In the past three months, there have been over 60 current events that have resulted in over 200 deaths and have affected over 2 million people. From natural disasters such as Hurricane Dorian and the wildfires burning in the Amazon to events such as the El Paso shooting that prompt discussions around social issues, these events shook individuals, communities, and nations.
While the opportunities to donate to these causes are endless, there is a disconnect between wanting to donate and following through with the action. In fact, from a survey we collected with 64 responses, 81% of respondents have thought about or wanted to donate to a cause in the last three months, but only 27% actually did. Despite all the different charities and organizations that provide disaster relief and funding for social causes, respondents cite “confusion,” “too many options”, “trust” and “too lazy to do own research” as reasons for why they haven’t donated. These reasons are precisely why we chose to create ++Giving.
What it does
++Giving is a platform that empowers individuals to donate to causes that speak to them, bridging the gap between people who wish to donate and the organizations that can help. On the ++Giving web application, a user is presented with recently occurring natural disasters and social issues that they can donate to, a description for each event, and where the event is located on a map. ++Giving decreases the amount of time that individuals have to spend doing their own research on what to give to and how. Through the web application, users can also follow our donate link to organization sites, allowing the user to give money to the cause.
How I built it
++Giving is hosted in an Azure Web Application built with a .NET Core 2.1 framework, and a user interface implemented with HTML and CSS. Our front end application allows people to view the world's trending issues, learn about these issues through the top trending news articles, and directly link to ways to donate to these causes while staying all within our application. The data storage for our application is configured in four data tables in an Azure SQL Database. In order to keep our databases up to date with issues that people care about, we use Time Triggered Azure functions to continually update our databases. These Serverless Functions rely on APIs like NASA's EONET API to obtain all currently occurring natural disasters, Google-News to obtain trending political and social issues, and Charity Navigator to match the right charities to these issues to empower our users to give to the causes that speak to them.
Challenges I ran into and
Accomplishments that I'm proud of and
What I learned
We are really proud that we all did something we haven’t done before at this hackathon, whether it was coding in a new language, using an API we weren’t familiar with, or learning new concepts. In addition, we are glad that we took the time to work together and take feedback from one another during a planning stage. It made sure that everyone was on the same page and had a mutual understanding of what we were trying to accomplish and build. However, we were challenged by data flow because we were dealing with so many APIs. We learned that it’s important to communicate, work as a team, and appreciate all viewpoints. Taking advantage of team members’ different skill sets and ideas helps move the project forward.
What's next for ++Giving
During this hackathon we were able to implement the core functionality of our idea: making giving to charities more accessible. Moving forward, we have a couple of ideas to further improve our platform. Firstly, we would like to implement direct payment functionality, so that a user can donate to their select charity without needing to leave our site. Next, we would like to implement a round-up system, to further incentive our user base to donate to important causes. When linked to a debit card, our site would give the option to "round up" purchases, similar to the investment platform "Acorns". If one of our users spends $13.43 at Trader Joe's, we will send them a notification asking if they would like toround up that purchase to a flat $14, and invest the $.57 to one of their favorited charities.