Refining Our Design Ideas: Vouch and the Good Folks Club

This is the fifth installment of our team’s (Allison, Laura, Michelle) project for our Studio and Ideation class. This project builds on the research we did with gig economy workers last Fall, which you can read about here and here.

This week we continued to fine-tune two concepts: the Good Folks Club and Vouch. Last week, we developed the landing page and early pitch decks, and we took this week to get more feedback from subject matter experts, designers, and entrepreneurs. 

Our progress this week:


  • Created two surveys that we shared with our networks about the concepts. You too can give us your input about your experiences with volunteering, borrowing or lending. The goal of these surveys was to better understand the demand for either service and existing bias or behaviors in either area.  
    • Shared a version of our Vouch lending survey to Craigslist to collect input from a more diverse range of people. This survey will also be used to help us find people who can test our prototype. Because we are still trying to determine the best audience for this product, it’s important to widen our scope and find people outside of our own personal networks.
  • Continued pitching to subject matter experts in fintech and non-profits. We spoke with six people about both concepts to get feedback for downselection. 
  • Using feedback from SMEs to edit landing pages. We have also been monitoring traffic from each landing page in hopes that search terms may drive volume. Outside of our Google ads, it’s been all direct thus far. 
  • Retooled the Lean Canvas to gain greater clarity on our concepts. Our volunteer concept went in many directions over the last week. Initially conceived as an Elks Lodge for Millenials, we explored what it might look like to act as a consulting agency for nonprofits and talked through how the model would change if GFC were an invite-only membership. We lose our unique value proposition whenever we veer away from meeting the needs of our target audience.


Insights & Feedback:

Vouch makes it easy to lend money and build trust – not resentment. 

  • High-Level Pitch Deck & Concept Feedback:
    • “It sounds like the nicest part is the system reminding your friend instead of you needing to bug them since that can be an awkward part of lending to family/friends. […] Of the two ideas, Vouch is stronger and to me has a greater chance of helping destigmatize an important space. I also haven’t heard of anyone doing that yet.”
    • “It feels very business like to me, when the concerns for the relationship staying intact feels like it needs to be more central. That would be my major concern if I was approaching this relationship.”
    • “The Vouch concept is much more compelling as there are lots of volunteer tools out there. I’d love to see more Vouch materials.”
  • Site Analytics. 26 unique visitors, down 13% from week prior, 1 direct message, 1 form submitted. 
  • MVP should be: Set up a loan agreement and offer transparent tracking

The Good Folks Club
Cultivating community through curated volunteer experiences

    • High-Level Pitch Deck & Concept Feedback from SME Interviews:
      • This week we talked to Marque Cass, a program coordinator at a non-profit in Alameda, CA that provides services for youth. He talked about his pain points with volunteer recruitment, on-boarding, and retention. He also described the challenges of matching people with work that they felt was meaningful and well-suited to their interests and skills.
      • We also talked with the former Director of Communication at I Live Here, I Give Here. She advised we don’t focus on being a volunteer matching marketplace and instead offer value to nonprofits that are not engaging Millennials in the right ways. Nonprofits don’t often want to do craft custom experiences because they don’t find immediate value, but they aren’t considering the engagement those experiences bring to the org over time.
      • “This is super cool – big question for me is what the heck is a curated volunteer experience?”
  • Site Analytics. 40 unique visitors, up 344% from week prior, 0 forms submitted. 
  • MVP should be: A one-off edu social with 1-2 local nonprofits

Next Steps

Our goal is to down-select to a single idea to work on going forward and to build a prototype of the idea we choose.