be is a social network connecting local non-profits and volunteers.
The integration of research and technology to empower these camps allows for easier remote communication, informed tools for tracking events and participation, and more sustained relationships.
We found that local nonprofits were too often overlooked when it came to people making decisions about where to volunteer. We wanted to change that and make it easier both for volunteers and nonprofits. Our main goals included enabling volunteers to find opportunities that directly benefit their surroundings and nonprofits to more easily connect with those interested in helping.
Since this space was entirely reliant on human interactions and emotional draws, we focused a lot of our research and needs-finding within the real world. We tried numerous methods for getting people to donate goods and found that face to face interaction worked better than any digital surrogate like email, Facebook or Snapchat. Andrew also went out and volunteered with Habitat for Humanity to better understand the current process for being a participant in this area.
With myriad information in tow, we began to shape a system for discovering and learning about local charity opportunities. Over time we developed multiple visual languages and styles before ultimately settling on a very inviting pallet with tons of fun but relevant mono-weight illustrations.
be wasn't the first name we came up with, either. we had originally developed a brand around and assets with the name do-nation, some of which can be seen in screens below. for this approach, we both utilized a not-so-subtle play on words and focused on the active doing that can characterize charity. after some deliberation and conversation with others, we felt that do-nation was too indicative of individual actions and not the long-lasting effects. to solve this problem, we pushed forward under the be brand that was evocative of and short for the type of person one could be(come) after repeated volunteer engagement.
Feedback at each turn helped us narrow our focus and better understand the different feelings or messages our work was giving off. This allowed us to move from a more corporate feel to a more friendly, community-building ambience.
After all of our changes and redesigns, we settled on a social platform for facilitating discovery and communication between eager volunteers and local nonprofits. be has a range of features including participation tracking, local news, and messaging with your favorite people or organizations. These tools allow users on either end to stay connected and better manage their involvement. Our hope is that a more positive and simplified experience will prompt continued participation and constant growth of the community.
After all was said and done, we were very happy with how things turned out and how much of an emphasis we put on the brand and feelings related to the system. Our conceptual approach led to a greater focus on the experience and what people would take away from it rather than a fully functional product, and we’re all very excited about that.