Bridging the gap between donors and nonprofits


The Pittsburgh Foundation


January - August, 2020

My Role in this Project:

Design Lead, UX Design, UX Research, Branding and Visual Design


Brandon Fiksel(project lead), Dana Frostig(research lead), Molly Schaefer(product and strategy lead), Nick Simons (tech lead) and me.

about the project

Our clients at The Pittsburgh foundation approached us to find ways in which a technological innovation could help promote responsible philanthropy. Through months of research, ideation and testing, Rematch was created. A responsive web based service for community foundations which enables robust data-driven matchmaking between grants and donor interests.
“Not just in our foundation but even in the nonprofit community there is a recognition of the fact that the internal systems we use are clunky and there is a need for a better process and flow to do matchmaking.”
- Grants Manager
Channel disparate data
Rematch retrieves and displays data from 4 disparate systems in an organised and easy to navigate manner.
Propose donor-grant matches
A specialised algorithm recommends matches of donors to grants, taking into consideration donors' past giving, coded interests, and available funds.
Break down silos within the foundation
Rematch helps bridge gaps between Grants and Donor Services teams, bringing departments on the same page.
Rematch aims to maximise impact
The Foundation matched $176,184 to community needs through the COVID-19 Action Fund, but Rematch empowers them to increase this amount significantly with a more streamlined matchmaking process.
View Interactive Prototype

the process

With Responsible Philanthropy at its core our clients approached us with these key business goals
  • A donor-focussed service to encourage their donors to donate responsibly.
  • Providing more personalised recommendations to their donors. 
  • Automating routine tasks of data entry and manipulation.
Our discovery phase consisted of research through:
  • 500+ sources of secondary research (literature reviews, analogous domain, etc.),
  • Conducting 50+ user interviews (observe-and-intercept, contextual inquiries, semi structured),
  • Ideating and Testing 9 storyboards by speed dating with donors,
  • Synthesising our research through affinity mapping,
  • and, modelling and mapping the existing systems and 70+ stakeholders.
After analysing and synthesising, we concluded these key findings:
Tangible donations leads to more rewarding philanthropy.
When the impact of a donor's giving is tangible, they’re more likely to seek further opportunities to engage in philanthropy.
Donors cherish their personal contact with the Foundation.
They value their human connection with the Foundation in an age when everyone is inundated with technology.
Collaboration leads to responsible giving.
When people come together to discuss philanthropy, they make rational and empathetic decisions through the back-and-forth of conversation.
I don’t know why you have such an emphasis on using technology (...) communicating with other donors. There are professional people right at the foundation you can talk to, I would rather prefer (doing) that.”
- Donor of the foundation
All our findings and research prompted us to pivot our focus from the initial brief of a donor focussed service, to creating a better matchmaking process for the Foundation instead.
Through discussions brainstorming with our clients, we identified the following pain points
Lack of nuanced donor interest data to be able to make better grant recommendations.
Manual data manipulation and data entry to retrieve and use data makes matchmaking a tedious process and increases the chance of human error.
Inconsistencies in data in the system leads to Donor Services Officers relying more on their mental rolodex of donors to make recommendations.

Rose Bud Thorn activity with our clients to identify positives (roses), pain points (thorns), and opportunities (buds) in the existing matchmaking process.

Guided by our insights and research, we followed an iterative approach of synthesising, modelling, ideating, designing, testing, and repeating for our design process.
Matchmaking tracker was the match.
The concept of a tracker allowed them to track the progress of a grant, get grant updates, and improve communication with the Grants team. A key design decision here was to incorporate a donor profile, an integral part of the tracker which provides a snapshot of the donor and streamline the process of retrieving information.
Gaining insights into the thought process.
The mid fidelity concept tests gave us a better understanding of the DSOs thought process when they make grant recommendations. A key design decision here was allowing DSOs to easily manipulate lists and save grants to be able to send multiple grants at once.
While I enjoyed doing research for this project and domain, I led the team in creating the final design.
As part of the final design, I : 
  • led the process of creating the mood board and logo for the service as well as the visual and brand identity
  • developed the colour and text styles that align with The Pittsburgh Foundation's brand
  • built the information architecture for the screens and established the visual hierarchy
  • created the design system for the service from scratch and built out the interactions for the final prototype
To know more about the design details and specs head over to this Behance case study here.

project highlights

From the kickoff meeting with our clients at their office in downtown Pittsburgh
These are not candid shots but actual laughs - we really do crack each other up! 😂
When we could not have a fun photoshoot in person we would do it over zoom!
A socially distanced team social post the completion of our project ❤️