Custom D Custom D Student Volunteer Army App

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Director
    Matthew Rhodes
  • Ringatoi Matua / Design Directors
    Mac Teariki, David McLeod
  • Client
    Sam Johnson

The Student Volunteer Army (SVA) proved there is a desire for students to give back to their community. Their organisation has been operating for 10 years and has been hugely successful in Canterbury. However the vision has always been to see volunteering promoted and encouraged to students of all ages everywhere.

In order to scale on that level, more sophisticated methods of engagement and communication had to be developed.

SVA were after a solution that would remove barriers to volunteering and enable a national network of 'SVAs' around New Zealand to power-up and inspire volunteering amongst young people.

We set up a series of design workshops with key stakeholders at SVA to understand the problems they were facing as an organisation, along with the barriers reported by students themselves.

After defining audience personas and real world use cases, we identified that a cross-platform mobile app was the best way to attract and engage school and tertiary students into the world of volunteering. So we then worked together to define a first version that would deliver key features.

The priority was to create an interface that would allow volunteers to view, register, search and manage upcoming activities with just a click of a button.

The first step was to map out an easy registration process to get students on the SVA waka quickly. The sign up screen is divided into three sections and each volunteer is able to choose their education institution and assign themselves to a specific SVA team(s). Volunteers are also able to select their interests to help tailor an experience specific to them.

The focus of the app dashboard was to create a place where volunteers could quickly find and parse SVA activities. We broke it down into 4 tabs where the user can easily toggle between suggested, interested, going, and completed activities.

Volunteers can tap on any activity that they're interested in, view the details in their entirety, and join an activity.

Another key requirement was to enable volunteers to self-manage. Any volunteer can create their own team as well as their own activities.

Recognition of volunteering has been achieved by tracking, reporting and building a portfolio of each individual's activities throughout their SVA journey. Not only does this display the community spirit and selfless acts of the students, it also showcases experience gained in employable skills.

The app has an awards system built in that automatically distributes badges based on the amount of volunteering undertaken. This was seen as particularly important to school-aged students.

The app was launched in February 2021. It has been rolled out to 230 secondary schools, 6 universities and 1 polytech in New Zealand. There are more than 6,400 active users and approximately 85,000 volunteer hours logged.

There have also been a number of strong expressions of interest from other institutions both locally and abroad who have seen the potential of the SVA app within their own organisation.