Self initiated
June 2018
  • Individual project
My Role
  • User Research
  • Desk Research
  • Concepting
  • Interaction Design
  • Expert Interviews
  • Testing
  • Visual Design
  • Prototyping
An attempt at reducing poverty by changing the child sponsorship experience.

In East Asia, the adoption of excellent economic policies, investment in industries, health and people’s education resulted in high economic growth which lowered the percentage of people living in poverty from 60% in 1990 to only 4.1% in 2015. But bringing the last 4.1% out of poverty has proven to be difficult despite economic growth.

My hope is to provide a design solution that targets the people who can’t directly be brought out of poverty through economic policies (such as the 4.1% mentioned above).


The primary target group is people who have disposable income and are fairly digitally savvy. This would be people in the age group of 25-35 but could also include other age groups who meet the criteria.

I started off with user research.

I wanted to understand peoples’ motivations in donating to charity, what are the current problems they are face in donating, understand what could be done to encourage more people to donate to charity and why some people don’t donate any money despite saying they want to make a difference in the world. These were some of my key findings.


Transparency is the biggest concern for all users. This results in a lack of trust which lowers the size and frequency of their donations.

Process + Feedback

Users also complained about not getting any feedback after they make a donation. Feedback typically takes months and users are not happy with this.


Several users mentioned that they simply forget to donate. There is nothing reminding them to do it.

Social aspect

Several users said they were affected by their friends and the chances of them donating would be higher if they knew their friends did it.


Some users forget to donate whereas others are very conscious of donating and make it a point to donate every once in a while.


Users preferred feedback once in 2-4 weeks rather than the months that they have to wait for right now.

Based on my interviews, I created personas.

Ádám Bogdán


Donates for moral reasons and a sense of responsibility.

Is influenced by friends.

Is moderately skeptical and doesn’t fully trust charities.

Doesn’t forget to donate. Doesn’t need an external reminder.

Orshi Drozdik


Donates to solve social problems like inequality.

Is not influenced by friends.

Is very skeptical and doesn’t doesn’t fully trust charities.

Often forgets to donate partly because the lack of trust makes it less of a priority.

Péter Gulácsi


Does not donate but would like to for improving the world.

Is influenced by friends sometimes.

Is moderately skeptical and doesn’t fully trust charities.


Problems and Needs

No feedback after donating which doesn’t build trust.

Wants more engagement.

Not happy with proof of usage of money. Would be happy with collective proof. Doesn’t need hard transparency.

Prefers information on a monthly basis.

Doesn’t necessarily need a known contact in the charity but would feel better if there was one.

Problems and Needs

Gets feedback after months which doesn’t build trust.

Wants more engagement.

Not happy with proof of usage of money. Wants individual proof and needs hard transparency.

Prefers information on a weekly or bi-monthly basis.

Strongly prefers having a known contact in the charity or being recommended by someone she trusts.

Problems and Needs



Skeptical but is ok with any kind of transparency if he knows money is being used well.

Unsure how often he would need information/proof.

Doesn’t necessarily need a known contact in the charity but would feel better if there was one or if someone who trusted it recommended one.

Next, I looked at the generational cycle of poverty in my desk research.

Most charities tried to break the generational cycle of poverty by focusing on children. The objective is to get one generation out of poverty and consequently all future generations too. But studies showed that focusing on two generations is more effective than focusing only on children.

So I went back to interview the participants again and to find out if they would be willing to donate to anyone other than just the children.


None of the users were willing to donate to parents. Reasons cited were alcoholism, abuse, not having the children’s best interests in mind and poor use of money.


All of the users were willing to donate to community based projects. Reasons cited were that this would hep everyone including the children.


The question I had asked myself previously was 'how can I reduce poverty by changing the experience of sponsoring children?' But for a wicked problem, this statement was too broad. With new knowledge gained from research, I had to reframe my problem and limit the scope.

How do I design trust, transparency, engagement and social influence in the donation process of a charity?

A digital platform that incorporates a blockchain based payment system to bring hard transparency to the donation process and frequently provides rich content about the children and projects being sponsored.

