We noticed that nonprofit organizations are facing challenges such as finding new donors, lack of resources and donor retention, hence we came up with the idea of creating a platform that includes customizable templates and frameworks. This can help nonprofit organizations to tell great stories to attract new donors, help donors to visualize the impact they made by donation, and build sustainable relationships between nonprofit organizations and donors.
After conducting phone interview with Andrew, founding president of Homeless Entrepreneur, we noticed the real problem gap was lack of access to resources or knowing availability of resources (i.e. platform to find donors). Existing donation websites do not encourage donors to interact among themselves and with NGOs, and there is not a single page or platform for donors.
In the light of this, we aim to create a community building platform, which encourages donors to discuss and interact among themselves and with NGOs. It will create brand new experiences for donors to interact with like-minded individuals with same interests, values, goals, and causes. This platform also facilitates data analytics of charity's image and impact in the eyes of donors, donors' concerns and behaviors. This in turn will help charities to understand the key issues to work on and make more effective fundraising campaigns.
What does it do
Craig's Donor - the platform builds an active donor user base by implementing a community building component, including achievements, friends, news feed, groups, messages which encourages users to discuss and interact among themselves. This platform will add value to both the donors and charities by allowing charities to understand trends of same cause. They can also relate to concerns and motivations of donors. These are the key components in building effective fund raising campaigns. On the other hand, donors meet individuals with same interest, make new connections to work together and create a positive impact on the society. This platform is integrated with Amazon pay by which donors can easily donate to charities .With the help of Alexa they can identify the most relevant charity about the cause they are concerned with and the biggest impact they can make.
How we built it
Our application is built in react using ionic framework. We used AWS Amplify service for federation login. AWS Lex along with Kommunicate.io for interactive chat.
Alexa skill is built using Alexa sdk core and node.js as one more way for donors to interact with us. The application is containerized as docker image and deployed in AWS leveraging AWS ECS Service.
Making donation is supported by Amazon Pay.
For payment we choose to integrate with Amazon Pay. AWS team helped us in providing test account and necessary amazon pay integration snippet. We integrated Amazon Pay and tested transactions by donating amount to charities. As transactions are made, confirmation mail to sent to sellers inbox. In this process we created our own domain and issued certificate with Amazon Certificate Manager. We created an ALB and imported the created ACM Certificate for https connectivity. This helped us to make our site and pay secure. In summary, Amazon Pay integration was simple and seamless experience. Thanks to AWS!!
APIs are used for data analytics, including lambda, dynamoDb and S3. These APIs are called using API invocation from API Gateway
We dockerized our application and deployed it in AWS using AWS ECS Service.
Challenges we ran into
We did run into our fair share of challenges. It was a challenge to get Amazon Pay working and we truly appreciate the help from AWS Solution Architects.
We also learnt that our original idea of using AWS ECS Fargate won’t work as it did not support Elastic IPs, we changed our deployment to ECS with Application Load Balancer.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are extremely proud of what we have achieved in this short time span. We are a diverse team in different time zones spread across 4 continents. Yet the common goal to help non-profits in these tough times, brought us together.
We successfully created our application and also deployed it as a container in AWS. We leveraged variety of AWS services including Amplify, Lex and Alexa to give a seamless user experience.
What we learned
We have learnt the pain-points of donors and charities, which are even more prevalent in today’s time of crisis and uncertainty faced by the world
We have learnt to take an idea, develop into an application and deploy it in AWS with the latest technologies. This project can’t be done without the efforts and collaboration from a team with such diverse backgrounds in technical skills.
What's next for Craig's Donor
1. Community and discussion threads
We would like to create a messaging platform for current and new donors to share their experience and foster a community. With this feature, donors can make connections and build communities with similar values, interests and beliefs.
2. Social media
We would like to give donors an option to share their donation details and tag the charities on social media, such as Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram. Also, we are planning to enhance Alexa skill, so that the donors can use it to give the donations.
3. Data analytics
We would like to recruit a team of data scientists to work on the donors' behavioral analysis, and find out the key factors that influence donation decisions. This information would help charities to better understand their audience and build effective fundraising campaigns.
4. Charities page
One of our future plans is to add on to the current charities page and allow charities to build fundraising pages via our chatbot. So by answering several questions about the charity, a template fundraising page will be produced. Charities can then easily customize the page by changing color scheme, adding media content and modifying layout by simply drag and drop.
5. Gamification component
Users are rewarded experience in when they fill out questionnaires from charities, provide advice/ feedback to charities or being active in discussions.
Shoot us a message if you're interested in joining!