Social Good Connect creates a digital, meaningful Connection for Good between the sectors.
Social Good Connect is a digital search and match platform that connects employees with physical and virtual volunteering opportunities for a wide variety of charities across the UK.
It’s the brainchild of entrepreneurial Scottish businesswoman Caroline McKenna, whose vision for Social Good Connect was “to act as connectors for good, building bridges across private, public, and third sectors. We wanted to create a platform that intelligently matches employees from the private sector with volunteer opportunities suited to their skills, hobbies, and passions. Much more than a searchable self-serve database, our aim was to offer employees complete freedom to choose activities that feed their soul, develop their skills, and allow them to give back on their own terms.”
As a Scottish tech for good start-up, the company is a purpose-led social enterprise. Using a Sales-as-a-Service model, businesses can sign up for a monthly membership on one of three different levels.
“We spent some time researching digital agencies across Scotland. We’d had a few recommendations, but when we came across Vidatec, it was their purpose and values that really resonated and their desire to create ‘digital experiences that improve lives’. It was a perfect fit for our business. It’s extremely important to us that we collaborate with organisations who believe what we believe.”
As a start-up platform, everything needed to be designed and built from scratch. The Social Good Connect website also needed to be designed and developed, serving to promote the benefits, offer a way for Social Good Connect to engage with their audience, and provide employee volunteers with direct access to the platform.
The original timeline changed suddenly as a result of the pandemic. The Vidatec team needed to respond quickly to Social Good Connect’s new, accelerated plan to launch six months early in May 2020.
The Vidatec team kicked off the project with a design and discovery workshop. The web app was developed using a React front end and Node.js backend component. There was also the added challenge, as is the case with many start-ups, of working without brand guidelines or branded assets. This didn’t stop the UX/UI design team: they worked with the logo, font, and colour palette within their concept designs.
The vision was clear. It was a priority to translate this into end-user journeys as well as mapping out the specific features required to achieve minimum value product (MVP).
The result of this first step gave the Social Good Connect team a high-level prototype, which helped to determine the minimum value product (MVP) before starting any development on building the platform.
The outputs from the visioning workshop supported the funding application to Scottish Enterprise. To establish the key feature set, we facilitated/guided the Social Good Connect team to make informed decisions about the technology solution.
As part of the development, our team developed code to support location-based search enabling volunteers to find opportunities close to them and suited to their skills.
The platform also allows for businesses to pay monthly/annually through an integration with Stripe.
Social Good Connect has quickly attracted interest from private and public sector organisations throughout the country – so much so that Caroline was named as a finalist at the 2020 FutureX Startup Summit awards in October 2020.
Forth Valley College, Ooni, Grant Thornton, Baillie Gifford, Morton Fraser, Insights, DC Thomson, and Gleneagles Hotel are among the employers already signed up to the platform.
Employees and charities report that the platform is easy to use and simple to navigate. Business users are happy to be able to support their employees to volunteer on their own terms, and to be able to measure their impact and get to know their team’s passions a little better through the reporting dashboard, while non-profits have been relieved to be able to access high quality volunteers so easily.
Craig Nicol, managing partner of the law firm Thorntons, said, “What makes the platform different and appealing is that it matches employees with causes that matter to them and helps them find specific opportunities to volunteer in that area. Half the work is already done for you once you’ve entered your profile. Joining the platform has channelled our community spirit in a more organised way.”
Social Good Connect aims to grow across the UK and beyond, as well as continuing to build and refine the website to ensure maximum volunteer matching capability and, as result, maximum social impact.