Microsoft Solutions for Good Proposal from Caravan Studios


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We submitted this proposal in response to a Microsoft RFP in December, 2013. This version redacts budget and individual contact information.

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Microsoft Solutions for Good Proposal from Caravan Studios

  1. 1. 4Bells: Deploy Known Volunteers Submitted by Caravan Studios, a division of TechSoup Global   Caravan  Studios,  a  division  of  TechSoup  Global,  respectfully  requests  [redacted]  in  support  of  the   redesign  and  launch  of  the  4Bells  mobile  app,  which  helps  nonprofits  and  local  groups  to  deploy   known  volunteers  in  response  to  urgent,  time-­‐sensitive  community  needs.     1.  Provide  a  brief  overview  of  what  your  solution  is,  what  issue  area  it’s  focused  on,  and   what  you  hope  to  achieve  with  it.   The  4Bells  mobile  app  allows  nonprofits  and  local  groups  to  deploy  known  volunteers  to  meet   urgent,  time-­‐sensitive  requests.  For  example,  a  Neighborhood  Emergency  Response  Team  (NERT)  can   pre-­‐register  local  volunteers  with  specific  skills  (e.g.,  medical,  construction,  electrical)  and  then   deploy  those  volunteers  to  meet  urgent  requests  when  the  need  arises.       In  this  project,  we  will  redesign  the  existing  4Bells  prototype  to  meet  the  specific  needs  of  local  first   responder  groups,  such  as  NERTs,  so  that  4Bells  can  be  adopted  and  deployed  in  the  case  of  a   disaster.   2.  Describe  in  detail  the  problem  you  are  trying  to  solve,  how  your  proposed  solutions   solves/addresses  the  problem,  and  how  this  support  would  help  you  achieve  your  goals.   In  a  disaster,  communities  need  to  be  prepared  to  provide  basic  support  services  for  up  to  three   days.  But  this  level  of  support  can  be  difficult  to  consistently  establish,  particularly  when  formal   emergency  medical  and  rescue  teams  are  required  in  more  hard  hit  areas  or  are  unable  to  physically   access  a  specific  location.  Volunteer-­‐based  emergency  groups,  such  as  Neighborhood  Emergency   Response  Teams  (NERTs),  can  help  fill  such  critical  support  gaps.     These  on-­‐call  emergency  groups  recruit,  vet,  and  organize  volunteers  in  advance  of  a  disaster.  When   an  emergency  situation  does  hit,  they  need  to  ensure  that  volunteers  with  specific  skills—such  as   medical  or  construction  skills—are  deployed  quickly  and  appropriately.  And  no  matter  how  robust   the  planning,  exact  response  needs  are  unknown  until  there  is  an  actual  disaster,  requiring  these   groups  to  maintain  a  large  and  varied  roster  of  skilled  volunteers  through  which  they  need  to  rapidly   and  effectively  sort  and  then  deploy,  track,  and  coordinate  during  an  emergency  in  an  affected   location.     4Bells  allows  emergency  response  groups  and  organizations  to  quickly  geolocate  volunteers  and  to   then  deploy  them  against  very  specific  requests  that  require  their  skills  in  affected  communities.         Here’s  how  4Bells  works:   1.  For  the  volunteer:   • Once  the  volunteer  has  been  accepted  by  the  organization,  they  receive  a  connection  code   for  the  organization.    At  that  point,  the  volunteer  can  download  the  app  and  use  the  code  to   connect  to  the  organization.   • The  volunteer  signs  up  to  receive  appropriate  alerts  based  on  their  skill  and  engagement   level.   • When  a  disaster  strikes,  the  volunteer  receives  a  text  message  that  an  incident  requires  their   skills.   • They  can  respond  to  the  request  to  receive  additional  details.   Caravan  Studios,  a  division  of  TSG     1  |  P a g e  
