Your Change

A new micro-donation app non-profit organizations to connect with the younger generation.

Lead UX Designer & Project Manager, Branding  /  2022


Your Change is a micro-giving platform founded by three partners from a local Church. Their intentions were to educate the members of their organization on the value of giving, no matter the size of the contribution.

The team came to us with a name and a general concept for their passion project. The idea is that it doesn’t matter what someone donates to an organization, just that they give. Giving even just a penny will help a person further connect themselves to the organization and its mission. Because a lot of people don’t quite realize that, they just don’t give at all. The Your Change team wanted to change that by reinforcing the value of giving itself, and not the dollar amount that comes with it.

The Problem

The Your Change team realized that only a small percentage of their millennial and younger congregants made any sort of contribution when the giving tray came around during services. To the Your Change team, it’s not just about how much someone gives. Someone may give $2,000, while another person may give $5, or nothing. What we found is that those demographics of millennials and younger don’t give at all because they feel as if their contributions don’t matter. In their mind, if they can’t give an amount large enough to make any difference, why give at all?

What the Your Change team wants to help people understand is that giving just some change will help someone further connect themselves to the mission of the organization. So how might we allow people to give the difference to their organization, even if it’s a few pennies? How might we instill that sense of connection through donation of any size? How can we show any donor that their contribution, no matter how large, really makes a difference and goes a long way? These are some of the questions we kept in our heads throughout this project, with the ultimate goal of designing a product that will increase the percentage of millennial and younger congregants who make contributions.

The Solution

The Your Change mobile app delivers an engaging and interactive platform for people to not only give the difference, but to see the way their contributions have made an impact, too. Our team worked closely with the clients to capture the essence of what it means to give, and translate that into the product experience.

Jump to Process

Simple, Purpose Driven

The big picture for Your Change was to allow people to make small contributions that they are comfortable with to organizations whose values align with their own. Users just connect to an organization, and make a contribution every time they use their card.

Appreciating Every Contribution

A key part of the app design was incorporating the mission of the Your Change brand into the experience. The app intends to have the most important features of a finance app, accompanied by positive feedback and a reinforcement of the idea that your difference made a real difference. No matter the size of the contribution, it is seen as the next building block in the prosperity of an organization.

Making a Lasting Difference

It’s hard to believe that a few cents can really make any impact. That’s why people can explore a visual representation of how their contributions have accumulated over time. When you see it, you’ll really believe it!

Telling the World Your Mission

Organization leaders can let their contributors know what their money is going towards, and can update it whenever they’d like. That way, people can really understand how they are helping, and that their contributions are part of something that will have a real impact.

Seeing Who Has Taken the Next Step

Your Change started with the goal of helping more people take the next step to connect to their organization through giving. That’s why we make it clear for Organization leaders to see when that step was taken. It’s a big deal, and deserves the lovin’!

Accessing the Right Resources and Tools

The whole experience doesn’t just exist within the phone. Organization leaders are provided with the right tools and resources to educate their communities and help them get started.

How We Got There

After getting aligned with each of the stakeholders (your change team, business ops, development, creative) in initial meetings, I did some competitive research to look at what other round up donation companies were doing. We looked at apps that let you donate, and apps that let you roundup, like Acorns. We also looked at apps like RoundUp, which lets you make roundup donations, and that is pretty much exactly what we were going for, too.

But how do we stand out? There were a few apps like RoundUp that are already pretty established. What can make ours better? Something that I really enjoyed about this project was the ability to incorporate the brand messaging into the experience. I wanted to make sure that we captured the value of making a contribution of any size, which was their team’s motive as well. Then, we wanted to build the experience around that idea.

We wanted to focus on what sort of visualization can capture the essence of every contribution making an impact. How can people see, and immerse themselves in some fun interaction or animation that shows their contribution making an impact? And then how can we shape the experience around this idea? I thought about balloons, that rise up a bit higher every time you make a contribution, and you can see everyone else’s balloons rise with yours as you all contribute. That was too focused on the individual, not the community. Similarly, we thought about a single coin just dropping into a pile of coins. That didn’t emphasize the impact of giving, though. We also thought about pathfinder rock stacks. If you’re not familiar, it’s those vertical stacks of flat rocks you see when on a hike.

Then, we thought of just doing blocks. When building a wall, every block matters, right? And every block is important, yet no block really has greater importance than the other. The blocks at the bottom are as important as the ones near the top. Got it! Every contribution is a building block for change! That was it! It’s simple, to the point. And people will be able to see their “building block” fall into place amongst the others.

