We partnered with The Pittsburgh Foundation for our Master’s Capstone project. Over the course of 7 months we utilized human-centered research and design methods to design a responsive web-application that could help The Pittsburgh Foundation promote responsible philanthropy.
The Pittsburgh Foundation in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University
January - August 2020
The Pittsburgh Foundation is a community foundation that connects donors with local nonprofits to bring support to community needs. Not only does The Pittsburgh Foundation guide donors as they aim to make responsible donations, they also research the pressing needs of the community to make donations that are directed by the foundation.
The Pittsburgh Foundation is faced with the challenge of aligning donor philanthropic decisions with critical community needs. In an effort to guide these donors, The Pittsburgh Foundation relies on the expert knowledge of their Donor Services Officers. Donor Services Officers maintain relationships with each of the hundreds of donors they work with and make personalized recommendations to them to help guide donors toward responsible philanthropy.
Additionally, a portion of grant-making that comes out of The Pittsburgh Foundation is directed by the foundation. Unfortunately, The Pittsburgh Foundation receives many applications and is unable to fund all of them. During the COVID-19 Pandemic, we saw The Pittsburgh Foundation make an effort to match donors with any declined grants through their Emergency Action Fund. They were able to raise $176,184 for declined grants without a formal process in place. Herein lies an opportunity to formalize this matching process and bring funding to unmet community needs.
The opportunity we saw was at the overlap of three key challenges:
Donor Services Officers are faced with the unique challenge of maintaining the knowledge of hundreds of donors while simultaneously using that knowledge to guide them toward responsible philanthropy
Donors make well-intentioned donations but sometimes their giving habits do not align with The Pittsburgh Foundation’s values
The Pittsburgh Foundation does not have the ability to fund all grant requests
We created ReMatch: An internal responsive web tool for community foundations which enables robust data-driven matchmaking between declined grants and donor interests.
Channelling disparate data
ReMatch aggregates donor and grant data from TPF’s various systems in one place, supplying all relevant details needed to make informed matchmaking, including comprehensive lists of grants and donors.
Proposing donor-grant matches
A specialized algorithm recommends matches of donors to grants, taking into consideration donors' past giving, coded interests, and available funds.
Enabling decisive matchmaking
Donor Services Officers are empowered to share relevant grants with their donors, promoting communication and guidance towards responsible giving.
Interested in learning more? Please check out our project site, where we explain what ReMatch is, the research that led us to that solution, and the strategic value ReMatch can offer.