Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation

Combating Cancer One Contribution at a Time

Industry Healthcare Charity
A phone with the donate screen
A phone with the signup for newsletter screen


The challenge

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre is a place where history is written. Since 1952, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre has been the home of groundbreaking research that redefines the way we understand and treat cancers.

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre relies heavily on donor funding, and this fundraising is managed by The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation (The PMCF). The PMCF website acts as a critical hub for information to inspire donors and facilitate online donations. But with so many stories to tell, their website had gradually grown into a disorienting, hard-to-navigate sprawl of content. As a result, donors weren’t able to find the info they wanted, resulting in high bounce rates and a lower percentage of online giving.

The PMCF came to Apply Digital in search of a content strategy, CMS validation, and website redesign that would bring clarity to their messaging, reduce bounce rates, improve engagement, and increase donations. Cancer is an issue that touches everyone, and our team is no exception. We were thrilled to create a website built to tell the next chapter of this exceptional story.


Crafting a narrative

We started by sorting through a massive body of website content. To determine which information to keep, we challenged each piece to earn its keep. Content needed to be concise, written for the digital platform, bring personal and inspiring stories to life, give real-world context to research, and meet the marketing and donor stewardship strategies recently launched by The PMCF. We developed donor personas, spoke with stakeholders, and challenged pre-existing content categorization and navigation. We rejected bulky organizational reports, legacy style copy, and content that represented internal interests over donor needs.

We emerged with clearly delineated content focuses informed by persona-based user journey maps. These selections were made based on the principle that certain types of content would build confidence with specific segments of donors. Putting the most compelling reasons to donate to The PMCF center stage, we simplified navigation and introduced customizable templates to highlight the stories that mattered.

Framing the story

The PMCF’s story is, at its core, all about people and their communities. With this in mind, we developed a design framework with a friendly, editorial, and accessible feel. To bring unity to The PMCF brand across every aspect of the website and a third-party donation processing portal, we curated a more continuous presentation of branded color and graphic themes, and enhanced these with new complementary color schemes and gradients.

To provide a frame for The PMCF’s evolving story moving forward, we created a collateral library of templates and components designed for effective digital storytelling for use on Kentico, a CMS platform. As a way to bring these elements to life for The PMCF, we presented them on Zeroheight, an interactive online document that will remain in place as a style guide moving forward. Finally, we optimized these templates for presentation on both mobile and desktop devices.

Behind the scenes

Our technology team started its work updating the existing Kentico CMS and transforming it into a more modern framework. Using an agile approach, we focused on creating a solid backend that could support the refreshed UX/UI, and act as an effective, easy-to-use repository for a large collection of newly introduced templates and components. We also updated and tailored The PMCF’s donation platform, Raisin, with a focus on improving brand parity and adding trust to the payment and check-out process.

Kentico was going through a period of transition alongside The PMCF website redesign, moving from a Portal Engine framework to a new MVC-based framework. Our technology team began with Kentico 12 but then upgraded the website once Kentico 13 was released due to the benefits of its most up-to-date feature set. This gave The PMCF a state-of-the-art Kentico CMS platform, ensuring the final product has a long service life.

A story of hope for everyone

With cancer impacting the lives of millions of Canadians and Americans annually, Apply’s team knows firsthand the devastation of a diagnosis and the hope that comes with successful treatment. Driven by excellence at all times, our team donated 7000+ hours of pro-bono work beyond the project scope to ensure that The PMCF’s new website continues to foster growth and understanding in the impact of donor dollars on cancer research and care.


With the launch of this revitalized website in January 2021, The PMCF kicks off a new chapter in its story. Remarkable improvements to structure and navigation set this site up for improved engagement, reduced bounce rates, and increased donations in the months and years to come. Copy designed for the digital medium ensures improved SEO and more site visitors going forward. The PMCF is ready to continue their story of excellence, rewrite the story of cancer research and treatment, and grow stronger connections with donors and the wider community.

“This website redesign has helped us refine, reframe, and focus our story in a way that connects authentically with our donors. We’re confident it will serve us as our story continues on, and support us in our mission to improve the lives of cancer patients across Canada and around the world.”

— Alyssa Huggins | VP Brand & Integrated Marketing