The Greater Twin Cities United Way (GTCUW)
A resident of the Twin Cities with a busy schedule. They want to volunteer but don't know where to begin.
United Way predicts there could be up to 1 million potential volunteers in the Twin Cities area who are not volunteering because they haven't taken the first step in getting looped in. Our research showed us people are morally inclined to volunteer, however they believe they do not have time. This confronted us with the challenge of creating a tool that would match users to opportunities that not only align with their values, but fit into their busy schedules.
"How do I find volunteer opportunities which interest me?"
With a team of three other designers we created two solutions for two different spaces. The first one is a physical set of cards to be used at events to match people with volunteer opportunities at the event. The second is a responsive web-app that matches volunteers with opportunities based upon their play style.
What are the reasons people give when they volunteer and what are their excuses when they don't? Using Optimal Workshop we asked 111 Twin Cities residents the following questions:
1. What is your age?
2. What is your gender?
3. What is your employment status?
4. Where do you live?
5a. Do you volunteer?
5b. Why or why not?
6. How often do you/ would you be willing to volunteer?
7. (If applicable) Where have you/ do you volunteer?
8. How did you find these opportunities?
9. What causes do you care about?
User testing of the Volunteer United website showed that new users found the number of causes and skills to choose from daunting.
To lower the cognitive load a card sort was performed using Optimal Workshop surveying 9 potential volunteers. They were asked to categorize the causes and skills. They were also asked to name these new groupings.
This reduced the cause categories from 29 to 8 and the skills from 28 to 5.
The new cause categories
Animals, Religion, Human Rights,
Community, Education, International, Safety, and Civics.
The new skill categories
Business, Technology, Recreational, Language Arts, and Development.
The reason people are motivated to volunteer is often because it gives them purpose. Purpose is when you believe in the outcome of the work. You may not like doing it, but you believe in the greater mission of the work. The only motivator stronger than that is play. Play is when your reason for doing the activity is the activity itself. You do it because you enjoy it. However, play means different things to different people.
In Stuart Brown's book Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul he breaks down play into 8 different play types.
In nine questions the Kind Finder app figures out your play type, the causes you care about and your skills. Then you're matched with corresponding at-home volunteer opportunities.
Event Space Solution
Kind Card Kit
At live events the GTCUW wants ways to connect volunteers with agencies in attendance.
Our solution is the Kind Card Kit. This is a set of Cause and Skill cards that relate the various agencies to volunteer's passions and skills. This process was simple, quick, and gets people personally connected to a volunteer opportunity that matters to them.
In the video below you can see how an event facilitator starts the matchmaking process with the Kind Card Kit by laying out 6 cause cards and 6 skill cards and asking the participant to choose 3 of each. The facilitator then flips the selected cards to find the most common number on the back. This number represents the table number of the matching agency.