Rethinking the way we talk about volunteer experiences

Expertise

User experience

Design

Branding and strategy

Deliverables

Brand identity

Design System

Desktop and mobile interface

Platforms

Web environment

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Inspiration for change

Julio Melguizo and Chema Garilleti are two entrepreneurs whose personal training was particularly marked by the experiences they had as volunteers. Years later, aware of how these experiences have positively impacted them, and after having successful careers in consulting firms like McKinsey or leading outstanding projects like Auto24 in Portugal and Spain, they want to give back to the world part of what they received through their volunteering. And thus, mapayuda was born, an independent collection of volunteer experiences. A place where you can find all kinds of volunteer experiences and calls to sign up to volunteer, with the objective of inspiring, publicising and improving access to these volunteer programmes.

Experiences, without filters

The founders were aware of a problem in the way that NGOs share stories about the experiences of their volunteers. There is a large number of filters that the stories go through, as well as surrounding noise which distracts from the naturalness and honesty that should prevail in these spaces: to inspire people to take part by telling them about real experiences. Julio and Chema wanted to show the full value of these experiences, highlighting their brilliance and special nature, but also their rawness. 


The goal was clear: to create a platform independent from any other organisation, in which volunteers could talk about their experiences in a natural and comfortable way, without censorship. In creating this space, people who are thinking about becoming volunteers can feel inspired and get to know a community of people who are willing to help them and give them the extra motivation they may need.

To inspire and be inspired

The platform’s objective was to connect two types of people: those who have already volunteered and want to inspire others, and those who are wondering whether to take that step and need a bit of reassurance. We developed mapayuda as a meeting place for people who want to help others. From there we built a visual identity that adhered to the brand’s vision and was capable of bringing the two groups that made up the community together in one all-encompassing brand image. 


The visual codes had to be friendly, using organic resources that portrayed the world of volunteering in a more casual way. We used references from the world of Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, the mountains, camps and all of those places where friendships are made and unique experiences are lived. From there, we rethought those codes to create an identity that portrays companionship and a one of a kind experience. 

A place to read and tell

Understanding the volunteer experience as a fundamental element of the product, we focused on making the writing and reading experience on the platform as enjoyable as possible. To do that we decided to go for a simple layout with few distractions, in which photos and texts could alternate to guide the reader through the different aspects of the volunteer’s adventure. We did that without forgetting to convey the casual tone of mapayuda, which we applied in very subtle ways throughout the paragraphs.


For the writing we wanted the process to be as organic as possible. We wanted to create a space where one’s thoughts could easily flow, with as few hindrances as possible. We thought it was important that the user could have a look at what the final story would look like while they were writing it, and that from there they could easily add extra resources like photos or quotes and could format the text.

Inspiration as experience

Feeling inspired also has a more experiential part, as you witness stories and are transported to the place where they are unfolding. We needed to help the user find experiences in their own way, exploring and researching. To do this, we created an interactive map in which the reader could move around the world, discovering new stories and accessing the reading easily. In this way, we were able to make the volunteer discovery phase a deeper and more inspiring online experience. 

To enrich this moment of discovery in mapayuda even more, we designed an interactive search engine aimed at helping undecided visitors find stories adapted to their own possibilities. Through an ingenious filtering system we managed to inspire very different people.

Community and growth

From the beginning we knew that mapayuda didn’t make sense without people willing to tell their stories, nor without people willing to read them, and that is why we emphasised the feeling of community across the platform. Beyond creating points of contact between users via a system of comments or user profiles, we designed a series of stickers that we allocated to each volunteer experience, classifying them according to the World Sustainable Development Goals. For every volunteer who writes their story, a sticker is added to their profile which corresponds to their experience, adding another level of motivation in the community as people strive to achieve these stickers.