COVID-19 has left businesses, millions of families, and environmental nonprofits/charities in shambles. Monetic gives financially struggling individuals a platform to create short videos where they can crowdsource money. Based on the recipients’ responses, we ensure those most impacted by COVID-19 get recognition. You can kind of think of it like it's TikTok or Youtube + GoFundMe.
The economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic are far-reaching--ravaging families, businesses, and communities across the country. As 100% of small businesses and nonprofits nationwide have been affected by the pandemic, millions of individuals and families are left in financial ruin. Most Americans do not have the choice to sit at home and satisfy their basic needs. The current remedies provided by the government, such as expanded sick leave, lower interest rates, and loans that help companies will do nothing for the millions of Americans who are living paycheck to paycheck. We believe that people most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic deserve the dignity to choose for themselves how to improve their loves, and cash enables that choice.
Initially, we were thinking about building a new mobile payment system, similar to Cash or Venmo, to help the government issue stimulus checks more efficiently; however, government bureaucracy presented a challenge for us. Moreover, traditional fundraising may have to go through nonprofits or require big name endorsements to be successful, making it inaccessible to the average recipient. Instead, we make it so that anyone who logs on the app can make a direct case as to why they need the money.
How do we ensure those who are the most impacted by COVID-19 get the cash they need? According to Matt Klein, director of strategy at Sparks & Honey, fundraisers on traditional platforms, such as GoFundMe, rely on trends, virality, and social marketing gurus to ensure that their campaign receives traction. We solved this with a matching algorithm that ensures that those most impacted by the COVID-19, based on metrics, such as location.
Finally, we wanted an innovative and engaging way to connect recipients to donors. If you see the person or child in need, this creates an empathetic and emotional attachment. According to NP Source, 57% of people who watch videos go on to make a donation. And with the rise of short video platforms like TikTok and Snapchat, we decided to implement a short video feature.
What it does
COVID-19 has left businesses and millions of families in shambles. Monetic gives financially struggling individuals a platform to create short videos where they can crowdsource money directly. Based on the recipients’ responses and a matching algorithm, we ensure those most impacted by COVID-19 get recognition.
Potential recipients can upload a 10-second video, address, and income changes due to COVID-19 to crowdsource money. Potential donors can view the videos by clicking the ‘Next’ button. Videos are ranked by the most neediest individuals based on a matching algorithm that takes into account location. To donate money, donors can click ‘Donate’ where they can see the progress of a fundraiser or donate immediately.
How I built it
Monetic is built in React and a Firebase realtime database. By using react, we were able to split up the pages into components and work in parallel and develop fast and safely. Since React has been a very popular framework, it will be easy to maintain and understand for others to continue development. Another reason we chose React is the portability to mobile with React Native which will minimize the code that needs to be rewritten and can be easily deployed to different platforms. We are using the TikTok API to easily embed videos within our app and using GofundMe to accept donations.
Challenges I ran into
One of the challenges we ran into was embedding the TikTok videos on our app because the API response doesn’t work nicely with React. Therefore, we had to find workarounds to get the videos to show up. Another challenge we encountered was implementing the Stripe API. Although it has a very detailed documentation, we were not able to set it up to accept payments. Finally, we didn’t have enough time to come up with a good algorithm to decide which recipient to prioritize. However, we thought about adding analytics into these videos using Microsoft Azure API to collect data about speech and sentiment in these videos to get a better understanding of the recipient's needs.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We are very proud of building a working prototype in such a short time and no prior experience in React or any of the APIs we used. We were able to divide tasks and work closely with others remotely and made good progress. We loved learning from the mentors and using various APIs. Thank you Hack:Now for a seamless and great experience even though it was on Zoom.
What I learned
We learned the process of building and deploying a web application, prototyping with Figma, and collaborating on a project entirely online.
We learned how to develop an idea by thinking about how to solve a problem. Then, I learned how to develop a business model. Furthermore, We learned how to persevere in the light of difficulty.
What's next for Monetic
We want to overtake GoFundMe as the #1 crowdsourcing platform. In the future, we want to decouple from TikTok and GoFundMe to create our own app with recording and donating capabilities. Furthermore, we hope to revolutionize donations-based crowdsourcing with our idea by continuing to implement features. Such features, include:
(1) Adding a "philanthropist" section where potential "philanthropists" can pose challenges to donate money to others. (2) Making our matching algorithm more specific to loss of income, type of job, and number of family members. (3) Creating a leaderboard to highlight donors
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