  2. 2. 4Bells:  Deploying  Known  Volunteers   • • • They  can  respond  to  the  request  by  declining  the  opportunity,  accepting  the  opportunity,  or   serving  as  an  alternate.   When  they  complete  the  opportunity,  they  can  add  details  as  well  as  check  the  opportunity   as  completed.   If  they  are  unable  to  complete  the  opportunity,  they  can  return  it  and  notify  the  organization   or  group  that  another  volunteer  is  needed.   2.  For  the  requesting  group  or  organization:   • The  organization  or  group  signs  up  for  an  account,  including  establishing  a  series  of  criteria   for  their  volunteers  and  categories  for  their  requests   • Using  TechSoup  Global’s  NGOk,  the  organization  or  group  can  be  immediately  validated  as  a   nonprofit,  or  go  through  a  vetting  procedure.   o Vetted  organizations  receive  a  badge  indicating  they  are  nonprofit  organization.   o Groups  that  do  not  go  through  the  vetting  process  have  designated  limits  in  using  the   system.   • They  instruct  volunteers  to  connect  using  the  process  described  above   • When  a  disaster  strikes,  they  use  the  system  to  send  out  designated  requests   • They  can  review  typical  administrative  information:   o Number  of  volunteers.   o Active  responses.   o Pending  responses.   o Response  times.   • In  addition,  they  can  use  the  system  to  contact  volunteers,  in  predetermined  time  periods,  to   ensure  they  are  still  active  and  their  skills  are  still  current.   The  requested  support  for  this  project  would  allow  us  to  pivot  and  use  the  design  established  in  the   prototype  to  be  developed  in  HTML5;  conduct  a  pilot  period;  refine  the  technology  based  on  pilot   feedback;  and  formally  launch  the  app  by  including  it  in  relevant  mobile  app  marketplaces  and   conducting  outreach  to  emergency  groups  regarding  its  use  and  benefits.     3.  Specify  the  target  audience  of  your  solution  –  who  will  use  it?  Who  will  benefit  from  it?   While  a  wide  variety  of  nonprofits  and  community  groups  could  use  and  benefit  from  4Bells,  this   project  will  direct  the  app  toward  the  specific  emergency  deployment  needs  of  emergency  response   and  recovery  groups.   To  connect  with  these  groups,  we  will  reach  out  to  Neighborhood  Emergency  Response  Teams   (NERTs),  firefighters,  police  officers,  and  other  first  responders  to  validate  the  specific  needs.   Additionally,  as  the  app  is  developed,  we  will  work  with  these  groups—as  we  do  in  other  projects—to   develop  an  advisory  committee  that  provides  appropriate  overall  governance  for  4Bells  as  well  as   ongoing  input  to  the  app’s  development.   While  these  emergency  response  teams  will  be  the  immediate  users  of  4Bells,  the  community   broadly  is  the  beneficiary.  By  providing  a  reliable  way  to  deploy  skilled  volunteers  after  a  disaster,   4Bells  allows  communities  to  sustain  themselves  immediately  after  an  emergency.  It  also  allows   volunteers  to  be  confidently  deployed  in  a  wide  variety  of  situations.   4.  Identify  the  key  stakeholders  for  the  solution,  their  contact  information,  the  role  they’re   playing,  and  how  their  skillset  is  applicable  to  the  solution  development.   • Caravan  Studios,    a  division  of  TechSoup  Global:  lead  team  in  charge  of  strategy,  community   engagement,  outreach   o [redacted]   Caravan  Studios,  a  division  of  TSG     2  |  P a g e  
  3. 3. 4Bells:  Deploying  Known  Volunteers   • • JayStack,  technology  development  lead   o [redacted],  one  of  the  primary  potential  distributors  of  the  app   o [redacted]   5.  Describe  how  your  solution  will  leverage  Microsoft  technologies  and  why  you  selected   Microsoft  technologies.   We  will  leverage  a  number  of  different  Microsoft  technologies,  as  discussed  below.   Microsoft  Windows  Azure  platform  Virtual  Machines   Azure  VMs  are  ideal  candidates  to  host  the  server-­‐side  components  of  the  4Bells  app.  Azure  helps  set   up  a  service  endpoint  (without  investing  into  hardware)  and  scale  the  services  on-­‐demand  in  cases  of   increasing  load  on  the  server.  The  cloud-­‐based  hosting  of  the  business  services  is  the  right  strategic   approach  in  case  of  4Bells  app,  Furthermore  Azure  is  a  very  mature,  flexible  and  feature-­‐rich   platform.  According  to  our  experience,  Azure  provides  a  great  availability  that  is  very  expensive  to   reach  with  self-­‐hosted  servers.   Microsoft  IIS   Microsoft  IIS  is  a  robust  web  server  that  will  serve  the  4Bells  client  app.     Microsoft  SQL  Server  2012  –  Microsoft  Azure  SQL  Database   MSSQL  is  our  default  storage  technology.  Microsoft  released  a  wide  range  of  editions  that  fit  both  to   small  business  apps  and  large  enterprise  projects.  MSSQL  databases  are  easy  to  deploy  and  maintain,   the  development  and  management  tools  are  very  advanced  and  well-­‐understood  among  the   developers.   