The New Economy Working Group at the Thomas Merton Center has launched a Mapping Project to identify and support the organizations, businesses, and projects working to build an economic system that is equitable, cooperative, just, and environmentally sound.
Non-profit organizations encounter challenges in the area of event planning, in particular, competition for venue availability and event attendees. Our goal is to help non-profit organizations create a tool to enable more efficient use of resources and foster collaboration to facilitate the transition to the New Economy.
DoveTail in action
Dovetail is a tool designed to help event planners avoid conflicts by enabling them to indicate when their event will take place. By leveraging the use of a shared platform, event planners will be able to inform the New Economy community about upcoming events with minimal cost and effort.
To gain an understanding of the domain space, we conducted a literature review in tandem with interviews and a competitive analysis to map out related platforms for event planning and marketing such as EventBrite, Google Calendar, and Facebook.
Understanding the Domain
For our comprehensive literature review, we read papers about the Sharing Economy, Motivations for Participation, Relationship Marketing, and a myriad of other topics. However, one topic we were surprised not to find any research on was Nonprofit Event Planning, the focus of our project. We hypothesized that because there was scant interest in this particular area, there was no funding to conduct research.
Interviewing the Target Audience
We also conducted 11 interviews with non-profit event planners and attendees ranging in age, tech savviness, experience, and connections. The type of questions we asked centered around their backgrounds, technology, event planning, skills, and personal involvement.
Understanding Existing Tools
For our competitive analysis, we looked at tools and methods used by event planners to disseminate new events they are planning. We measured each tool or method by impact, ease of use, and reach.
Findings & Insights
After interpreting and synthesizing our data, we found 3 key insights from our findings:
- Event conflicts are common and attendees are resigned to it. Therefore, we must educate and empower event planners to challenge the status quo.
- Social influences drive event participation, so our solution needs to add more social components to event marketing.
- Nuanced marketing with integrity is necessary for maximum impact, so we must design a solution that tailors messaging with ease.
Visioning & Storyboarding
Based on these insights, in order to define our solutions, we held a visioning session with our client. During this session, we agreed to focus on the amateur, tech-savvy event planners, instead of the more well-established, experienced event planners. In this way, our solution could have maximum impact for the target audience. Afterwards, we brainstormed four solutions that we drew out as storyboards.
We developed a persona in order to help focus our design. We chose to create an amateur event planner who struggled with getting her event noticed without much funding. This will allow us to build a tool that could encompass a wider range of event planners.