The worthwhile problems are the ones you can really solve or help solve, the ones you can really contribute something to.
After passing out from college,
unfortunately (rather fortunately) my date of joining got delayed and I had a lot of free time to enhance my skill-set and maybe explore myself before putting my first foot in the industry. So, what was the first thing that I learned : “Android Development”. After learning the basics, I thought why not use this little knowledge to solve a problem, if possible.
Before you download the app from Google’s Play Store by CLICKING HERE, I ask you to please go through the following description about the problem and the solution to it.
- THE PROBLEM:
Leaders For Tomorrow (LFT), is a not-for-profit youth leadership movement established mainly in college campuses.
I’ve worked with them in the past and received its prestigious Leader of the Month award in September, 2012. As I was given more responsibilities with time, I became aware of more problems that existed within the system and tried to solve them with new and creative ideas. And even after I became occupied with my studies and other activities and moved on, when I had an idea which could solve their problem, I would share the idea with LFT’s President and team. So, this time when I started learning Android, I was pretty much sure that I can solve even this particular problem as well, which I’ll describe in a second.
The main idea behind the app was to rectify the following problems faced by LFT Organization, especially during the ADAR campaign and their simultaneous membership drive which gets conducted in 50+ DU colleges in the first phase:
- Every year they make thousands of members, but even after lots of effort fail to completely fulfill the promise made during the membership drive that they will contact the members (starting by sending a confirmatory email) and keep them updated about different events.
- The communication wasn’t so effective (considering the no. of members they made and out of those the no. of people who got connected with them) during the membership drive and even after the drive with the new members.
In terms of nos., let’s look at the ADAR(Anti-Drug Anti-Ragging) Campaign:
- Total no. of pledges, totalPledges : ~40,000
- Total no. of members, totalMembers : ~4,000 (10% of totalPledges)
- Total no. of new Facebook Connections, totalNewFbCnctn : ~400 (10% of totalMembers)
Clearly, the COMMUNICATION GAP is humongous if we look at the difference between the totalMembers and totalNewFbCnctn made during the campaign!!
Now, let’s look at the issues in a little detailed view. The following are the tasks which LFT volunteers need to do:
- give hourly updates from each college about the total no. of new members and pledges
- Monitor each college along with each volunteer from these colleges
- Perform large amount of paper work, fill sheets with different info of each new person who took pledge or got signed-up as a new member
- After the campaign, manually put this enormous data into excel sheets in the form of database
- Send confirmatory Emails ATLEAST to all these new members
- Aware new members about different events of LFT and what LFT does and other stuff
- Updates all these new members about the coming events
And remember, there are people who take pledges to stand with Anti-Drug Anti-Ragging motto and I haven’t discussed their problems yet. Anyways, it seems that there were lot of short-comings, so I decided to solve it and that too in a SIMPLE way.
- THE SOLUTION:
To solve the above mentioned problems, I thought that how cool would it be if right at the moment any volunteer registers a new member, an email goes to the registered member sharing with him/her all the details we collected and some pre-recorded message in the mail asking them to connect with us.
Oh yeah, nothing big or complex about this. I know, if you have made it so far in this post, you would expect some GREAT SOLUTION and the solution I provided seems pretty SIMPLE, indeed it is SIMPLE and that’s the beauty about it.
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius — and a lot of courage — to move in the opposite direction.
And if I may add to it, it also takes a touch of stupidity as well. 😉
Of-course, that wasn’t enough to solve all the above mentioned problems. But I believe, it was the moot point. And, then I built everything around that simple and tiny idea. There was lot more happening in the background.
I’ll share the technical details as well, as and when I’ll find time to write about that. Also, the difficulties (like the limit to emails that can be sent per hour/day and how I came over it, issues about Google Scripts, Segregation based on each volunteer and each college and lot more stuff ) and the lessons learned in the process.
- THE IMPACT:
To be continued in the next post but before that here is a graph to give you a glimpse of its impact and how this app helped in breaking the barricades which stood between the new members we made during ADAR and then getting them connected with LFT. Be assured, I’ll explain all those terms like RPI and others as well.
Although, the app is useful mainly for the volunteers and then the new members but I added a couple of little features which will be useful for any person, even if he/she is not related to LFT.
Don’t forget to give me feedback, once you’ve tried it by downloading it from Google Play Store. Click Here to download the app.