Cloutvocate

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

Award-Banner-Cloutvocate

TIMELINE

May - July 2020

PLATFORM

Web Application

ROLES

Sprint Lead, Research, Product Strategy, UI Design

TEAM

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

OVERVIEW

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.

THE PROBLEM

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. 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.

DESIGN CHALLENGE

How might we design a product using AWS technology to help nonprofit organizations reach, connect with, and inspire action from the right audiences to provide long-term sustainability?

THE SOLUTION

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

Using Devpost, each of us connected based on our unique backgrounds and skill sets to form a small and autonomous team of six dedicated students and professionals from around the world. 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.

In my role, I led the Design Sprint to kick off the project at the start of the challenge. I was also responsible for creating the user interface and user experience. This included the site map, wireframes and user testing. Further to this, I created the visual identity for Cloutvocate where I designed the illustrations and selected the grid system, typography, and color palette used. 

Team-Map

PROJECT SCOPE & TIMELINE

Using a Design Sprint to Tackle a Big Problem in a Short Period of Time

Since time was one of the biggest constraints we were faced with, we decided to create a project scope and timeline at the start of the buildathon to ensure the time spent on the project was both efficient and meaningful. This kept the team aware of everything that needed to be done, and when, in order to meet the deadline.

DESIGN PROCESS FRAMEWORK

All the Key Ingredients to Sprint Our Way to Success

In order to move forward quickly and efficiently, we decided to use a Design Sprint to help us land on an MVP concept 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.

TOOLKIT

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 seamless developer hand-off. Miro acted as our primary "whiteboard" throughout the challenge – the shared brain of the team – which helped everyone stay focused, keep our workflow organized, and make better decisions, faster. The tools used throughout this project include the following:

Toolkit
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Day 1: Map

LONG-TERM GOAL

Setting the Stage by Starting at the End & Identifying a Long-Term Goal

At the start of the event we participated in an online conference hosted by the AWS team 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?

User Engagement The percentage of daily engaged users that are browsing content in the app

WHAT ARE OUR BIGGEST BARRIERS?

A poor user experience results in terrible app ratings, and our users don't want to use it.

WHAT ARE OUR HIGH-RISK ASSUMPTIONS?

User Engagement The percentage of daily engaged users that are browsing content in the app

THE GOAL

Build a sustainable product to ensure the 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.

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NOTE-N-MAP

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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.

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Sketch

LIGHTNING DEMOS

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CRAZY 8 SKETCHES

Sketching Competing Solutions

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Ideate

Decide

ART MUSEUM & HEAT MAP VOTING

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USER FLOW DIAGRAM

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User-Flow

ARCHITECTURE DIAGRAM

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Architecture

STORYBOARD

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Prototype

Prototype

HIGH-FIDELITY PROTOTYPE

Bringing Ideas to Life: Translating Concepts into Tangible Prototypes

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HIGH-FIDELITY PROTOTYPE

Bringing Ideas to Life: Translating Concepts into Tangible Prototypes

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Test

Test

MISSION TEST

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REVISED PROTOTYPE

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Conclusion

KEY FEATURES

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OUTCOME

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.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

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.