Second Harvest of Silicon Valley Case Study

How we redesigned a food bank website to maintain and maximize volunteer engagement and reach its full potential.

Rethinking Volunteerism in The Age of Covid


Pen and paper







Business Analysis

Competitive Analysis

Comparative Analysis

Target User Analysis

Design Studio

User Interviews

Affinity Mapping

Customer Journey

Heuristic Evaluation




Usability Testing





2 weeks sprint


3 people


The Problem

Second Harvest needs a way to maintain and maximize engagement with their volunteers throughout COVID19 and beyond.

The Solution Hypothesis

By highlighting volunteer impact, streamlining the volunteer process, and offering volunteers incentives, Second Harvest will cultivate a robust volunteer pool that sustains itself well into the future.


Competitive Analysis

Inclusive Offerings and Services

Second Harvest has the best and most inclusive offerings and services.

User Friendly and Visually Appealing

The website structure and design of other similar organizations are more user friendly and visually appealing.


Comparative Analysis

By looking at other websites and services that are in a similar context or share one or more value propositions, we get inspiration of what the organization is missing in terms of features, looks, feel, and experience.


Target User

The Conscious and "Woke" Community Member

Who Are They?

The Conscious Community Member is someone who cares about giving back to the community. They grew up struggling or might’ve known people who’ve struggled and so they are empathetic to the conditions of the less fortunate and understand how difficult it must be to experience food insecurity. They are social, outspoken, and take initiative to work for good causes. They are also passionate about health and wellness through eating well and nutrition.

Their Goals

The Conscious Community Member wants to help others during these uncertain times of COVID-19. To do so, their goal is to volunteer at a food bank.

Their Paint Points

  • They are busy with a full-time job too, so they can’t spend too much time jumping through hurdles just to volunteer.

  • They wish more people in their community or immediate circle would volunteer more as well.

  • They feel uncertain about the safety of volunteering during COVID-19.

  • They’ve worked with unorganized food banks before so they are wary of how structured and established an organization might be.

Communication Methods

They are quite active on social media and are fairly tech-savvy.

They are reachable through phone, email, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.


Affinity Mapping


People like to see that what they do matters and people feel good seeing that others appreciate their help!


People are more likely to volunteer if it’s easy enough for them! They don’t want to travel too far or do things that they are uncomfortable or incapable of doing. They also don’t want to jump through too many hurdles to sign up for volunteering.


At the end of the day, people are more likely to do something if they benefit as well. This could be getting free snacks or free coffee, or even the high of knowing you did something good!


It is nice to know you are helping others.

I look for clear information on volunteer details like time, address, expectations or tasks description.

I prefer volunteering for food banks or working with the homeless because you can see people you impact.

Feature List

After brainstorming as a group, there were many suggested features that came up, all of which would positively impact the organization. However, it is costly and unfeasible to implement everything at once so we sorted the features onto a graph based on their comparative impact and cost. The features that fell into the high-impact low-cost quadrant were the ones we decided to implement during this design sprint.


Cleaning up homepage and informational architecture.

Adding personalized form for volunteer newsletter Implement newsletter option.

Adding volunteer of the month highlight for incentive.

Highlighting ways to help during covid.

Providing more details on each volunteer opportunity.

Consolidating volunteer sign up process to streamline.


Creating an app / mobile platform for volunteers to reach you through their phones.

Recurring personalized emails for each volunteer (may need some program to automate this feature).

Create some system for volunteers to be drivers to drop off food.

Partnering with other orgs to provide incentives (like free coffee or snacks).

Possibly allowing volunteers to take food home too.


Creating a blog for people to stay updated on your organization.


Usability Testing


  • Clear call to action buttons to volunteer/donate clearly signal to users.

  • Clear mission statement as the first thing people see.

  • Video of impact is great for garnering buy-in.

  • Visual statistics is helpful to let people know what you do.

  • Volunteers of the month highlight both shows you care for your community and incentives people.

  • Clear indication of how to help out during covid.

  • Apply buttons throughout pages and streamlines the sign up process.

  • Filters on the side of the volunteer opportunity browse page is helpful.

  • Listing details, time, location, and skills learned from volunteering is helpful.

  • Good addition of social media icons for easy sharing.

Other Feedback

  • Not entirely clear if it’s necessary to have a separate tasks and skills filter (they seem like the same thing).

  • Perhaps changing the word “apply” because apply indicates a longer application and screening process that might turn volunteers away.

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