/ Self-Initiated Project, 2020
/ Art Direction
/ Brand, Graphic, Product Design
Over the course of 3 months, I worked with two talented friends, Unzi Park (developer) and Grace Noh (UX designer), to build SheFunds in honor of International Women’s Month. SheFunds is a website where you can donate to a nonprofit supporting women in various ways and receive limited edition merchandise for your donations.
This website contains an array of nonprofits that are making important contributions in the realms of women's health, women's education, sexual violence, women in the arts, and LGBTQA+.
As a donor, you can navigate through our list of vetted nonprofits, learn about and select a nonprofit to donate to, and receive rewards in the form merchandise (pins, stickers, and/or posters). We donate 100% of profits to the organization of your choice.
(Update: Website is closed as of 5/2020, with tentative plans to reopen next year. In the meantime, you can visit our prototype):
My main role in this three person led project was the creative direction of the SheFunds brand and website, along with the graphic art for the merchandise, social media posts, and website images and animations. Apart from this main responsibility, I helped with the process of researching and vetting nonprofits, creating a working model and product flow for our donation-to-reward process, and contacting manufacturers for the merchandise. This involved heavily evaluating all the different pin, poster, and sticker manufacturers available to use and creating new relationships with certain businesses to drive our project into fruition.
There were three main types of merchandise I designed as rewards for donors who would support nonprofits through our site: pins, posters, and stickers. The posters and stickers came in two categories: general or cause-specific.
11"x17" on semi-gloss paper
3" x 3" or smaller, vinyl stickers
1" x 1.5" or smaller, soft enamel pins with rubber backing
Social Media Post Designs:
These posts were designed to help explain and spread the word about SheFunds.
More posts available on our instagram page @shefundslive
A short animation made to reflect how our nonprofits are carefully vetted before being chosen.
Another short animation illustrating how 100% of profits are donated directly to the nonprofit of your choice.
Why Did We Create SheFunds?
When we began, we decided to focus on helping nonprofits that support women. After observing and having conversations with the people around us, we identified some core problems when it comes to donating to charities:
Lack of exposure
Today, people who wish to donate to causes supporting women cannot because they lack exposure to different types of women nonprofits.
Lack of information
People who are willing to donate lack information about issues women face today and the tangible impact that nonprofits have.
Lack of incentive
People who are capable of donating don’t see enough incentive to spend time and money donating nonprofits that support causes they care about.
With these problem statements in mind, we decided to create a platform that increases exposure to nonprofits, provides information to help donors make informed donations, and incentivizes donations through special rewards.
How It Works
1. Learning about the causes
When a donor goes to shefunds.live, they’ll be presented with our five causes around women: Women in the Arts, Women’s Education, Women’s Health, LGBTQA+, and Sexual Violence. When viewing a cause, the donor can see facts about the cause, special SheFunds merchandise for that cause, and the nonprofits we feature around that cause.
Web Design: Final Design Comps
Instagram stories as shared by friends and donors
2. Choosing a nonprofit
When viewing nonprofits, a donor can see more information about the nonprofit’s mission, services provided, recent impact, and financials (spending and source of contributions). We source this information from places like Charity Navigator, nonprofit tax forms (990), and the nonprofit’s website. After the donor reviews this information and decides that this is a nonprofit they’d like to support, they can donate.
3. Donating to a nonprofit
When donating, the donor can choose from several donation amounts that will result in various rewards. For example, a $35 donation will give donors two rewards: a vinyl sticker and enamel pin. Then they’ll choose which rewards they want from our limited edition collection.
Our collection consists of both general rewards and cause-specific rewards that are specially designed for the cause you’re donating to. For example, if you’re donating to a nonprofit that’s listed under the “Women in the Arts” cause, you’ll get to choose amongst all of the general rewards and the “Women in the Arts” cause-specific rewards.
After the rewards step, donors will input their shipping address, payment method, and review before donating. We decided to tack on shipping and tax fees on top of the donation amount to donate as much of our profits as possible directly to the selected nonprofit.
