Aloki UX & research internship

How might we better connect a nonprofit organization with its donors?

4 weeks

Overseas Volunteers for a Better India, Solo project

The project

In the summer of 2020 (before I started attending CMU), I researched and designed solutions for engagements between Overseas Volunteers for a Better India (OVBI) and their donors. OVBI relies on donation and fundraising to support their projects, and the focus of this internship was engaging donors that were interested in OVBI’s eliminating water poverty program.

Conducting research

I conducted user interviews with various stakeholders with varying levels of involvement with the organization. Based on this research, I created user personas and journey maps with a framework of Motivation, Awareness, Engagement, Outcome, and Re-ngagement. Along each step of the journey, I found various pain points within through these interviews. 

I found that long-term donors were an important aspect of OVBI's donation system. One common theme among my interviews was the need for more connections to the efforts and impacts of OVBI's water program. While donors were getting updated through email lists, they did not feel grounded to their impacts in India– especially because many of the donors had begun contributing due to empathy with the struggles of Indian farmers.

Some takeaways from research

1. Our donors are deeply passionate about helping farmers in India. Donors were deeply affected by stories of farmer suicides, especially in regions where the donors came from, like Maharashtra. 
3. Donors are also highly pragmatic and concerned with progress and impact above all else. However, their information is spread out over several channels and can be hard to track. 
2.  Many donors support OVBI’s water program financially, and many others also spend time volunteering overseas. These volunteers spend time on the real construction grounds.
4. While there is a newsletter, donors often do not have a full story of what they consider to be important: a close up view of the construction and impacts of OVBI’s water engineering projects. 

The final design

After this research, I designed a website with a focus on showing how OVBI has changed water security in various focused regions in India across the span of their projects.

I proposed a few key ideas to help OVBI better engage with its donors.

  • A demonstration of soil moisture in OVBI's focus areas over time through multispectral satellite imaging provided by a volunteer's startup
  • Showing how important metrics in water infrastructure, such as number of check dams built, have improved over time thanks to OVBI's involvement.
  • Migrating underutilized and existing Q&A sessions with volunteers and workers on site to a centralized dashboard: Short online video sessions would build connections between volunteers and donors, grounding the impacts of their financial support.
  • A consolidation of project-wide media into one page on the website so that donors have a better understanding of what’s going on with one channel of information

By dragging a slider over or letting the timeline autoplay, users can view how OVBI has progressed in improving India’s water quality through a combination of important metrics and a multispectral satellite view documenting soil moisture.
Clicking on an article card on the main page lets users find out more about the specific interventions that OVBI employs to improve water security.

Article Cards
Informative statistics and graphics combined with articles written about progress in specific areas let donors know three important things:

1. How close OVBI is to reaching it’s goals in certain regions
2. What exactly volunteers are doing to improve water security
3. The impacts of OVBI’s efforts in this region

Live check-ins
Events help donors to learn about what is happening overseas, connect with other volunteers, and become inspired to join in.