The inspiration for Flourish came from observing the impact a volunteer has when they are serving in a way that aligns their deeply-rooted passions with the skills and talents they’ve been blessed with. We asked ourselves, "How can we activate more people to support the causes they care most about, in the ways they find most fulfilling?" because if we could, our communities would flourish!
The COVID-19 pandemic created a major inflection point for us, as we were convinced we had to get Flourish in people’s hands as quickly as possible, so we could empower them to meet the overwhelming needs of their communities. We believe that by building Flourish, we will enable everyone to make THEIR difference in these challenging times.
What it does
Flourish is a volunteer-matching platform that connects individuals with opportunities based on their passions, skills, and schedule - empowering them to contribute impactfully to their community.
- Have a more fulfilling volunteer experience
- Contribute significantly and impactfully in their community
- Engage their neighbors and greater community to volunteer in the ways most meaningful to them
Churches and Nonprofits:
- Receive the support they need to have the impact they aspire towards
- Elevate community engagement and sponsorship
- Create more impact-based and meaningful opportunities for their community to plug into
Flourish will empower each person to better-serve their community in-response to COVID-19!
How we built it
We began by ideating the user journey by creating user flows and sketches. From there we utilized Figma to create high fidelity screens while keeping our users at the forefront of the experience. We developed it as a progressive web app using the Vue UI framework with Vuetify for the Material Design look. The backend is an NodeJS Express application, deployed on Heroku, using Sequelize to communicate with a Postgres database.
Challenges we ran into
We knew we were shooting for the moon when we started. We set stretch goals, worked hard to reach them, and stayed in constant communication about progress to those goals. Some of the challenges we faced along the way:
- Several API’s are not ready to be consumed by third party sites such as ours (lack of “CORS” headers)
- Insufficient time for implementing several real-time and interactive features
- Restrictive API's that allow limited freedom for utilization outside of their platform
- Getting in contact with influencers to help us spread our message
Accomplishments that we're proud of
- A live web app created in less than 10 days.
- The ability to post new opportunities through a fluid, responsive, engaging UI
What we learned
We learned how to build a team, a project management flow, technical architecture, and a full-featured web app leveraging a decentralized team distributed across ten time zones, with varying levels of technical expertise and experience working in team environments, while juggling families, full-time jobs, other church/volunteer commitments, and...a global pandemic.
Through this journey, we affirmed the importance of community, and inspired by each others’ sacrifices, diligence, passion, and incredible giftedness, we learned how wonderful it is to experience the very thing we were setting out to create for others - the opportunity to address the challenges that are closest to our heart, in the ways we were beautifully created and designed for through the skills and talents we were blessed with. We learned new skills, new tools, new ways of communicating and working with others, new workflows, and new ways of making amazing things happen.
What's next for Flourish
We plan to complete the web application, and integrate it with the mobile application within the next few weeks. Once the initial version of the platform is complete, we’ll deploy pilot implementations with volunteer-based organizations (nonprofits) who have already committed to beta testing the experience and providing feedback, so we can refine and add features. In this way, we anticipate providing a streamlined response to empowering those who are helping others through the current crisis.