4. Getting rewards & sharing
After donations are made, we package up the rewards and ship them to donors within 1–2 weeks. Once the rewards arrive, we encourage donors to share pictures of them sporting their new merchandise and posting it on social media to share with friends and family. Word of mouth has been the best way of marketing for us so far. 🗣
Given the amount of work we achieved in a short time period, I’d like to shed a little light on our process of building SheFunds. Even though we each had our strengths, all of us ended up wearing multiple hats at some point during the process. For instance, I had to familiarize myself with various manufacturing companies for pins, stickers, and prints while being responsible for the creative direction of SheFunds and the merchandise design.
1. Vetting nonprofits
At the beginning, we spent a lot of time looking at various nonprofits checking how impactful they’ve been in recent years and how they spend their money. We set certain criteria that nonprofits had to meet in order to be listed on our site. One was something called program expense ratio, which is the percentage of a nonprofit’s expense that goes directly to their programs versus towards management and fundraising expenses. We only considered nonprofits with program expense ratios greater than 75%, which was our way of determining how fiscally efficient they are.
Our excel spreadsheet of nonprofit finances from tax form 990
2. Iterating feedback
Throughout the process, we were constantly asking and listening for feedback. The feedback we received was instrumental in making certain decisions for the website and the merchandise.
Feedback on Website
To give an example, our first iteration of the “Select amount” donation step was an image selection that indicated the type of reward you would like, which then determined the amount.
But this was confusing to people when they got to the “Select rewards” step, because they thought they had just selected their rewards, when in fact they were just selecting the amount. So we iterated on the design and decided to go with a radio button selection:
Feedback on Merchandise
As an example, below is my first iteration for my stickers for the women's health and women's education causes, respectively. The feedback I received was that some were only able to recognize the connection between the image and the cause after reading which cause it stood for, and that it was not intuitively apparent.
To avoid this confusion, I decided to include cause-related key words on the sticker itself, in addition to the graphic illustrations alluding to the cause. I also changed the style of the sticker to create consistency with the rest of the SheFunds brand.
3. Packaging & shipping
Since we needed to package and ship rewards to donors, there was manual labor involved in the process too. For every SheFunds donation, we carefully (and sanitarily) packaged rewards with love. There was definitely a learning curve to this aspect, but once we got our assembly line down, it got easier after each package. We also ran into some difficulties getting our pins manufactured in time and getting shipping labels printed due to COVID-19, which resulted in orders being delayed. We’re just glad we learned from those difficulties and that our donors were so patient when waiting for their rewards.
Tools & Platforms Used
We couldn’t have done it without using essential tools and platforms to communicate, build, and deliver SheFunds. Here are the tools and platforms we used:
Facebook Messenger (for communication)
Google Drive (for documents, sheets, storing images)
Charity Navigator (for looking up nonprofit data)
Node/Express, React, & Heroku (for building and hosting the website)
Stripe (for payments)
Figma (for UX design)
Illustrator (for graphic design)
After Effects (for animations)
PinGameStrong (for manufacturing enamel pins)
Sticker Mule (for printing stickers)
Pirate Ship (for creating shipping labels)
Instagram, Facebook, Twitter (for marketing)
Reflecting on the few months working on SheFunds, I am so proud of the work we accomplished together as a team. We had originally planned to keep the website open for the month of March only, but decided to extend it throughout April, as we were still receiving donations and word was spreading. In total, we were able to raise about $2,500 for the nonprofits that were listed on our directory, all through individual donations.
The majority of the time spent working on the project went towards building the actual product - from the website to the merchandise, along with getting to know the manufacturing process. We are hoping to re-launch an improved version of SheFunds for the following International Women's Day in year 2021. For the second time around, I would like for us to spend more time marketing and spreading the word about SheFunds to widen our impact, and am hopeful that this will be possible given much of the groundwork has already been built. As the graphic designer of the team, I also hope to create fresh designs that will resonate even more with our user base for our second round.
All in all, I am grateful for the people around us that were so supportive throughout this journey and who made a donation. I hope to continue to collaborate with individuals who are utilizing their skills and talents for social impact.