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Nicole Song Design



LightUp is a visionary donation app that resonates with the ethos of socially conscious donors. The app co-creates a platform where trust and engagement seamlessly unite. "Light Up" not only addresses the challenges faced by NPOs but also elevates the donor experience, fostering continuous engagement. The app offers a rewarding journey that lights up both the lives of recipients and donors alike.

Project information

  • Platform: Mobile App

  • Status: 0 to 1 

  • Duration: Four weeks (11/15/2023 - 12/6/2023)

The Context

Socially conscious youths desire direct philanthropic involvement but face skepticism about donation destinations, lacking transparent and engaging avenues for meaningful donations. NPOs’ challenges include capturing and sustaining interest from donors, and hindering continuous actions; they must adapt to evolving donor expectations and foster long-term commitment.

LightUp: Innovating the Donation Experience for Socially Conscious Donors


Client information

NALAM empowers vulnerable girls in South India through nutrition, security, shelter, healthcare, education, and skills training.


Their volunteer-powered organization provides care and opportunities to orphaned, destitute, and half-orphan girls, aiming to uplift them out of poverty. They believe educated, empowered girls can transform their lives and break cycles of hardship.

Orphan Indian girls NALAM is sponsoring



Completed projects paid in 2022 and late 2019



Funds NALAM needs to still collect in 2022 and early 2023



User research

Main Users

Young donors who seek trustworthy and rewarding ways to make a social impact. Lacking transparent and engaging avenues for meaningful donations leads to disconnection from the causes they care about.


The challenge to measure the tangible impact of their contribution affects their overall satisfaction. Socially conscious youths desire direct philanthropic involvement but face skepticism about donation destinations.


Secondary Users

NPOs rely on donor engagement. Their challenges include capturing and sustaining donors' interest and hindering continuous actions. Traditional methods struggle to resonate with a digitally-driven audience. NPOs must adapt to evolving donor expectations and foster long-term commitment.

Introducing Lightup

User Journey

We want to present users a complete journey and encourage them to keep coming back for updates and more donations.

Business problems

Reliance on local offline touchpoints and word-of-mouth for promoting donation projects is inefficient.

Despite having a website, digital engagement, and actual donations are significantly low.


Low digital engagement 

Previous efforts to engage young professionals, such as in-company events like Google Giving Week, showed initial success with one-time donations.

However, young donors are hesitant to commit to recurring donations .


Hard to retain young donors

Managing numerous projects and beneficiaries with manual processes (Google Forms, emails, paper reports) is challenging.


Inefficient project management


Respect beneficiaries' privacy

As the project was developed, I found that balancing orphan privacy with donor engagement became a challenge. On one hand, we need to restrict direct communication between donors and orphans to prevent potential disturbances. On the other hand, we still want the donors to develop personal connections and feel a sense of achievement for donating. Therefore we need to carefully determine the level of communication between donors and beneficiaries.

As a result, we decided to allow donors to leave an optional message to the beneficiary. NALAM employees would have the chance to send updates on behalf of the beneficiary with letters, voicemails, etc.


Respect beneficiaries' human dignity

A key challenge in designing this project, centered around human dignity, includes carefully balancing the app's functionality to avoid gamification in donor choices, opting out of competitive donation displays and list views of beneficiaries, and deliberately excluding search or filter functions to honor and respect the individuality and stories of the girls seeking assistance.

Widget & More

To enhance donor engagement, we've introduced a smartphone widget that provides real-time updates and donation status on the home screen.


Additionally, we've developed a compatible watch face for smartwatches, allowing users to stay informed and connected to the impact of their contributions effortlessly, even on the move.


This cross-device integration ensures constant connectivity and reinforces the tangible impact of their support.

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