Profitable, flexible, and elegant in its simplicity, the RAIZZZ platform is the next generation in fundraising for schools and youth organizations.
~The Future of Fundraising
Fundraising has been one of the main ways that schools pay for programs, activities and other school related causes. It’s always been the similar process; school clubs would sell items like chocolate bars, do garage sales or just ask for donations from parents and patrons. While they have been proven methods for schools, it is time consuming and tedious for both students and administrators. It is not a model that scales.
Jack and Rich from Raizzz have been offering an alternative to the school’s old model of fundraising. Students would sell plastic discount cards that include several deals from local merchants and restaurants. Students receive discounts at these restaurants that they already frequent and the school would get a percentage of what the students pay. For more than 20 years, this has been a successful business model. The problem was that paper cards had limited amount of deals and if the deals change or expire, they could not reprint and distribute new cards efficiently. With the rise of the digital era, Jack and Rich realized the potential of how smartphones could solve this problem. They approached Novvum to create a digital discount card aimed to fit in the new mobile centric behavior of every high school student in the country.
For as long as they can remember, school fundraising has been Jack and Rich’s livelihood. Their business model relied on printing merchant deals on plastic cards and partnering with local schools to sell these cards. It was a successful and proven business model. However, longtime friends Jack and Rich saw the opportunity in the digital landscape to further grow their business. They shifted their business model to add a digital platform for fundraising. This new digital platform adds simplicity, automation and personalization to the existing school fundraising model. This allows schools to raise more funds with less overhead. With this new digital platform, Raizzz doesn’t have to manually manage the intricacies or large scale fundraising programs.
The challenge now lies in turning an analogue business model into a digitized platform.
When clients approach us, they usually vary in the stages of their business. Clients range from entrepreneurs with just an idea to established enterprises with million dollar revenues. Raizzz is somewhere in between these stages. They have a proven business model that doesn’t need validation yet they were adding a digital platform with some degree of uncertainty. Prior to writing a single code, our team wanted to understand the users and the potential change in behavior.
Jack and Rich came to Novvum with a vision of what their business could be. With only rough pencil sketches to guide the team, we buckled down and had several ideation workshops until we could come up with a feature scope that fulfilled their vision. Afterwards, the team conducted extensive competitive analysis, picked apart competitor products and dissected best case features. It was a process that helped inform the team about product and technological features.
PROTOTYPING & TESTING
But, we weren’t ready to write a single code just yet. Based on early discussions with Jack and Rich and several members of school administrators, Novvum created an early prototype using pencil sketches. These sketches were used to gain more feedback that would then influence product and design features. Several iterations of the pencil sketches were completed before moving on to Sketch and a Proto.io. These iterations became the pixel perfect prototype of the Raizzz app. Utilizing Proto plus Lookback, the team validated the technological model of the app with several students, school administrators and sampled users. With the feedback gathered, we were able to make changes in the most lean way possible. This type of feedback loop is critical to a successful product development.
Once Novvum and the Raizzz team was comfortable with the product features in the prototype, we set out to do more massive testing. The team trekked to CADA conference in San Diego, a conference for school administrators in the United States. The Novvum team alongside Jack and Rich set up a booth and tested out the early prototype with potential customers. This gave us more valuable feedback and even provided us with some early customers. This kind of traction helped validate the business model and the new digital platform.
After several months of iterations, we were finally ready to write code.
Before launching the product to a wider range of schools, Jack and Rich set up a middle school to serve as their alpha group. This would allow them to test out the product and tighten up the official launch of their app to other schools. Since then, their product has launched in multiple schools and districts. Now is time for growth!