Microsoft  .NET,  Visual  Studio  2013   The  .NET  platform  is  an  advanced  development  platform  with  a  robust  IDE.  Therefore,  our  preferred   server-­‐side  language  will  be  C#.   Microsoft  Entity  Framework   Microsoft  .NET  developers  experienced  an  enormous  improvement  in  the  productivity  of  database   management  since  the  first  RTM  version  of  Entity  Framework.    In  the  last  couple  of  years,  Entity   Framework  became  a  de-­‐facto  standard  of  .NET  data  operations.  The  server-­‐side  data  manager  layer   of  the  4Bells  app  will  be  built  to  EF,  so  source  code  can  be  easily  understood  and  extended  by  all  the   .NET  developers  in  the  future.   OData  protocol  produced  by  ASP.NET  Web  API   OData  makes  third  party  application  integrations  easy  with  REST-­‐ful  API.  OData  dissolves  the   boundaries  of  web  services  and  will  help  other  organizations  to  discover  and  explore  our  back-­‐end   services  without  digging  into  the  documentation  or  unnecessarily  exposing  the  data  that  needs  to   remain  secure.   We  have  two  options  for  administrative  dashboards:   • Generated  excel  files.   • MS  Reporting  Services,  if  desired   MS  Office  Excel   There  are  many  cases  of  data  reporting  that  cannot  be  foreseen  and  custom  chart/report  must  be   built  on-­‐demand.  Our  goal  is  to  provide  a  set  of  data  to  our  colleagues  in  an  Excel  document  that  is   generated  on  the  server-­‐side  from  the  current  records  stored  in  the  SQL  tables.  Alternatively,  this  can   be  achieved  by  producing  a  live  OData/XML  feed  that  can  be  opened  with  Office  Excel  and  can  be   processed  and  transformed  by  staff.     Caravan  Studios,  a  division  of  TSG     3  |  P a g e  
  4. 4. 4Bells:  Deploying  Known  Volunteers   Microsoft  SQL  Server  Reporting  Services     The  continuous  monitoring  of  volunteers  is  one  of  the  most  important  jobs  for  participating   organizations.  We  may  provide  daily  reports,  stats  and  KPIs  on  Microsoft  SQL  Server  Reporting   Services  to  maximize  our  potentials  and  dedicate  our  resources  to  the  proper  fields  of  charity.   6.  Provide  a  detailed  communications  plan  for  how  you  will  raise  awareness  of  the   solution  and  Microsoft’s  support.   Project  phase   1.  Technical   Development   Target  audience   • NERTs,  first   responders,   appropriate   government   agencies   2.  Pilot   • • • 3.  Launch   • • • • Selected  NERTs  and   first  responders.   Disaster  relief  and   recovery   organizations.   Other  volunteer   heavy  organizations.   NERTs   First  responders.   Disaster  and   recovered   organizations   Other  volunteer   heavy  NGOs   Channel/Communications   • Direct  outreach.     • Product  demos  and   overviews.   • Reviews  of  technical   standards.   • Exposure  to  other   partners.   • Exposure  to  selected   technologies.   • Direct  Outreach.   • Regular  product   demos.   • Early  access  to  all   portions  of  the   product.   • Access  to  marketing   and  communications   materials,  include   technical  specs.   • • • • Intended  result   • Robust  advisory   committee  to   inform   development  but   also  support   outreach.   • • • • Emails,  TechSoup   • catalog,  ad  purchases,   social  media  support.   • In-­‐person  outreach   from  pilot   participants  and   • advisory  committee   members.   Public  Relations   outreach  to   appropriate   nonprofit,  social   benefit  and  technical   press.   Launch  parties  and   Microsoft  Stores  and   other  community   locations.   Product  feedback.   Feedback  on   outbound   marketing   materials.   Training  and   support  materials   feedback.   Create  a  core  of   evangelists  and   early  adopters.   Adoption  from   disaster  groups   Adoption  from   other  volunteer   heavy  NGOs   Volunteer  adoption   and  coordination   7.  Provide  detailed  outcome  targets  and  a  plan  on  how  you  will  track,  measure,  and   communicate  results  against  your  targets.     Caravan  Studios,  a  division  of  TSG     4  |  P a g e  
