A matchmaking platform to connect nonprofit organizations with influencers and sponsors to elevate meaningful causes and drive vital donations
Unprecedented Economic Challenges Create Barriers for Nonprofit Organizations
As an outcome of the global pandemic, nonprofit organizations have been presented with unprecedented challenges in generating the vital donations they need to ensure their survival. Social distancing practices have forced nonprofits to reinvent their modes of awareness and fundraising efforts in order to reach new audiences and to drive the critical donations needed to operate and grow.
To inspire action, Amazon launched the Raise-Up Buildathon challenging participants to use AWS technology to create new and sustainable ways for nonprofits to achieve their fundraising goals during this challenging time. This advanced technology allowed our team of six to rethink the traditional practice of brand and influencer collaborations to now offer an innovative platform designed to “give back” in a way that provides value for all parties involved.
When Nonprofits & Funding Sources Are Not Aligned, Money Doesn't Flow to the Areas Where it Will do the Greatest Good
In today's digital world, influencer marketing is becoming an increasingly beneficial strategy to reach new generations of donors on a global scale. However, the process of building the right partnership is both arduous and time consuming. Representatives of nonprofit organizations are often required to manually look for influencers and sponsorship partners -- a process that may lead to rejection emails or no response at all. Further to this, nonprofits also face challenges when searching for influencers who appeal to niche audiences, making it difficult to target calls to action at the right audience for the cause.
How might we design a product to help nonprofit organizations reach, connect with, and inspire action from the right audiences to provide long-term sustainability?
Leveraging Optimized Social Popularity to Help Nonprofits Adapt to a Changing Landscape of Patron Engagement
Cloutvocate is an AWS-powered platform designed for nonprofit organizations to connect with the right partners to augment campaign awareness and drive vital donations. This advanced technology has allowed us to re-think how nonprofit organizations can be matched with partners in a way that provides value for all parties involved. Recognizing where friction exists in the current nonprofit-influencer business model, our team has created a platform that integrates a corporate sponsorship component to funnel more revenue into a nonprofit’s cause, incentivize influencers, and align corporations with well-matched social causes and coveted audiences.
ROLE & RESPONSIBILITIES
Uniting Skill Sets From Across the Globe to Solve a Complex Problem
Our team consisted of a backend developer (Hendy), front end developer (Rohit), two data scientists (Michelle and Shelli), a solutions architect (Romeo), and myself as the team lead and UI/UX designer. More specifically, my role and responsibilities included the following:
PROJECT SCOPE & TIMELINE
Defining Key Tasks to Deliver a Winning Solution
Since time was the biggest constraint we were faced with, we created a project scope and timeline at the start of the challenge to ensure the time spent on the project was both efficient and effective. This kept the team aware of everything that needed to be done, and when, in order to meet the deadline.
DESIGN PROCESS FRAMEWORK
Using a Design Sprint to Tackle a Big Problem in a Short Period of Time
Beind at the precipice of something new, we decided to use a Design Sprint to help us identify a promising solution within the first week of the challenge. It was important that everyone within our cross-functional team was able to contribute equally – sharing information and sketching ideas, each solving their own part of the problem, each ready to answer the others' questions – while also being certain that the development requirements were manageable within the timeframe allotted.
Building the Right Experience Begins with the Right Tools
The tools used for this challenge were selected based on services offered by Amazon, products that could support teams working remotely, as well as the best option for sound developer hand-off. Miro acted as our primary "whiteboard" which allowed for simultaneous visibility of each step in the design sprint and workflow organization. Additional tools used include the following:
Day 1: Map
Setting the Stage by Starting at the End & Identifying a Long-Term Goal
At the start of the event, the AWS team hosted a keynote presentation where they discussed various challenges nonprofit organizations currently face, as well as opportunities to utilize AWS services to alleviate these pain points. We used these insights to identify a long-term goal which acted as our compass throughout the week, and also helped strengthen team performance, improve feedback, and keep everyone focused on the task at hand.
HOW WILL WE MEASURE SUCCESS?
Are users and customers engaging with the product as expected? Are people happy when they use the service? Are visitors becoming donors and patrons via the app?
WHAT ARE OUR BIGGEST BARRIERS?
A poor user experience results in terrible app ratings leading to user engagement drop off and loss of donor and patron retention.
WHAT ARE OUR HIGH-RISK ASSUMPTIONS?
Donations are the only source of funding for nonprofits. People are less interested in donating via a third-party service and prefer to go direct.
Build a sustainable product to ensure the long-term survival of nonprofits and cultural institutions.
HMW AFFINITY DIAGRAM
Mapping HMW Questions & Identifying a Problem Area to Focus On
The next step focused on rephrasing each problem into “How Might We” questions where team members took turns voting on ones they felt offered potential for a viable solution, and also ones they felt could be developed within the timeframe allotted. These were then organized into an Affinity Diagram to help us prioritize questions based on common themes and recalibrate our focus once again.
The final step was the note-n-map strategy which helped us define who the target user might be, identify the beginning of the story, and the goal it is we are trying to reach.
CRAZY 8 SKETCHES
Sketching Competing Solutions
ART MUSEUM & HEAT MAP VOTING
USER FLOW DIAGRAM
Bringing Ideas to Life: Translating Concepts into Tangible Prototypes
Bringing Ideas to Life: Translating Concepts into Tangible Prototypes
An Outstanding Team & Design Sprint Framework Led Us To A Winning Solution
When the day came that we received the email notifying us that we had been selected as winners of the buildathon, I was beyond thrilled knowing how hard everyone worked to make a successful outcome possible. In total there were 828 participants enrolled in the buildathon and 74 projects submitted for consideration. We ended up winning the main prize under the "Best in Non-Profit Fundraising" category.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
With the right team in place, unexpected solutions will appear. The design sprint is a process that relies on the people, knowledge, and tools that every team already has.