United Way invests in organizations that provide a wide range of services to children in poverty (education, health, food, housing, addiction, employment, and legal services), and it seems to select 1 to 5 primary organizations to invest the majority of funds in. The dark circles represent the funding that each organization receives from United Way, and the light circles represent the number of people working for each organization. There does not appear to be a strong correlation between employees and funding.
This is another visualization that compares the amount of money allocated to each organization (budget) to the number of people working at the organization (manpower). It became clear that there is no real correlation between the two.
After exploring one potential correlation, I became curious about what “impact” means. Every organization’s website seemed to mention their impact” but many had different ways of measuring that — people served, resources distributed, etc. People served seemed to be the most widely used, but it is a vague measurement because different services have different amounts of impact. Giving fliers to 100 people is much different than housing 100 people. The graph below is based on primary research and visualizes the ratio of people served to money spent by different education organizations.
Each pink box shows the ratio of money spent per person served. Redwood has a small amount of money, and they use it to serve a small number of people. On the contrary, Brighton Center, Inc. has a large amount of money that they spend to serve a large number of people.
The next step was to talk to speak to experts and donors. I wrote a script that was used to interview 4 people from various organizations in Cincinnati that work to help children in poverty. I also spoke to individual donors of different ages. Multiple organizations were willing to share their research, but asked that the specific metrics remain confidential.
Impact metrics are the most important to both individual and enterprise donors. The specific type of impact varies from donor to donor.
People feel good about themselves when they know that their donation is making a difference.
People usually have an organization in mind when they’re wanting to contribute.
People donate more time (volunteer) than money early in life. They older they get, the more money they start to donate, until retirement when they transition back into donating time.
The Impact Calculator is an interactive visualization that shows donors the impact of their contribution online.
Immediate success would be to effectively communicate the concrete impact of a wide range of donation amounts.
Short term success would be validation from an organization that the solution supports their research.
Long term success would be an increase in donors and contributions.
Research Insight: When you have multiple different services with varying levels of impact and cost, it can be challenging to communicate the impact per dollar to donors. People feel good about themselves when they know their donation is making a difference.
Audience: The intended audience for this application would be individual donors. The objective is to help people visualize the impact that their donation can have on the organization and on individuals.
Context: During a recent conference, one organization generalized that $500 would support a child with a year of mentoring. However, this is an average of their three different types of mentoring. By outlining and visualizing different benchmarks, donors can have a better idea of how their impact is making a difference.
Immediate | Show donors the impact of their contribution.
Near-Term | Donors increase their contributions by seeing a direct correlation between their money and impact.
Long-Term | Persuade people to become donors by showing how any amount can make a difference.
Based on my project proposal, I selected three different concept directions to conduct comprehension research on. To the right is the survey I used to conduct the research, and below are the three concepts, descriptions, and comprehension survey results.
Comprehension survey participants consisted of donors and people who work at non-profit organizations that serve children in poverty.
Concept 1: Donation Criteria Focused
Primary audience: individual donors
Most donation criteria (amount, organization, service)
Typographic data visualization
Comprehension Results: 85%
“Most to all would understand”
“Individual [organizations] would be most effective”
“Clear definition, clear impact”
Concept 2: Organization Comparison Focused
Primary audience: large donors (corporations, etc)
Compares impact of donation for multiple organizations
Some donation criteria (amount, category of organization)
Graphic data visualization
Comprehension Results: 65%
“Foundation or corporate more effective”
“People may not know the difference between different types of mentoring”
“Organizations that deals with rating many organizations”
Concept 3: Degree of Impact Focused
Primary audience: large allocation organizations (United Way)
Nuanced, multi-dimensional analysis of impact
Limited donation criteria (category of organization)
Complex, interactive data visualization
Comprehension Results: 55%
“Foundation or government (public funds)
“More information to digest”
“Might lose their attention”
“Impact would not be immediately clear if not explained”
Concept 1: Donation Criteria Focused made the most sense to users and fit my target audience most effectively, so I proceeded to develop the user experience of that concept.