  5. 5. 4Bells:  Deploying  Known  Volunteers   Target   Get  4-­‐10  nonprofits   to  pilot  the  solution   and/or  we  will  have   a  minimum  of  4   pilot  sites.   Each  pilot   organization  should   have  5-­‐20   volunteers  or  should   have  a  minimum  of   5  volunteers  across   a  minimum  of  two   categories.   Each  pilot   organization  should   send  a  minimum  of   5  opportunities  per   month  across  at   least  2  categories.   Each  pilot   organization  should   have  a  response   rate  of  at  least  50%   of  opportunities   posted.  Response  =   claimed  and  either   returned  or   completed.   User  satisfaction.   Users  =   organizations  and   volunteers   Track   In  the  backend  CRM,  we   can  see  which   organizations  are   registered.   Measure   How  many  organizations   are  registered  in  the   system?   Communicate       In  the  backend  CRM,  we   can  see  how  many   volunteers  each   organizations  has  per   category.   Minimum  and  Average       number  of  volunteers  per   pilot  organization  and  how   many  of  their  categories   have  registered   volunteers.   In  the  backend  CRM,  we   can  track  how  many   opportunities  are  sent  by   each  organization  and   how  many  volunteers   received  each   opportunity.   In  the  backend  CRM,  we   can  track  how  many   opportunities  are   claimed,  returned  and   completed  by  each   volunteer.   Minimum  and  Average   number  of  opportunities   per  pilot  organization  and   how  many  of  their   categories  were  used  to   send  those  opportunities.       Minimum  and  Average   percent  of  claimed,   returned  and  completed   opportunities  per  pilot   organization  and  numbers   by  volunteer.   Dashboard.  Access  to   only  org  specific  data  for   administrators.       System  wide   anonymized  reports,   perhaps  split  by  vertical.   Send  periodic  surveys  to   active  (and  inactive)   organizations  and   volunteers.   Measure  their  qualitative   satisfaction  with  the   effectiveness  of  the   system   Report  shared  with   product  manager,   developers  and   necessary  partners.   8.  Provide  a  detailed  budget,  specifying  the  amount  of  funding  or  in-­‐kind  support  you  are   requesting,  what  those  funds  would  be  used  for,  and  what  portion  of  the  budget  those   funds  represent.   [redacted]   To  ensure  the  sustainability  of  4Bells,  we  will  work  with  stakeholders  and  our  advisory  committee  to   develop  business  models  such  as  a  mix  of  donations  and  service  fees,  one-­‐time  start  up  fees  from   participating  organizations,  and/or  subscription  fees  from  participating  organizations.   9.  Be  sure  to  identify  any  existing  or  potential  partners  and  what  role  they  would  play   (support,  inform,  connect,  create,  enable,  govern,  fund,  leverage,  measure,  research).   In  the  design,  development,  and  launch  of  a  new  technology  solution,  such  as  a  mobile  app,  it  is   Caravan  Studio’s  standard  practice  to  engage  an  Advisory  Committee  comprised  of  a  range  of   stakeholders  who  bring  unique  and  vital  perspective  to  the  solution.  These  Advisory  Committees   generally  meet  monthly  and  provide  feedback  on  issues  ranging  from  community  engagement,   Caravan  Studios,  a  division  of  TSG     5  |  P a g e  
  6. 6. 4Bells:  Deploying  Known  Volunteers   outreach  messaging,  use  case  scenarios,  testing/piloting,  and  business  planning.  Listed  below  is  an   outline  of  the  types  of  Advisory  Committee  expertise  that  we  intend  to  engage  in  support  of  4Bells.   Connect   • Governmental  disaster  response  agencies   • Library  staff  and  support  groups   • Disaster  groups  such  as  NetHope   Inform,  Enable,  Govern,  and  Leverage   • NERTs   • First  responders,  such  as  firefighters  and  police  officers   • Disaster  response  and  recovery  organizations  such  as  NetHope  members   • Government  groups  such  as  Corporation  for  National  Community  Service  FEMACorps   programs   Support,  Create,  Measure,  and  Research   • Caravan  Studios,  a  division  of  TechSoup  Global   • TechSoup  Global   • JayStack   Fund   • Microsoft   10.  Be  sure  to  identify  any  other  sources  of  additional  funding  or  in-­‐kind  support.   The  4Bells  prototype  was  created,  pro  bono,  by  JayStack.       11.  Please  include  any  additional  information  in  the  appendix,  including  links  to  websites,   diagrams,  images,  multimedia,  etc.   Beta  version:­‐530b-­‐4892-­‐8787-­‐b39aaba4b220   Please  refer  to  the  “4Bells  Early  Designs”  pdf  file  included  with  this  application  for  additional  design   concepts/   Caravan  Studios,  a  division  of  TSG     6  |  P a g e