Sometimes your process is too straightforward or complex to squeeze into an inflexible, third-party system. The way you do business is specific, and you need something that can also grow with you as your process changes over time.
We design you a custom application from the ground up. We learn your procedures, workflow, algorithms, and integrations to deliver to you an intuitive, streamlined system embedded in your site. Our goal? contribute value to your operations.
Defining Your Problem
The Georgia Engineering Foundation, staffed entirely by volunteers, knew there had to be a better way to process their 300+ scholarship applications. They were still accepting scanned + emailed PDFs from students, and the award committee was managing the entire selection process through an Excel spreadsheet they emailed back and forth to people who needed to make updates. Apart from the tedium of sorting + filtering only by row / column, this technique was prone to errors—which had a huge impact on the students whose education may depend on receiving a boost to their financial prospects. Add to that the challenge of attracting a wide pool of highly qualified recipients to ensure donor dollars were spent most effectively, and GEF determined they need to invest in both website + application development.
Finding a Solution
This is where our creative process started. A wide array of potential solutions crossed the table. We could extend their upcoming marketing site to include a back-end based selection system. We could create a standalone system that integrated with other platforms, bringing all their business intelligence to one location. Or we can design a software as a service (SaaS) so they could re-sell the system to other scholarship foundations to help finance the investment. In keeping with GEF’s tight timeline, budget goals, and governance objectives, we rolled out a 2-phase plan that integrated their new public-facing website with an administrative dashboard + tools for the selection process.
We prioritized the key feature of their foundation: the scholarship application. Transforming their outdated PDF into sophisticated data points that would allow future expansion, we constructed a 150-field application form that funneled all the raw data to an analytics dashboard. This way, students could save their application progress for the first time—encouraging more interest + confidence in the funding opportunity—and GEF’s volunteers could log into the same site (not bouncing around from WordPress to another system). With all data localized in a single location, not transferred across multiple email clients + hard drives, students’ information was more secure + committees’ visibility was more efficient.
Implementing the Solution
GEF worked closely with us throughout the summer to provide clear input on the design throughout its phases. After the website went live, we responded immediately to feedback + opportunities for improvement discovered by the end-users, the students. Less than a month after launch, we implemented the new analysis application.
By the time the window for submissions closed, GEF had more than doubled their applications year over year, and the scholarship committee was able to classify, rank, interview, and award over 48 students over $45,000 in less than 4 weeks. To further simplify their process, we added an embedded email notification system that supported the award banquet planning committee, so they could spend more time planning the party and less time managing clunky email list serves.
As their foundation continues to grow, we are already collaborating on Site + Application Versions 2.0. Using clean code from day one, we engineered functional flexibility that will empower GEF to continue expanding donor + volunteer engagement, in addition to serving their primary constituents, the upcoming engineering majors.
They did a great job on the GEF website. It was a complex website that required a dynamic online form, accepting letters of recommendation, the generation of interview forms and accepting calendar appointments. I've spent a couple days the past week interviewing students who used the website, and got glowing reviews about the ease of use. I highly recommend Classic City Consulting for being easy to work with, responsive and very professional.