What really motivates people to volunteer, and how do you leverage that on a large scale?
Creating selflessness from selfishness to promote volunteerism within Spotify's corporate culture.
Spotify’s employees weren’t participating in their internal volunteering program, “Project Impact.” Spotify asked me and my team to rebrand the program to drive participation, but the real problem we found was that Spotify’s culture does not celebrate volunteerism.
We reworked the program from the ground up to make it a part of every Spotify employee’s experience from day one onwards at the company, fostering a culture of volunteerism.
To make volunteerism a part of Spotify’s company identity would make this charity program a defining aspect of the brand, setting Spotify apart from its competitors.
As UX designer on the project, I was responsible for taking our strategic goals and bringing them to life through series of connected experiences that were designed to make volunteerism habitual.
Devise a way for volunteerism to become a part of Spotify’s corporate culture.
Fundamentally change a volunteer program so that participation becomes universally encouraged.
Create a platform that allows people to quickly digest lots of information at a glance.
Skills and Methods
Systems and Feature Design
- Information Architecture
- Usability Testing
- Digital Prototyping
- Systems and Feature Design
- Interaction Design
- Visual Design
- User Interviews
- UX Research
If you would like a more detailed account of the project than the portfolio entry below, please check out the accompanying case study here.
View Case Study
Research and Strategy
We found that people are most strongly motivated to volunteer by desires for personal fulfillment, recognition, and competition. These three motivators are inherently selfish, but selfishness has its benefits: According to the American Psychological association, “People who have more seemingly ‘selfish’ motivation are more likely to stick with a volunteering organization longer than people with more ‘other-focused’ motivations.”
Insight: Volunteering is selfish.
Strategy: Create selflessness out of selfishness.
In addition to changing the name to Spotify for Good (more on that in the case study), tactics for the internal solution included introducing the program during new employee onboarding and creating “Program Organizer” roles that would lead the charge on participation and work with staff to integrate charitable efforts into their daily routines.
To satisfy the need for competition, each Spotify office would be outfitted with a flipdot leaderboard (like this section’s background) to track their volunteer hours against other offices’. If you’ve never seen one of these boards before, you can think of them as a modern, cooler version of the boards in major train stations, which provide a visceral shuffling noise as the data changes. This keeps competition top of mind and recognizes individual volunteer efforts, sustaining participation.
There was no easy way for employees to engage with the program on a large scale. I designed a site for the program to not only give employees the opportunity and motivation to volunteer for events, but to reinforce the message that Spotify’s culture celebrates volunteerism.
Wires / Platform Iterations
While certainly not my prettiest set of wires, these show the very first iteration of the site that I created during/after one of the meetings with my team.
The external program would take advantage of the popular “Spotify Running” feature. Running and volunteering are strikingly similar: Both are selfish acts and participation is driven by our internal desire for positive physical and emotional health. These two activities generate social credibility and currency for the people who engage in them, so those who do so constantly share these activities when they participate.
The external program would take the form of an “always-on digital charity race,” either tied to playlists where all proceeds from their plays go to a specific charity, or by allowing to choose a cause to donate to by running along to any playlist. Even though the latter option requires a slight infrastructure change for Spotify’s mobile app, it’s potential for participation is much higher because of its flexibility.
(Mobile components by Mikaila Weaver)
Sharing and Connecting
Music is meant to be shared. It allows you to explore different cultures and perspectives, which helps you to connect and communicate with communities. Spotify is a platform that empowers everyone to participate in the creation of their own experience.
Spotify has a fantastic opportunity to own “volunteerism,” and doing so would position them as the music service with a guiding purpose, unlike every other music streaming platform available today.
Thanks for Reading!
I’d love to hear from you if you have any questions or comments, or if you’re interested in working together. Drop me a line some time.