Key pillars of the concept


By providing the rich content and showcasing the growth of the child, the objective is to create greater empathy and a stronger bond between the donor and the child which will hopefully encourage the donor to sponsor the child for a longer duration.


The blockchain based payments part of the concept focuses on hard transparency. The objective of this is to increase trust in the system and solve the users' biggest problems. But an increase in transparency does not provide any indication if poverty is actually being reduced or not.


Since transparency alone is not a measure of reduced poverty, the content part of the concept focuses on showing the growth and improvement of children and communities. This is done through other metrics like the growth of the child, health, increase in job skills, improvement in education, etc.


The content also serves as an external trigger - a reminder that there is an urgent need in the world for the donor to act. Based on user research, this should encourage users like Orshi Drozdik who are forgetful and remind them to donate more frequently.

What does this look like?

The final visual design for the donor side app.

Home screen

The home screen shows an overview of the total amount the user is donated and an overview of all the sponsored children and projects’ latest updates.

Sponsor screen

The tab at the top lets the user choose between donating to children or communities. Users can then go through a number of children and communities awaiting sponsorship.

Child View screen (after sponsoring)

Updates provide the latest updates whereas progress describes how the charity’s and child’s work is matching the poverty metrics. Transactions show all of the charity’s expenses which were meant for that child or project.

Payment wallet

The charity’s payment wallet which will be updated live in real time.

How does this work though?

This platform has two apps. A donor side app and a charity side app.


The donor side app is a mobile app meant for the donors. The app displays the content related to the sponsored children and communities and the payments made between the users, the charity and the vendors.


The charity side app (currently not designed) functions as a data collection tool that will then be displayed in the donor side app. The content will be categorised and will allow batch filling of multiple fields of multiple children to reduce the time a charity employee has to spend interacting with the app.

This platform is to charities what WordPress is to websites or what Facebook pages are to businesses.

It provides an easy way for charities to upload and display their content.

Who collects this content

and how is it collected?


The co-ordinator/teacher/person-in-contact collects this information and adds it to the interface. The backend interface will be designed to have prefilled categorised templates which would also allow for batch updates of multiple children. For e.g. if a teacher is responsible for filling this, he/she could simply fill the information for 25 children in one go. Like Krisztián (and 25 others) studied the life of Napoleon in History class.


User research indicated that users want updates on a fortnightly to a monthly basis. Based on a batch size of 50 children, a co-ordinator will only have to collect a piece of information from a maximum of 5 children in a day. With prefilled templates already available, the co-ordinator wouldn’t have to type out information every single time.

Content will be provided in these areas


What did the child study today? Which subjects? What scores did he/she receive in the weekly test? Report cards and grades.


Did the child fall sick? What exactly happened? What is the height and weight of the child? (relevant if the children are young and growing quickly)

Hobbies + activities

Is he/she learning to play a musical instrument? Perhaps updates playing sports or reading a book.

Other updates

A drawing (or anything else) the child did. What new clothes have been bought using the sponsor’s money? Occasional videos of the child.

Job skills

For teenagers, progress on the new job skills they are learning, what did they learn that week, etc.


For community projects, short stories from people whose lives will be impacted by the project.

Updates on progress

For community projects, images and videos on the construction progress.

After completion reports

For community projects, updates and stories on the way peoples’ lives have changed because of the project.

Wireframe exploration and testing

I tried out multiple wireframe options. Some of them are shown here.

Home screen

After user tests showed that the design on the left was not very useful for the users, I created the design on the right to provide more of an overview on the home screen.

Testing more layouts

I tested two card based layouts for the home page. The design on the left shows information that is sorted by time whereas the design on the right shows bundled information for each child or project that the user has missed.

Sponsor child screen

I experimented with a card swiping style for the sponsor screen. After overwhelmingly negative feedback, I stuck to a simple design as shown on the right.

Child view screen

I also A/B tested the child view screen and the design on the right with tabs was found to be easier to use than the one on the left.