A matchmaking platform to connect nonprofit organizations with influencers and third-party sponsors to elevate meaningful causes and drive vital donations



May - July 2020


Responsive Website


Sprint Lead, Research, Product Strategy, UI Design


Hendy Irawan (Backend Dev), Romeo Radanyi (Solutions Architect), Rohit Jain  (Frontend Dev), Shelli Gorokhovsky (Data Scientist), Michelle Zyman (Data Scientist)


As an outcome of the current economic crisis, 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's AWS team launched the Raise-Up Buildathon challenging participants to use AWS technology to create new and sustainable ways for nonprofts to achieve their fundraising goals during this challenging time. This advanced technology allowed our team of six to re-think 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. In today's digital world, influencer marketing is becoming an increasingly beneficial strategy to reach new generations of donors on a global scale. The millennial population currently represents the largest segment of social media audiences; thus, leveraging the role of social media influencers as part of a nonprofits awareness strategy can play a vital role in the success of a campaign.


Unprecedented Economic Challenges Create Barriers for Nonprofit Organizations

When nonprofits and funding sources are not well matched, money doesn’t flow to the areas where it will do the greatest good. Influencer marketing is a rapidly growing approach to reach, connect with, and inspire action from the next generation of donors. 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.


How might we create a digital matchmaking tool for nonprofit organizations to reach coveted audiences and drive vital donations in an organic and captivating way?


Leveraging Optimized Social Popularity to Help Nonprofits Adapt to a Changing Landscape of Patron Engagement

Cloutvocate is an AWS-powered platform to help nonprofit organizations adapt to a changing landscape of patron and audience engagement. Cloutvocate is 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.


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Utilizing a Design Thinking Methodology to Tackle a Big Problem in a Short Period of Time

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Sprinting Our Way to Success

We decided the best way to move forward quickly and efficiently would be to follow Jake Knapp’s Sprint process - a design thinking framework to test new ideas in 5 days. This process gave us the confidence to take on a big problem while taking a shortcut through an endless debate cycle to compress weeks and months of time into a single week. It also helped us to focus on the most pressing questions, and also provided an opportunity for everyone to come together to solve not only their own part of the problem, but also be prepared to answer the others’ questions as well. 

We started this project with a design sprint to gather insights, prototype ideas and validate them quickly. It helps us reduce the risk of launching a new app since we can fast-forward into the future to see a version of the app and customer reactions, before making any expensive commitments. We broke the four-day sprint down to focus on understanding the problem, challenge, and goals on day one. We’d also take time to look for inspiration and brainstorm ideas. Day two would be all about deciding and defining our solution. Day three would be a busy day of building our solution and getting ready for user testing. And lastly, day four would be testing our solution, gathering feedback, and defining the next steps. (Source:



A Selection of Tools to Collaborate Easier & Design Faster

As part of my process I always enjoy testing out new tools for capturing insights as quickly and efficiently as possible. The selection of tools used for this project include the following:


Day 1

The foundation of a human-centered design process through observation, engagement, and immersion.


Starting With the End in Mind

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of ICU patients ask for items not indicated on the communication board

Hoorn, S. Ten, et al. “Communicating with Conscious and Mechanically Ventilated Critically Ill Patients: a Systematic Review.” Critical Care, vol. 20, no. 1, 19 Oct. 2016, doi:10.1186/s13054-016-1483-2.



of reported sentinel events in ICUs were caused by communication errors

Cheung, Karen M. “Whiteboards Key to Improved Communication.” HealthLeaders Media, 6 May 2010,



of ventilated patients reported a high level of frustration in communicating their needs

Happ, M. B., et al. “Nurse-Patient Communication Interactions in the Intensive Care Unit.” American Journal of Critical Care, vol. 20, no. 2, 2011, doi:10.4037/ajcc2011433.


$6.8 Billion

could be saved annually by reducing communication barriers that could lead to an adverse event.

Hurtig, Richard R., et al. “The Cost of Not Addressing the Communication Barriers Faced by Hospitalized Patients.” Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups, vol. 3, no. 12, Jan. 2018, pp. 99–112., doi:10.1044/persp3.sig12.99.


