NGOs provide essential social welfare services and advance worthy causes in society. Yet, they suffer from drastic fluctuation of funds during and soon after a crisis. According to a new Swissfundraising report, over 80 per cent of the NGO's fear receiving fewer donations due to COVID19. Reduced budgets could significantly affect ongoing and future projects, impacting the lives of thousands of vulnerable groups.
Yet, money is not the problem. Across Switzerland, hundreds of thousands of individuals and institutions are ready to donate to support worthy causes.
The world needs an intelligent allocation of funds in times of crisis, without forgetting the ongoing human needs.
What it does
Sociably is a smart platform connecting financial supporters to NGOs in urgent need of funding. We link small and big donations to the right causes, at the right time, to achieve impact.
To this end, Sociably leverages digital technology to answer to the needs of supporters while reducing the fundraising and engagement burden for NGOs.
For individual small donations, Sociably uses blockchain technology to aggregate funds and distribute to causes in need. The way this work is simple; supporters select their interests and indicate how much they want to donate. The platform then brings this donation together with others dedicated to the same cause and allocates their donations to accredited NGOs.
But supporters do not just want to give money! Knowing that donations are leading to impact are essential to ensure that NGOs are continuously funded. Yet, NGOs have little resources to dedicate to engaging with small funders. Drawing from aggregates reporting information provided by NGOs, Sociably sends individualised impact reports to supporters. Individuals can be assured that their money is being allocated to causes close to their hearts that deliver value to society.
And for larger donations, we provide a platform for richer engagement. Large donors are important because they can individually or in small groups fund a project, but they have a special need for individualised reporting. Sociably offers a premium version in which large donors can connect to specific NGOs and projects and directly engage with NGOs partners for their individualised needs. Sociably uses part of the premium fee to help NGOs cope with the reporting burden and provides one single template aligned to international standards that an NGO can use to report to send automated reports to multiple large donors for one single project.
This way, NGOs will have a trustable source of funding during a crisis, and beyond, allowing financial supporters to be part of their success story.
How I built it
Sociably combines the expertise of social leaders, business minds, innovation experts and tech gurus to create a digital platform that responds to the needs of NGOs and supporters of causes.
For data analysis the team applied R, analysing data from wiki platform (https://frdata.wikimedia.org/) to see impact. To conceptualise the platform, the team utilised design thinking, human-centred design and a lot of brainstorming for out-of-the-box thinking, using tools such as Miro and Zoom to enable teamwork. The team also used tools such as the value proposition canvas and business model canvas. We also used Excel and liveplan to create a rapid financial estimation for the platform. For testing, we gathered feedback from experts and stakeholders.
For the prototype, the team used online tools such as canva to create the infographic and logo, Marvel to create a wireframe and animaker and Adobe Premier Pro to develop a short video.
Challenges I ran into
Creative processes are messy and many minds mean different understandings. The first challenge faced related to ensuring a common understanding of the challenge, building consensus in a very short timeframe and agreeing on a way forward. In this process, the team split and reformed around the topic.
Developing a first concept of a solution was quick. Yet, Feedback on the platform challenge our assumptions and later caused us to pivot our value proposition.
Creating Sociably also faced challenges when it came to creating a prototype given the short time-frame and the fact that the solution needs to R&D for the blockchain. In the end, the team decided that less is more and the important factor was to communicate well the solution.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We are proud of our fantastic teamwork and of the motivation of the team to tackle the challenge despite differences. We are proud of the amazing interdisciplinary effort that happened in the past 48h. Every team member was able to contribute with their expertise. We are proud of the flexibility of the team to readapt the concept after hearing a user perspective and not insist on our own ideas. We are proud of having left my comfort zone. We are proud of coming up with a solution that we believe is needed and impactful.
What I learned
We learned to collaborate with people from different backgrounds and expertise We learned that sleep deprivation also causes a happy feeling We learned much more about the challenges of NGOs in times of COVID19 We learned how to use Miro and Zoom to collaborate across borders We learned from each other new tools, methods and approaches
What's next for Sociably
Short-term goals (within a month): a) Contact NGOs and form a committee of partners that believe in the project b) Create the first draft for the project concept
Mid-term goal (within 3 months): c) Create a financial plan and identify funding opportunities d) Establish a dream team e) Launch the first structured proposal
Long-term goals (end of 2020): f) Start the DAO and platform - Beta testing