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How it gets done: Building Do Something Good

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Testing GeoRSS for volunteering opportunities

When you’re working on a software product, getting new features is kind of like unwrapping presents. There’s a lot of excitement about testing them out and finally delivering them to users.

At Do Something Good, we’ve been unwrapping pretty frequently. New features are deployed to the site almost weekly. We have a couple of important features going out this week: automatic detection of your location and matching of volunteering opportunities based on your interests. Geolocation is going to be important function on the platform when we take it to other cities. Matching of volunteering opportunities based on interests is something we’ve been talking about doing for a long time but only just got around to doing it.

The one I’m most excited about won’t be available to users just yet, though: Asana integration. If you haven’t heard of Asana, it’s a great web-based task management app. Task management is one of those funny those things many people have taken a stab at, but very few have gotten right. I think the people at Asana have.

With Asana integration, organisations on Do Something Good can create projects and assign tasks to volunteers. As those tasks are completed, volunteers gain points. Early on in our discussions about building the volunteering platform, task management was one of the topics that came up. It seemed like task management would be a great way of helping organisations hand out work and measuring volunteers’ contributions. However, because task management was something that was so difficult to get right and because it was a pretty big feature to build, we decided to stay out of that quagmire.

Fast forward to today, Asana is doing a great job of it and they have an API. That means we don’t have to build a whole new task management app and we can provide all their great functionality to organisations.

Building on other peoples’ work has been a huge part of development of Do Something Good (and many other products at Tandemic). The platform is built on top of a number of other great products like WordPress and Buddypress without which building Do Something Good would have been financially unrealistic.

We’ll be returning the favour. Volunteering opportunities will soon be available via GeoRSS so that people who want to build apps that use volunteering information can stream opportunities from our platform. At the top of this post is a test of our GeoRSS feed on FeedGeorge.