Collecting Information to Understand the Experience & Opportunities for Improvement    

Once I understood the problem space better, I used a questionnaire survey to dig deeper into three core areas of interest:

  1. assessing patients’ level of frustration with communication and their perception of communicating interventions used by health care practitioners;
  2. identifying patients’ perceived communication needs and what they perceived as barriers and facilitators to effective communication; and
  3. retrospectively evaluating the perceived helpfulness, use, and content of a communication board.

A total of 34 participants  comprised of 12 patients and 22 care providers with experience using medical communication boards were recruited via LinkedIn, SurveySwap, SurveyCircle, and various Reddit groups to participate in a 10 question survey. Four major themes were revealed:

  1. communication facilitation;
  2. comparison with other communication tools/devices;
  3. patient/device considerations; and
  4. modifications.

Participants identified the “easy” touch screen, free drawing, key phrases and the pain figure as features that facilitates timely and accurate communication. Several participants suggested that board customization in terms of adding or removing words and phrases would improve the product, along with



Conversations With Experts Provides Insights Towards a Solution

Prior to teaming up with Amanda, I used LinkedIn to reach out to personal contacts and various individuals my research pointed to as being key stakeholders and users of medical communication boards to set up interviews with via Zoom. My goal was to learn more about the experience of using medical communication boards from a care providers perspective. A total of three semi-structured interviews took place which revealed insights about different features they felt could be added or improved upon, various challenges and constraints each expert encounts in their field, as well as who the key competitors are in the market today.



Visual Insights Provide an Empathy-Driven Glimpse Into the Critical Care Experience

As Amanda and myself began to dive into the problem space, stories from her experience as an ICU nurse helped to paint a picture of the first-hand challenges care providers and patients experience that had not been revealed from the research. We decided to use a modified photo study to delve deeper into the qualitative significance of the issue surrounding communication practices in a critical care setting. While most of the images were captured by Amanda to document specific moments throughout her day, other images were gathered from Google to accurately depict issues that were not photographed due to the sensitive nature of the environment. This approach helped to capture insights that would otherwise be difficult to observe, and also helped to contextualize and acknowledge gaps between the research and what is represented in the photos.



Using Ratings & Reactions to Discover How People Feel About Existing Products

To illustrate the competitive landscape, we used G2's Competitive Matrix Grid as a tool to visualize how the products mentioned during the interview phase stack up in terms of functionality and desirability. AppFigures was used to retreive insights for each product based on AppStore feedback which was then plotted on the grid based on the total number of reviews (Market Presence) against the overall rating (Customer Satisfaction). Overall, each product received fairly positive ratings which showed us that people covet a digitized communication tool; however, there was room for improvement which was shown when we started to dig a bit deeper to read what users had to say. Patterns started to emerge, indicating both accessibility issues and technical barriers.



Evaluating the Competition to Gain Insights into How the Problem is Currently Being Approached

To round off research findings, a high-level competitive analysis was carried out to evaluate products indicated during the interview phase as common tools used in clinical settings today. This helped us recognize which features are standard across a range of products, where new features are beginning to enter the market (such as head and eye tracking), and to also reveal gaps and opportunities we could possibly tap into in an effort to stand out in an already competitive marketspace.



Empathy findings are unpacked and synthesized into compelling needs and insights.


Drawing Connections & Organizing Information to Develop Deeper Insights

From analysis to synthesis


Putting a Face on 'Who' the Product is Being Designed For

To get aligned about who the product is for, we decided to personify a primary, secondary, and tertiery stakeholder into three personas. 



A focus on idea generation and how people might navigate the product.


Visualizing Ideas & Inspiration to Shape the Artistic Direction of the Product

Mood boards are one of my favorite contributions to the design process. They allow us to communicate the pictures we have in our minds, transfer the right mood, and bring the emotions expected from a product to life. When considering the target audience for this product, our goal was to create a design that feels friendly, evokes feelings of trust and tranquility, while placing value on simplicity and accessibility.



Building quickly to think and learn.


Bringing Ideas to Life: Translating Concepts into Tangible Prototypes

The next step in the process was translating the Brand Concept into something tangible.



A chance to refine and improve the solution.