stakeholders. A big thank you to the whole team at True and especially to Emma who has been fantastic to work with.”

Eva Ferguson, Website Manager Sustrans
Tim Jones
Tim Jones - Founder & Director