Austin Changemaker Series

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Details

Category

Research-driven UX Design

Time Frame

May–September 2018

Role

UX Designer

Researcher

What is the AIGA Changemaker Series?
• The AIGA Austin Changemaker Series united teams of creative professionals with nonprofits and social change organizations to use design thinking, sustainable frameworks, and creative tools to help advance their mission.

• The design tools and sustainable frameworks that creative professionals use daily can have a large impact when applied toward aiding important social challenges.

• Each year, the series rallies around a new cause from May to September and assisting nonprofits fighting homelessness was selected in 2018.
Business Problem
• How might we provide volunteer services to our (Foundation for the Homeless) client families while respecting their confidentiality?

• The transition period to self-sufficiency is emotionally taxing. Case managers help clients map goals, create an action plan, and a housing stability assessment. A lack of resources and communication leads to a high rate of recidivism.
Process
Our team met for the first time and was introduced to the non-profit organization Foundation for the Homeless. We immediately began working to gather data, conduct interviews, gain understanding, synthesize secondary research, and identify sustainable opportunities to help the organization.

Kept our focus on the Foundation for the Homeless’ core mission: Restore hope by providing a safe and inviting shelter for families experiencing homelessness, while working with these families to reach their goal of an affordable lease in their own name.

Research

User experience design thinking exercises with the AIGA "Team Star" and representatives from an 
assigned non-profit.
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Design Thinking: Team Star and nonprofit The Foundation for the Homeless

Persona
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Customer Journey Map

We used storytelling to visually map user goals and actions as a workflow to identify opportunities.

During our initial meetings with the Foundation For The Homeless, the team rapidly learned and documented as much as possible.
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“As more volunteers join the organization, they tend to become donors. Donors share in the work and mission of the organization, making their volunteer experiences more meaningful.”
– Andrew Willard, Program Manager
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User Experience Design

Prioritization Grid
Team collaboration helped us to evaluate, prioritize ideas, and to focus our conversations.
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Ideation
Organized, thoughtful research and productive team discussions led to robust ideation. The team generated far too many solutions. We trimmed down the list and broke up into smaller groups to begin planning how to execute the remaining potential solutions.
A Potential Solution
In my opinion, the strongest concept our team generated was that of a virtual mentor.
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Findings

Client Family Needs Can Be Very Demanding and Diverse.
Stress, limited time, and resources lead case managers to an unsustainable approach. Foundation for the Homeless organization is lacking childcare facilities, employment assistance, current technology, and parenting classes.

Human Solution

Virtual Mentorship Program
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Learnings

An effective volunteer program requires full-time management by a dedicated individual.

Case Managers will have a clear vision of what success looks like and should help inform volunteer selection.

Expectations must be set upfront up-front and clear to both volunteers and client families.

Additional Notes & Recommendations

Expedite work by providing an FFH volunteer brief template. A brief usually includes a description of the client’s needs, objectives, expectations, and challenges.

Use free online tools like Idealist or Craigslist to post and track FFH volunteer opportunities.

Leverage free online tools like Doodle and/or Google Calendar to coordinate meetings between parties.