Digital product Studio
Case studies

Save the Children

When shops have to close how do you mobilise volunteers online?

The challenge?

How can we continue fundraising efforts by mobilising volunteers and supporter networks online


UX design, UI design, Front-end development, Ruby on Rails

So what?

Shop volunteers now have an way to mobilise their social networks and continue to fundraise adapting to the pandemic

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Good Goods Ruby on Rails pilot

Good Goods → Prototype to Pilot

This project started back in 2018 when, through a Design Sprint in partnership with the in-house innovation team at Save the Children, we very quickly built a working prototype (built in one day, using Ruby on Rails with a JustGiving integration). The concept started to test a new way to fundraise online – mobilising individual’s social networks to buy products that would in turn raise money for important causes. The core assumption to test: would people actually buy products to donate this way.

After a small and successful short test phase the platform moved from just a simple prototype to scale as a nationwide campaign with the backing of internal resources.

Question: ‘Would people actually buy products and donate funds directly from their friends?’

What we did: Leveraged the JustGiving API to quickly set up payments to validate real-world payments

In an Emergency

The platform evolved after the learnings from the first campaign and began to be leveraged for a different purpose – emergency appeals. It became clear that in a global emergency it could become a very useful tool in the mobilisation of social networks to raise funds quickly. A simple change to the products and messaging and the platform was creating new value. The problem with Emergencies however, is you don’t know when they will happen, so the platform was left largely unused waiting for the right moment. In many ways, it’s good it was never needed.

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When COVID-19 hit sending global shockwaves, closing shops and hampering the usual channels of fundraising, the innovation team at Save the Children set about invigorating the platform to mobilise the now closed shop volunteers and supporters through their social channels.

Now the platform exists as a replacement for the retail shops that are closed across the UK. Shop volunteers and supporters can now move their advocacy online and continue to contribute to fundraising efforts for children’s causes across the world.

The takeaway

It’s exciting to see how something that started as a concept or idea in a Design Sprint has evolved to how it exists today.

Getting to a successful digital product is rarely a straight line. You have to be willing to live with lots of ambiguity and adapt your ideas to new information that presents itself. You don’t get there overnight. It takes commitment, resourcefulness and resilience.

This project in particular is a story of how digital innovation can be used for a bigger cause and give children across the world a chance to thrive.