Now sometimes, the experience and brand are sort of built separately. Different teams, different areas of expertise. As I mentioned before, we definitely wanted to mesh the two, because that was a key differentiator for this app in a sea of roundup donation apps. Other apps are dry, standard. Ours will be fun, interactive, and impactful.

Understanding the Flow

With these concepts in mind, and both the business constraints and the key problems they brought to the table, I made an initial user flow to demonstrate how the app will work. The app will allow the user to accomplish the following tasks:

1. Donors can create an account, and connect to an organization of their choice.

2. They will be set up to make roundup contributions on the card they connect through Plaid during onboarding.

3. They can also make an instant donation to any organization in the app.

4. They can see their giving trends over time, and how it has added up.

5. They can see what their money is going towards.

6. Organizations can sign up, and add information about themselves.

7. Organizations can access resources to get donors to connect with them on Your Change, like a QR code to print out for events, and other educational resources.

8. Organizations could see who took the step by making their first contribution, and also see giving trends over time for instant donations, roundup donations, and total contributions.

We brought this user flow diagram to the Your Change team, and walked through it with them, sharing the branding as well, and the justification for the decisions made. They thought it all made sense, and we discussed the feedback and changes to be made.

1. Donors should be able to also set up an organization and vice versa. Good point.

2. Organizations should be able to have admins, so multiple people could access resources, donor info and history, etc.

Getting Feedback Quickly

We made the changes, created a wireframe, and tested it on some people. Fortunately, there were people in the office that were members of organizations like the one that the Your Change team was involved in. They also fit into the millennial/gen-z demographic.

We focused on the primary tasks in the app, such as:

Setting up an account and connecting to an organization

Making a donation

Seeing how much you’ve given

Connecting to a different organization

and disabling roundups

We wanted to make sure it made sense to them, it was easy to use, and we wanted to get general impressions on the interactive pieces as well.

We had designed a sort of unique way to navigate between the screens (at the top) to accommodate bottom sheets on some of the pages, and gauged its intuitiveness in our conversations. We also had a completely separate page just for users to immerse themselves in some sort of visualization, but for times sake we wound up just keeping this as a background animation, and centering the home page between the giving trends page and the connected organization page to be one swipe away from both.

The feedback was great. They said it was cool, unique, and easy to navigate. We also did some mini AB tests on some of the functionality and action buttons to see which was more effective and intuitive. Of course, our sample sizes weren’t huge, but from the feedback we had we were able to go in one direction or the other.

After iterating on the design a few times and making tweaks based on feedback we received from potential end users, we brought it back to the Your Change team. I spared no detail in walking through every screen, edge case, and use case, to make sure we didn’t miss anything. The only feedback we got was genuine excitement, which was a great feeling! One of the people from the Your Change team said they were in tears. While that is not a typical reaction when looking at wireframes, he was seeing his passion project come to life, and how much thought had been going into each detail.

Bringing it to Life

Now it was time to create the high fidelity prototype, and write up the UI functionality documentation so we can get it to development.

We had one final meeting with the team before going into development to walk through their app. We wanted to show them animations, interactions, how different things will work, the changes we implemented, the resource documents that I had teammates on the Creative team put together, and why we made certain decisions. We also explained different constraints with Plaid and Stripe, and what that meant for the experience.

After a really fun three months of research, brainstorming, multiple stakeholder meetings, usability testing, concept testing, and prototyping, we arrived at version 1 of Your Change.

I prepared a detailed outline of interaction specs for the dev team to ensure every swipe/tap/animation was as designed and that the Your Change experience would be seamless and connect with the young target audience.

Next Steps

I will update this case study in a few months with key results, and will be measuring:

1. An increase in the number of millenial/gen-z congregants who are making contributions to their organization, now through the app

2. Consistent monthly active users (roundups enabled) after the first initial wave when they announce the new app during services

Moving forward, we will want to iterate on the design to enable users to connect to multiple organizations that their values align with to make roundup contributions.

What I Learned

For me, it was a really interesting project because we got to experiment with different ways to find a harmony between the brand messaging with the experience itself, which was key for distinguishing Your Change in a market where plenty of roundup apps already exist.

Looking back, I do wish we spent more time really researching the space, and trying to dig deeper into the motives–or lack thereof–of the millennial and younger demographics and what may get them to donate to an organization they associate with. I also wish we had more data up front about who is contributing to establish benchmarks, but since a lot of that information is offline, it would be difficult to have collected that data given the time frame of the project. Time was a major constraint, but doing a more thorough discovery in the earlier stages to understand the problem space and opportunities is always important for building something that people will really want to use.

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