HT Hayashi Foundation

Redesigning a non-profit’s grant application process

UX/UI Design

The Challenge

HT Hayashi Foundation (HTHF) is a family foundation that focuses on providing grants to women, children and elderly causes. Proud of its innovative approach to giving, they revamped their philanthropic strategy and brand to align with a redefined mission that allowed for more grant giving.

However, there were several frustrations with their grant application process. Applying for a grant was not exactly intuitive, and it was difficult for HTHF’s Executive Director to keep track of the multitude of required documents.


Adding a dedicated online process on the website will help to streamline the grant giving process for both the grantee and the organization.

After initial discussions with the team, I was able to further define the challenge with the 5W1H framework:

5W1H Framework

What am I building? A redesigned website with an application form

Why am I building this?
Business Need: As HTHF, I want to let grantees have an easy experience and send in all the required documents.
User Need: As a user, I am looking for grant funding for my organization.

Who am I building it for? Internal: Executive Director, External: Non-profit leadership teams

When and where will it be used? Offices, work setting during business hours

How could I measure it? Conversion rates, task success rate, net promoter score

HTHF’s old site was clunky and hard to read. The site did not include clear instructions or a process to submit applications online.

The Solution


During key stakeholder and user interviews, we were able to identify a few pain points and desires:

After this research and going through the application process myself, I determined priortizing the following tasks would help the user the most:

  • Prepare the user about the grant application process before they actually apply by listing out steps in the process
  • List out required documents separately so the user can easily refer back to it


Information Architecture

When I mapped out the application form, I realized that there would probably be over 50 fields on the application form, which is a pretty large amount for this audience. So in order to give the user the illusion that the form was simple and not daunting, I divided the form into multiple parts and organized the fields by relevant sections.

Below is the basic flow of the grantee application process that demonstrates how the new online process makes it easier for both applicants and the client alike.


Because our audience were smaller non-profits, I prioritized layouts that were easy-to-read visually and contextually.

Our client loved art and museums and she aspired a really beautiful and kinda experimental site. Visually, I sought to create an visually aesthetic, warm, and intuitive design. Because HTHF’s audience and mission were mainly women and children, we brought in elements of femininity and playfulness in the form of softer fonts and bold shapes and colors. I designed 2 different homepage options that explored both of these themes.

Option 1 ended up going forward, and with a few tweaks I also applied this style to the subpages:

Even though the grant application process is strict, it doesn’t mean that applying for grants should be complicated. To facilitate grantee applicants, we sought to demystify the application process and break it down to just 4 digestible steps. We made clear what the process was—from helping applicants with writing a proposal to providing a checklist of required documents. This would ultimately improve task success rate of completing the form.


Internally, the new website helped to reduced the repetitive back and forth between HTHF and the grantee and the new process helped to better track each applicant.

Some additional features that we implemented after receiving user feedback:

  • Added a Save feature to allow users to return to their applications later
  • Configured conditional logic for New v. Returning grantees to help Returning grantees save time
  • Internally: refined the notification email to be more intuitive for the Executive Director

As HTHF receives more applications, we are continuously looking to improve on this process!