UW Blueprint
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UW Blueprint

Project Highlight #5: Building Up

Creating a web application to promote fundraising efforts for the homeless.

Raising the Roof (RtR) is a national leader in providing long-term solutions to end homelessness. Over the past 25 years, the nonprofit has been hosting the annual Toque Campaign to sell toques across Canada. Proceeds are then given to Partner Agencies who work firsthand with individuals experiencing homelessness. Since September 2020, UW Blueprint’s Building Up team has been developing a web platform to support fundraising efforts for RtR’s Toque Campaign.

The Problem

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, events hosted by Raising the Roof were held in-person. Fundraising for their campaign involved working with registered charities across Canada to sell toques at tabling and hosting events. These community agencies also worked directly with third party sponsors and partners who participated in the fundraiser. With COVID putting a halt on such in-person events, the RtR team has been looking for ways to boost engagement for the campaign. One of their main goals this year has been to promote participation in fundraising and increase friendly competition between teams, given that all campaigns are held online now.

The Solution

To support Raising the Roof, Building Up is creating a web platform that encourages teams to sign up and actively engage in fundraising. Once individuals sign up as a team on our website, they will sell toques by sharing a storefront link to others. This storefront leads to another platform through which friends and families of team members can purchase toques. This purchase is then counted as a sale for the team who shared the storefront link, helping the team move up the global leaderboard amongst other teams participating in the campaign.

Some key elements of Building Up’s platform include:

Registration: For individuals to sign up for the campaign or join/create a new team.

Team Dashboard: For campaign participants to track fundraising progress and access housekeeping activity (view participants on team, invite others to the team). Some metrics shown include the team’s sales log and the total number of items sold so far.

Global Leaderboard: Where participants can view how their fundraising sales rank amongst other teams.

Storefront/Checkout: Each team will have a tokenized link to the storefront. They can share this link to any interested individuals who will then make toque purchases that will link back to that team. This enables the tracking of each team’s fundraising progress.

Our Users

The users of our platform can be classified into 2 groups: 1) individuals who participate in the fundraising campaign 2) customers who are purchasing the fundraising merchandise.

Individuals who sign up for the campaign must be able to create or join a team with ease, and invite others to their team as well. Our platform will enable these users to view their current fundraising progress and see how they compare to other teams within their local or global communities.

Customers who purchase items from the storefront should be able to easily browse merchandise, add products to their cart, and checkout. We are also providing the option for customers to make donations to RtR at checkout, which will further help support fundraising for the homeless.

Project Status

We are soon approaching the handoff process for our platform, in which we will provide the Raising the Roof team with user guides and documentation. Our goal is to ensure they are fully equipped to hit the ground running with their next Toque Campaign once we finish development of the website. A big kudos goes out to the Fall 2020 Building Up team for their hard work with scoping this project and ideating our current solution. Moving forward, we are excited to see how this platform will help participants stay engaged throughout the campaign. Ultimately, we hope our website will encourage friendly competition amongst teams and promote fundraising for individuals experiencing homelessness.

The Team

The Winter 2021 team consisted of a project lead, a product manager, two designers, and seven project developers. Each team member has provided a brief introduction about themselves below.

Jeff: Hi I’m Jeff, I’m currently in my final term of Computer Engineering! As a Project Lead, I scope out tasks and make sure our team is on track. I also work with all the developers to unblock them when needed.

Raewyn: Hey! My name is Raewyn, and I’m a 2A SYDE student working as a Product Manager on Building Up. The team has worked hard this term to build out the platform’s frontend, and my job has been to help scope new features with the designers while facilitating communications between the client and our team.

Shaahana: Hi, I’m Shaahana, a 2A SYDE and one of the designers on Building Up. I started off this project 8 months ago, and have been able to talk with the client, and really define what the product we create for them looks like — starting with research, ideating, and working alongside the development team to bring our designs to life. I’m so excited to have worked on this product from end-to-end and to see the way in which Raising the Roof leverages our portal for their toque campaign moving forward!

Stacy: Hi I’m Stacy! I’m one of the designers on Building Up, and I’ll be in 2B management engineering next term. We’ve been working hard at helping scope and make design decisions, reviewing frontend work, and designing features such as the leave team function ality.

Hong Yi: Hey! I’m Hong Yi and I’m heading into my 2B term of Computer Science and Business Administration Double Degree. As a Project Developer, I’ve been mainly setting up deployment and continuous integration pipelines, as well as a few other backend services!

Jessica: Hi! My name is Jessica Li and I’m currently a 3A CS student. I’ve been working on building the login and sign-up flows as well as the leaderboard page for Building Up.

Kevin: I’m Kevin, going into 2B Software Engineering. I’ve been working on lots of cool features on the team dashboard and storefront like creating a new user, password resetting, and implementing tons of the designs onto the website.

Hyunzee: My name is Hyunzee and I’m a second year Computer Science student. I’m currently a developer on the Building Up team and I’ve recently been working on implementing the team dashboard and the team members pages of our project!

Tony: My name is Tony and I am a second year student at the University of Waterloo studying software engineering. I’ve been a part of Blueprint for 8 months as a Project Developer on the Building up team. During my time, I’ve worked with my team to develop features for the fundraising dashboard, such as campaign tracking and team functionality.

Cynthia: Hi, I’m Cynthia! I’m one of the project developers on Building Up and I’m currently in 3A Software Engineering. As a developer, I’ve worked on improving the security of our application, creating new features, fixing bugs, and reviewing my fellow dev’s PRs. Blueprint has allowed me to collaborate with talented and driven individuals to tackle new challenges that really drive social impact, and I’ve loved being part of such an amazing community!

Patrick: Hey! My name is Patrick and I’m in my 4th year of studying Kinesiology. This is my 3rd term on UW Blueprint and this time around I have the pleasure of working on the Building Up team where I am a Project Developer! I’ve mainly worked on implementing our web app’s storefront to enable a simple-to-use online fundraising platform for homelessness across Canada.




We’re a student-run organization at the University of Waterloo that aims to provide tech solutions for non-profit organizations. Check out our website: uwblueprint.org

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UW Blueprint

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Tech for non-profits, built by UWaterloo students

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