CARE Crowdfunding for Ecosystem Services Prototype for Water Team

Fall 2020

Develop for Good is an intercollegiate 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that pairs, trains and supports student volunteers as they develop technical product solutions for nonprofits. Some of our most notable partners include UNICEF, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization. Learn more athttps://www.developforgood.org/!

Project Summary

A recent market study conducted by CARE revealed that there is significant interest from younger, more socially and environmentally conscious people in using such a platform for crowdfunding ecosystem services. However, before pitching this platform directly to CARE’s digital fundraising team or interested donors, CARE’s Water Team is interested in developing an interactive website prototype of this platform. This prototype would allow users to explore the platform’s intended functionalities and to more viscerally understand its three primary purposes:

  1. Allow users to make small donations to select CARE programs that support the creation, management, and protection of the ecosystem services they care the most about
  2. Educate users on ways they can make changes within their own consumption and lifestyle choices to support these ecosystem services
  3. Provide users with resources so they can contribute to political advocacy activities relevant to these ecosystem services, such as signing petitions, joining local social and environmental groups, and letter writing campaigns to their elected officials

We created a working prototype on Adobe XD for this purpose, implementing all of the above requirements, as well as adding our elements like a map to show the spread of CARE’s projects.

The Challenge

For the past year and a half, CARE staff within the Water Team and in CARE Country Offices have been conducting research on Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES), a popular policy mechanism used by private, public, and nonprofit agencies to combat environmental devastation and mismanagement while supporting vulnerable communities throughout the world. In order to fairly compensate small-scale farmers and other vulnerable groups for the range of ecosystem benefits they produce, CARE was exploring the possibility of hosting a crowdfunding PES platform that gives individual donors direct access to fund the ecosystem services they care about the most.

The platform we designed aims to be super intuitive to use and workable on a mobile version of the site, as it is intended towards younger demographics.

The web prototype does not create a functioning backend payment system, but provides users with the front end experience featuring examples of the kinds of CARE-affiliated programs, businesses, and communities they could fund. The interactivity, design, and functionalities in the crowdfunding prototype highlights one of its core educational goals, which is to foster an understanding of how critical, shared environmental resources connect the global North and South.

The Team

Sanchita Jalan (PM) — Columbia ’23
Wanli Wang — UIUC ’18
Sindura Sriram — Brown ’21

Our Solution

We used Adobe XD to create the design which features a Donate, Advocate and Educate Page. On the landing page, there are stories shared in the form of videos and a map to make it more compelling to audiences to learn more and get involved. The Donate Page allows users to contribute to and learn more about specific projects or even to make a general donation; they are also able to see how much money has already been raised towards the cause and customize donation amounts. The Advocate Page allows the user to sign petitions that help make an impact on more than just an individual level, while the Educate Page guides the user to consider lifestyle changes that can help.

Project Screenshots

Homepage
Educational page
Advocate page
Donation page
Confirming donation page
Donation confirmation page

Our Impact

It will compensate small-scale farmers for the ecosystem benefits they create by adopting Water-Smart Agriculture (WaSA) practices. While WaSA has been shown to help small-scale farmers increase agricultural productivity and income generation, the public ecosystem benefits they create, such as water conservation and reforestation, go uncompensated. It will also allow users (targeted: socially responsible, younger demographics) to get more involved, learn more and make an impact through donation, advocacy and lifestyle changes for environmental preservation and foster an understanding of how critical, shared environmental resources connect the global North and South.