KindBiddings, a Platform for Fundraising
WHAT IS KINDBIDDINGS?
The goal of KindBiddings was to create a safe experience for people to spend their money on great items in support of legitimate non-profit organizations.
Project Timeline: 5 weeks
In order to find a competitive space for KindBiddings.org, I took a look at competing models that included online and silent/live auction events.
Ebay is the most trafficked auction site on the net, and in partnership with MissionFish, eBay allows its sellers to donate auction proceeds to charity. This also allows for charities to sell directly to buyers.
- Trusted platform for commerce
- Large existing user base
- The system allows anyone to sell most any item in the name of a charity, potentially raising ethical questions, legal concerns, and damaging the image of a legitimate organization
- Charity auction item offerings are mixed in with all other eBay items
- Favors larger organizations with trusted names
In 2002, Goodwill California set up a platform for all Goodwill stores to sell higher value donated items online either at auction or for set prices. This platform has not been updated since 2002, but has still proved highly successful for increasing sales and reach for Goodwill.
- Privately branded custom solution for a household name
- Higher valued items are not featured
- Dated ecommerce interface, which does not instill user security trust
There are many lesser known sites that have created small-scale charity auctions. All are dated and lack dynamism. These sites offer little if any information about the charities to which users contribute via their purchases.
Live auctions and silent auctions are usually anchored to larger charity events that can draw a large and supportive crowd for the cause/organization. Items are usually donated, however, they are highly vulnerable to the success of the event and the mood in the room. A crowd-pleasing event is critical. This is a costly task for charities and most of these events have low profit margins, which then reduces a charities effectiveness rating.
FINDINGS FROM INTERVIEWS
Several interviews were conducted of charity event organizers, managers, and event auction bidders.
Event organizers shared that:
- They find the overall process of organizing these events to be overwhelming
- Organizers can be employees, paid consultants/contractors, and/or volunteers
- Paid event organizers are evaluated by the organization based on their track records
- Silent auctions are not reliable and depend on quality items to attract bids
- Organizers will try to stock the room with friends and family who will bid
- Often the volunteers and organizers will make initial or early bids to spur excitement and bidding activity, but they sometimes end up with these items
- Charities that have been burned by live auctions are less likely to repeat them at future events
- Event organizers were not sure about online auctions, but like the idea if they were set up on a trusted platform that could be distributed over social networks
Event bidders shared that:
- “If there is an item I really want in a silent auction I will watch the bid sheet like a hawk and try to detour people from bidding.”
- “I have gotten some good deals with silent auctions because there was just not enough people at the event."
- “It can be easy to get distracted with socializing and event festivities, and before you know it, the auction has closed and there was no opportunity to make a bid or view all the available auction items."
- "I have attended a number of events in which the space was so tight that you could not circulate around the room to bid."
DESIGN PRINCIPLES & EXPERIENCE GOALS
SORT FOR CHARITY CATEGORIES
PRIMARY OBJECT CONTENT MAPS
Wireframes were developed in InDesign modularly, so that prototype testing could remain separate from the annotations.
An interactive flash prototype was made using the InDesign document.
Local usability testing was completed by participants with a wide range in both age and computer experience.
Testing showed where the design was failing and provided direct feedback for implementation of changes. Silverback was used to record user interaction.
IMAGES FROM FINAL PROTOTYPE