A platform for designers and developers to volunteer their expertise to non-profit organizations.
Design & Development
Winter 2017
Project 501

Like much of the country, I was a bit shaken by the results of the 2016 election. It was clear that the rights of many Americans were to be challenged in the near future, and I wanted to do something to help protect those rights. I built Project 501 to help connect non-profit organizations with designers and developers who were willing to volunteer their time and expertise to help advance the organization's cause.


The platform didn’t need any bells and whistles. Most of it could have been prototyped with a form and spreadsheet, but I was in the mood to make something. At a minimum, that something need to allow the following:

  • An organization should be able to describe their need.
  • A volunteer should be able see all open projects and express interest in a project.
  • The organization should be able to evaluate the volunteer/project fit.

A quick round of wireframes helped flesh a few details.

Project 501 wireframes

Visual Design

At the time, I had been working on another project that was largely influenced by Material Design. I like the structure that Material offers, but I do find that strictly enforcing that structure can be a bit dry. I went in a different direction with Project 501.

P501 homepage


P501 org form

New organization form

P501 user profile

User profile

P501 project index

List of active projects

P501 project details

Project detail view

P501 conversation

Conversation between a volunteer and project owner

Build and Launch

All in all, the site took about four weeks of nights/weekends to design and build (Ruby/Rails, Github repo here). In mid-January, I spammed my social networks and tossed the project up on ProductHunt. Within a month, 500 volunteers had joined the platform and 21 projects were connected with volunteers.

Robinson Greig

Freelance UX Designer in Cambridge, MA

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