What Is Give Ozarks, Anyway?
Now officially declared Give Ozarks Day by the Springfield mayor himself, May 5 is the date of an annual 24-hour online fundraising event benefiting nonprofit organizations that partner with Community Foundation of the Ozarks. Using the power of crowdfunding, nonprofits from across southern Missouri come together to raise funds for their own causes, compete for matched donations and hourly prizes, and be part of a one-day surge in generosity from around the state (and even beyond). Tuesday, May 5 was the first-ever Give Ozarks Day, but thanks to its success, it certainly won’t be the last.
Goals: Low Stress, High Function and Interactive Charm
In the fall of 2014, Community Foundation of the Ozarks came to us with a plan to launch one spectacular day of online community-driven funding and asked us to head up the website design and build. We accepted without batting an eyelash, not only because we’d worked with CFO before and had a great relationship, but because we wanted to play a crucial role in something we knew would be of incredible benefit to the region we call home.
After some discussion, our goals for the website added up to the following:
- Cater to any and all generations of website users.
- Allow for CFO matching grants.
- Provide detailed reports to be used for tallying totals every hour.
- Give agencies the control they needed to update donors and potential donors on the fly.
- Ensure server stability to handle large spikes of traffic.
Strategy: A Powerhouse System With a Simple Storefront
After establishing our goals, the path was clear for us to create a website that made use of the following elements:
- the ability for each participating agency to set up its own profile page—complete with a digital contact card, multimedia embeds, and a comprehensive header that displayed the total amount donated to the agency next to a prominent donate option
- a “leaderboard” table of agencies receiving the top amount of donations, viewable on the home page
- an extremely user-friendly design, complete with interactive illustrations and updatable notification bars for users to see throughout the day
A User-Friendly, Interactive Design
To eliminate any confusion and let users get right down to business, our designers created a simple, intuitive interface that makes it easy to donate. And to put donors’ minds at ease, we opted to integrate the system with Stripe payment processing due to its easy and secure checkout process. The responsive design allowed users to donate with just a few clicks on devices of all sizes.
Seeing the system Mostly Serious built help raise such an impactful sum in a single day was beyond gratifying for our team.
A Comprehensive, Multi-Functional Backend
To accommodate messaging from 140 different agencies, we built administrative tools that allow individual agencies the freedom to pitch their fundraising needs with their own voices. The agency profiles featured photos and videos targeted to their specific audiences as well as real-time update alerts, letting agencies notify their followers of any available matches. The agency toolset also gave agencies the option to send email messages to their donors, following up on their progress and thanking everyone for their contributions.
In addition to agency-level tools, Give Ozarks required administrative resources for the CFO team. To divvy out prizes based on donations, CFO ran our comprehensive reports every hour on the hour. Their administrative tools also featured sitewide alerts, letting them announce those hourly prizes to all website visitors. Finally, the administrative tools ensured CFO could pre-load its own matching grants as well as donations in the form of physically mailed checks.
A Stable, Dependable Infrastructure
We deployed the Give Ozarks website on the open-source cluster manager Apache Mesos, which enabled the website to handle requests across a cluster of servers. To ensure the servers could handle large spikes of traffic, we ran hundreds of tests leading up to the release and simulated in excess of 20,000,000 requests with 10,000 concurrent users. We basically abused our infrastructure to ensure we would have no problems handling the anticipated traffic volume five times over.
For additional info on the Give Ozarks event, check out the press: