Houston has a huge economic divide. Lots of non-profits struggle with resources, while donors do not have a platform to connect with the needed non-profits. We want to create an in-kind donation platform to match needs with donors.

What it does

Pre-approved local non-profits have access to free items, either from submitted in-kind donations or Craig’s List. The non-profits can search for items by zip code to arrange pick-up trips. Community donors can safely submit donation information with little concern for privacy, as the list will only be accessed by the pre-approved local non-profits.

How we built it

Front end – used node web server to host numerous ejs files. Each ejs file used html, css, and javascript to collect the data from the API. Back end – used python to create web scraper with BeautifulSoup and extracted the data from Craig’s List for the API.

Challenges we ran into

Front end – time constraints to create a quality website
Back end – scrapping Craig’s List to avoid IP Banning and combining the donated list with Craig’s List

Accomplishments that we're proud of

In a team of 10, we worked really well by spilt up into three work stream – front end, back end, and strategy/design. We have successfully developed a minimum viable product (mvp) that is fully tested. The platform has the potential to connect hundreds of thousands of Houston donors with non-profits in need.

What we learned

Because we have a mix of backgrounds (non-developers and developers), all of us learned how to collaborate to take a product from idea to minimum viable product. The developers gained new skills, such as building a web scraper, connecting backend, and git.

What's next for Houston Helps

  1. Build on existing base website and could include more advanced features – Tax deductible forms to donors – Interactive map of donations
  2. Reach out to local non-profits that want to receive in-kind donations
  3. Marketing campaign to raise awareness of the website to drive donations
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