THE PROBLEM

On one hand:

  • There are many huge issues plaguing the world today: > Global warming & climate change > Poverty > Unemployment > Gender equality
  • There are many NGO's and charities are doing whatever they can. But they significantly lack manpower and funds.
  • We need many more people to contribute on both, a personal level, and also volunteer to help the causes they they believe in.

On the other hand:

  • People do want to give back to society.
  • But they aren't able to commit a large amount of time. Let's be honest, "2-4 hours a week for the next 6 months" deters a LOT of people.
  • And they're also usually unaware of the best opportunities available for them.
  • I've personally wanted to help reduce pollution in my city in Mumbai, by don't know where to start or what to do with the limited time I have after work.

There are 3 improvements we need to make:

  1. Volunteering shouldn't need a lot of commitment like it does now. Even people with just a weekend free should be able to give back to society.
  2. Opportunities should be open and easy to access. Bring the right opportunities to the right people!
  3. People should be appreciated for their effort. Via both social and monetary rewards.

THE VISION

"To empower & encourage people across the globe and across all ages to give back to the cause they care about, however little that may be. Because little drops can form a big ocean."

The way we can do this is by creating a platform that will:


THE SOLUTION

The platform we plan to build will work in 5 simple steps:

Step 1. NGOs, charities & local communities upload tasks they need help with

  • These can be online/remote tasks like creating designs and posters, creating websites and campaigns, writing articles, or something as simple as sharing their latest social media posts for better reach.
  • Or they can even be simple offline tasks like buying and giving food to the homeless nearby.

Step 2. People are matched with only 1 to 2 tasks a week

  • The 'volunteers' are given the tasks that are the most suited for them, based on their skill sets, interests and time availability, for the causes that they care about.
  • They can choose to skip the task if they wish and it will be replaced with a different one.

Step 3. People can collaborate to complete bigger tasks

  • Some tasks might be too much for an individual.
  • In that case the platform will either break down the tasks into parts if possible.
  • Or allow people to collaborate with their friends to complete it, thus increasing the sense of community and bringing people together.

Step 4. Reward people for the tasks they complete

  • Once a task is completed, people can post photos, which are verified by the platform and the NGO, to earn points and achievements.
  • The points will depend on the difficulty and time requirement of the task.
  • The gamification with achievements will keep people on the platform and push them to complete more tasks (think Nike Run Club).

Step 5. Points can be redeemed at partner brands

  • We'll tie up with small brands, local businesses and mom&pop shops.
  • We'll even tie up with bigger brands that support a good cause. Like Bombas
  • The points that people earn by helping NGOs and charities, can be redeemed at these partner brands, thus helping the community even more!

THE PLATFORM

  • We used the Neo4j graph database to store complex relations between different users, their skills and preferences, their locations, charities that need help, etc
  • The deep and numerous relations between tasks, time availability, preferences, urgency, is handled smoothly using a graph database. Additionally it's flexible so that we can add in or remove constraints whenever needed.
  • We used the Neo4j graphQL library to expose this data into formats that the front-end code can consume. This process was made super simple thanks to the tutorials available for both Neo4j and graphQL.
  • The front-end was built on Angular and KendoUI.

What we built:

  • A complete Neo4j graph database with all relational constructs defined between all the data.
  • Neo4j GraphQL endpoint to access all the data
  • Business side facing portal for NGOs, charities, small businesses and local communities to add tasks.
  • Volunteer side facing app for people to see their tasks, keep track of achievements, network with others and redeem points.
  • Algorithms to smoothly assign tasks to individuals based on skill sets, interests, causes they support and time availability.

Challenges:

  • The app needs to be engaging for the volunteers since not everyone has the same level of motivation.
  • Focusing on the gamification and community building is important, but I lack the expertise needed in understanding human psychology well enough to make the best experience.
  • This will need me to analyse and learn from case-studies of other apps like Nike run club, etc.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

  • Learnt about graph databases in general, graphQL, Neo4j and linking it all together into NodeJS applications, all in span of 4 days!

What we learned

  • Learning about and creating my first ever instance of the Neo4j database and seeing it action was made extremely simple thanks to the sandbox!
  • I not only learn a lot about graph databases and their benefits, but also got the opportunity to implement and test it on a real life problem!
  • Spent a lot of time researching issues with volunteering and about many NGOs in and around Mumbai. Irrespective of this hackathon, I'll definitely be helping them in some way or another.

What's next for The Better Future Club

  • A 'Shop' section so that people can redeem the points they have earned.
  • Onboarding brands for the 'Shop' section.
  • Analytics dashboard for the NGOs and charities.
  • Options to allow NGO's to request and manage donations.
  • Sections in the volunteer facing app so that they can see the impact they've made.

THANK YOU!

Built With

Share this project:

Updates