From Zero to Crowdfunding Site—Built in Two Sprints

From Zero to Crowdfunding Site—Built in Two Sprints

Tucker Andrews

As American society shifts to reflect the values and perceptions of millennials, there is a growing need to actively consider how young professionals now view charitable contributions, and how they gain a sense of fulfillment through a simple but effective action. We’ve all heard of “sponsoring a child,” which is a traditional model of raising funds for children in need around the globe, but more and more nonprofits are turning to crowdfunding as a way to appeal to millennials for fundraising.

Learning Seed, a new startup under the established parent organization ChildFund International, is testing the notion that millennial givers would rather work together to fund a specific project that impacts children in a particular area—like building a new school facility— instead of supporting a single child through a long-term commitment. This crowdfunding model called for the launch of a new brand, Learning Seed, along with a new website and social media marketing plan, all on a startup budget and within two development sprints, and one marketing sprint.

Using a Scrum-based approach, we worked with them to quickly prioritize features and content, and were able to gauge if we were headed in the right direction sooner rather than later. Here’s a breakdown of the sprints.

Dev Sprint 1

The initial sprint was on a fixed budget with a timeline of two weeks. The goal was to see how much of the out-of-the-box platform could be assembled in that time period. One developer was assigned to the task, using WordPress on Amazon’s cloud and adding plugins such as IgnitionDeck with minimal customization.

Dev Sprint 2

The second stage of development was on a fixed budget with a timeline of about three weeks. The Authentic team enhanced the look and feel of the site and prepared it for launch. This included logo design, a custom homepage design, incorporation of the Backer theme throughout the site, search and sort functions, and SEO optimization tools.

Marketing Sprint 1

In parallel to the two dev sprints, Authentic facilitated several activities including a workshop with Learning Seed to help them better define their objectives, channel approach, and content pillars for social media. This involved choosing the proper social platforms and stories during the site launch. “We tackled a full social strategy and a month’s worth of content in one day. That’s pretty aggressive, but we were able to pull it off,” said Brad Perry, Strategy Lead at Authentic.

Here’s the stack:

  • Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute - EC2
  • Amazon Elastic Load Balancing - ELB
  • Amazon Relational Database Service - RDS
  • Amazon Simple Email Service - SES
  • Amazon Linux Instances - AMI
  • Apache web server
  • MySQL Database
  • PHP programing language
  • WordPress CMS platform
  • IgnitionDeck crowdfunding plugin
  • Stripe payment processing
  • Backer WordPress theme
  • Font Awesome
  • Google Analytics
  • Git source control on was successfully launched on June 8th, 2016. We invite you to click around on their site and see what you think. Who knows? Maybe you’ll decide to help build a school somewhere in Kenya and follow the progress. If nothing else, you can see what a website built on an incredibly fast timeline can look like.

Learn more about Authentic’s capabilities and how we can help your organization accomplish goals with efficiency and agility.