Storyshare – a natural way to build meaningful connections through powerful storytelling.

Winning project of the design challenge conducted by Blackbaud

About this project

Our challenge was to come up with a design solution that will help non-profit organizations achieve their fundraising goals by identifying and visualizing potentially important relationships.

Our Solution

We created a way for non-profit organizations to reach out to potential donors by initiating a story chain about their cause and through a dashboard; track and interact with those who believe in the cause.

My role

I led the visual design and created mockups of our final concept in Sketch app. I also contributed to the sketching and documentation.

Team members

Evan Tank
Zhijian Shi

Time frame

1 week


Understanding the ask

Since this was a new domain for us, it took us a while to understand what Blackbaud was asking for. To understand the problem; we spoke to Blackbaud's designers to ask them about their current product line up, viewed product videos by Blackbaud to see how they tackled the problem currently and did a quick competitive analysis of competing products. The company also provided us with a document that outlined fundraising success which helped us in understanding the domain.

Through the aforementioned activities and some initial exploratory sketching, we were able to understand the problem better and learnt that the current solutions serving in the relationship management space relied too heavily on investor contact information on the web. Another interesting insight we had was the lack of use of social media. Social media brings people together on the internet, and this aspect was missing.

Leveraging storytelling

One of the initial sketches that led us to our core idea

One of the initial sketches that led us to our core idea

When we were sketching out our initial concepts, we kept thinking of ideas that helped the non-profit organization visualize the prospective donor information. But when we looked at one of our very initial sketches, our team thought of a storytelling idea. Humans are good at telling stories, so why not marry that thought with social media and networking? We bounced ideas off each other and did a lot of sketching based around the concept of storytelling. As you will see below, we also used storytelling as a medium to pitch our idea to the company.

We explored multiple concepts with different entry points – some were primarily a mobile app, a social network and even a kickstarter like campaign.

Storyshare solution

How can we reach out to an untapped network which has a strong inclination towards a cause?

While a lot of services today mine social data and other information to show a path to connect to potential donors, our team wanted to take a slightly different approach in reaching potential donors. We identified two parameters to identify people who would be willing to donate : capacity and inclination. It is very hard to find those who have both. So we designed a solution that reaches out to people with the capacity and inclination to donate through people who have strong inclination towards a cause.

Introducing Storyshare – a natural way of building meaningful connections through storytelling

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A non-profit that focuses on sustaining clean drinking water (just an example) is halfway to their fundraising goal to kick off their next project, but they are struggling to maintain and foster relationships with their donors. 

They decide to use StoryShare to find valuable donors that would be likely to stay involved. 

They then go to their computer, log in to StoryShare, and begin to write a new story about their campaign. 

The interface empowers them to write a good story and keep everyone in the loop, while also giving a background to readers who are new to the cause. 

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Story template

Once the story is written.

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After the donor has received the story from the organization, he has the opportunity to add his own thoughts to the ongoing story. 

The donor then publishes his message onto the initial story. He could then share the story to his network consisting of like-minded individuals.

What happens after an existing donor has shared their story?

Once the story is shared and passed around, others in the sharer's network see the sharer's story attached to the original story. This adds a personal touch to the original story and makes it more appealing to the end reader. 

The key takeaway

This project introduced our team to a new space - the world of non-profit organizations. It was a tough concept to begin with, but we learnt a lot by building on our ideas and enjoyed the experience of weaving a story around a concept of story sharing.