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  • Writer's pictureTony Nguyen

4 days of Ikigai

Every now and again, life throws you an opportunity to experience Ikigai. I had one of those weeks recently.

It started about September last year. For quite a long time, I’d been looking for a way to contribute back to society and a friend of mine had recently started a charity called Donarity. I jumped at the chance to be involved.

The problem was, I started at Equal Experts a few weeks later and rapidly got caught up growing our Australian and New Zealand business. This left me very little time to work on the charity stuff and I was starting to feel pretty guilty about that. 😔

Luckily, We had a rare opportunity recently where where we had a few associates with a gap between engagements... So why not try and build a charity website in a week and do something worthwhile?

The Client:

Australians donate $16 billion annually, of which $10 billion is spent on administration costs, further fundraising and marketing overheads. Donarity was set up as an alternative avenue for people to donate, giving them transparency as to where their money was going and a more tangible connection to the outcome.

The problem:

The existing website was a simple set of static pages built using a GoDaddy website builder. It didn’t give donors transparency into how much had been raised for each campaign and what impact their contribution was making. Whatever we built was going to have to be easy to maintain and support afterwards as well.

The approach:

With such a short timeframe, the call was made to use a white label crowd-funding engine called Thrinacia. Whilst it had some limitations, it had enough out of the box to get us started and made it easy for the Donarity folk to make content changes without having to code. Most importantly, It was cheap - which was important towards Donaritys aim of passing on at least 90% in every dollar donated.

The team had daily calls with the CEO (Based in Brisbane), and Slack and Trello were used heavily over the course of the week. When you’re working in such small teams with direct access to the customer, you appreciate how quickly a decision can be made, changes implemented, and live in production.


Working around Thrinacia’s idiosyncrasies. Lack of test/staging environment, everything was straight into production. Testing payments via stripe wasn’t straight forward. Getting the balance right between customising pages to improve the usability without making it difficult to maintain for Donarity afterwards.

The results:

Within a few hours we were able to setup and test campaigns in the new site and check that it provided the key features needed by Donarity. By day 3 we were able to accept live payments and halfway through Day 4 we switched off the old site and redirected traffic to the new one. Whilst it wasn’t a technically challenging project, it was deeply rewarding for the team.

Mark the CEO was ecstatic:

“Team! Thank you so much for your efforts over the last week, it’s been truly amazing to see all the improvements and outcomes and I’ve been blown away by the efficiency and way you worked. Without your help I can’t imagine how much further down the track a go live like this could be. ” - Mark Wilson, Founder and Chair

Whilst i'm proud of what the team got done, I'm even prouder of how generous they were - making significant contributions to some of the campaigns, and getting the first large one across the line for the Humpty Dumpty foundation! There is now a new critical piece of equipment on it's way to Westmead Hospitals maternity ward. Stay classy guys.

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