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What problem does your solution solve?
As I have traversed my high school years in Costa Rica, I have encountered many difficulties in the organization of community service projects, some which include:
(a) Community service coordinators give advice to students about projects they can get involved in, without really knowing the student’s preferences.
(b) Community service coordinators connect students with organizers without knowing if he/she has the abilities to fulfill the task at hand.
(c) Service learning coordinators have a hard time overseeing that each student meets the community service requirements.
(d) There is a connection difficulty between volunteers and organisers.
(e) People cannot display their involvement (amount of hours completed) in certain projects.
Imagine an application that will help solve all of these problems at once. This is the idea of Zeal: trying to facilitate all of these problems in the community service department.
What’s the market potential for your solution?
I conducted a survey to 125 people regarding key features about Zeal, and the results turned out to be better than expected.
Of 125 people surveyed, only 24 people said they did not volunteer. In percentages, this
means that only 16% of the people survey never volunteered and a total of 84% of the people surveyed volunteered at least one hour every week.
When asked "Do you have problems in finding community service projects based on likes, passions and preferences?," of 125 people surveyed, a percentage of 85% (106 people) answered yes. This portrays that difficulties most people seeking a volunteering opportunity have.
When asked "Would you use an app that (a) helps you find community service projects, (b) helps you communicate with the organizer, and (c) helps you store the amount of hours volunteered?," 125 of the people surveyed, a percentage of 82% (103 people), said they would use an app that had those characteristics.
This means this app will have a great potential market.
Who are your customers?
Zeal plans to target a very wide market. One of the main market stakeholders are students, because they WISH to volunteer, but also NEED to complete service learning requirements in high school/college. However, the need is more widespread as service is done by many different persons and for many different reasons. Basically, the broad stakeholders Zeal is trying to target are those who have willingness and availability to perform community service projects.
Marketing Segmentation: I have divided the market into three segments.
1. Community service organizers will use the app to promote their community service projects and contact volunteers.
2. Volunteers will use the app to access data of community service projects, contact organizers and have a track of all the hours completed.
3. Heads of service learning departments (or schools) will use the app to increase efficiency in the community service sector.
How will you reach your customers?
In order to promote Zeal, and to change the app’s reach from local to global in a short period of time, I have devised a promotional plan that is divided in three phases.
Phase I: Expanding Zeal Locally
As a startup, Zeal will contact schools in Costa Rica that have very strong community service vocation. The following is the list of the schools I will contact during the first month (August).
(a) Lincoln School
(b) Pan-American School
(c) Blue Valley School
After having a strong database with the projects from those three schools, and having over 1,500 users registered in Zeal, the next step will be contacting other schools.
Phase II: Start the Global Expansion
During the second phase, Zeal will start networking with school and university students in other countries to start the implementation of Zeal internationally.
Phase III: Global Expansion
The third phase will be held when Zeal becomes a more established international brand and as it gains popularity.
How will you make money?
The following are alternatives on how to earn money for the following years (maintenance of the app):
(a) Integrating internal advertising in the app: Since we are a business to business company, our internal advertising should be related to the theme of the app. The best kinds of advertisings that could be used in Zeal are community service projects/organisations advertisings. This will allow Zeal to earn a high revenue from the advertising.
(b) Donations: As Zeal gains popularity, one of the great sources of revenue would be donations from community service organisations that are featured in the app.
(c) Future: Eventually, Zeal could consider gaining revenue by charging each school that uses the application a fixed amount of money. However, since Zeal is a startup, it would first need to gain popularity.
What kind of partners will you need to make, support and distribute your solution?
(a) Programmer: Enhance the app and make it much more professional. The programmer will be in charge of app development and essential app updates.
(b) Designer: The designer will be in charge of the artistic elements of the app, including the logo and the application graphics.
(c) Data Analyst: Will be in charge of analyzing the projects that are submitted by a Zealee and submitting it to the app.
(d) Marketer: The marketer will be in charge of promoting the application in different channels and overseeing market projections. He/she will evaluate the market size and assess the needs of the audience. The marketer is also in charge of assuring that the app meets or surpasses the expectations of the users.
(e) Service and product: They will be in charge of overseeing the competition and trying to keep a competitive edge on the app. They will also be in charge of establishing future enhancements for the product.
What will your expenses include?
Promotional Budget: Zeal’s advertising/marketing budget in the first year is estimated at $2,000 including the poster advertisements for the schools and the setting up for meetings with different institutions.
Programming Budget: I plan to hire a freelancer in Upwork.com for $30 per hour. I will use $6,600 (220 hours of work in mobile app development) to hire the freelancer. I chose an extensive amount of hours because I want my mobile application to have all the features that I planned it to have.
Apple Developer Program: In order to introduce my application to the app store, I have to pay a yearly fee of $99 to become a member of the Apple Developer Program.
Amazon Web Services: In order to configure user authentication, data storage, backend logic, push notifications and content delivery and analytics, I will use Amazon Web Services mobile hub. The estimated cost for AWS services is $100 per month.
Who is your competition and how do you differ?
I greatly believe that this app has a great potential to achieve significant networking effects to connect service provider organizations with volunteers globally and expand. Since Zeal is a very ambitious mobile application project, I have contacted a freelancer to evaluate what it takes to augment the application to encompass all the characteristics that I want it to have. The following are the characteristics that Zeal will have in the near future, that distinguishes this app from others:
• Login/registering page for all users.
• Chat facility to communicate with organizer/volunteer.
• Posting instant pictures/videos/posts
• Profile where user can display achievements
• A sharing facility for the hours performed
• Database to search community service projects by type, group or location.
• Calendar facility
• Submission form facility
One of our greatest competitor would be the app/website VolunteerMatch, but they do not have all of the features Zeal has.