How might we make progress to the UN's goal of responsible production & consumption with Blackbaud?


Secondary Research


Strategy / Limitations


5 days


Libby Gress

Charlene Yang

Rosie Chen


Nonprofit + Reuse + Web Plugin

My team and I focused on how nonprofits can work toward the UN's goal of responsible consumption and production. We identified perception issues with users based on how they reduce, reuse, and recycle. From there we created a concept for users to buy secondhand items through a web plugin. We utilized Sketch and InVision to build, iterate, and test our design.


The United Nations has established 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Responsible Consumption and Production

We chose to focus on the responsible production and consumption goal. A component of this goal is to “reduce future economic, environmental and social costs,” which empowered our team to think about the overall social impact of how consumption and production are being abused.


Sustainable Tampons

Beef Consumption

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Plastic Bag Usage

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

We broke down what responsible consumption and production meant by creating a mind map on potential design space topics. We identified four areas to research based on the impact for end-users and how we saw nonprofits acting in the space.

We focused on Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (RRR) to better frame further research because:

  • It reaches a broader audience that is inclusive to the general public
  • Most of our topics researched fell within one of the 3 R’s


Reducing is the most crucial aspect to help advocate for responsible consumption and production.

We found that individuals should first reduce, then if they cannot reduce, they should reuse, and if neither of those can be done, the last resort is to recycle.

People often see donating, buying, and selling as forms of reusing, but they have a lot of unused items in their household.

On average, a household has 50+ unused items, with an average total worth of $3,100. However, only 27% of households donate or sell their unused items within their household.

How might we design a tool for individuals to promote reusing items and reduce unused items in the household?



Our design is a plug-in on the web browser. It detects users buying behavior and will recommend similar item deals from local second-hand stores. The design serves as a gateway that encourages users to check out the items from local second-hand stores as well as donating unused items.

Browser Extension

The plugin can be installed as a browser extension. When it detects a user purchasing something, a small window will pop out to ask if the user wants to explore cheaper, gently used items.


We wanted to notify and promote the idea of reusing, instead of pressuring the user to buy used items all the time. This message acts as a gentle reminder for users to look into gently used items rather than purchasing brand new products.

Information Display

Each collection of items represents a different store associated with that nonprofit. Information such as the number of items, price range, the range of the condition, and store location are displayed to better help users make decisions.


By talking with potential users, we learned that showing the store distance, price range of items, and general state of condition may trigger their curiosity to check the store out. Therefore, we included these feature in the plugin to motivate them to buy gently used items.


As we built out our design, we iterated quickly to identify the best design solutions



Based on our research and user feedback, we found that cost was the highest driving factor that will peak users interest in buying a secondhand item.


The second driving factor to peak users interest was the general quality of the item. This helps user weigh in the cost against the quality on both a new item and a secondhand item. A future iteration would explore the use of images.


In addition to price, many users were concerned about how close the store was to them. In a future state, our team also saw the ability to add type of transportation as well.


Collecting Data Relies Heavily on Nonprofits

Nonprofits that could use this plugin will need to configure the information and data associated with each item, as well as update it. Most nonprofit stores will likely already have an inventory list or data set, but pulling that data will be an interesting task that we did not explore.

This is Only Feasible for Specific Nonprofits

We recognize that this plugin will only be feasible for a specific type of nonprofit. We looked into nonprofits in general and found that there are many types, but ultimately our plugin only allows for nonprofits that sell second-hand items to benefit from this.

Items May Not Satisfy Customer Needs / Availability

The collection of items each store has might vary and not fulfill the customer’s needs. In addition, customers might buy items while other are looking at the same item in the plugin. We did not consider this design to purchase items in real time, so further research would need to be done.


SaaS (Single Plugin)

Blackbaud can brand this plugin as their own and advertise it to nonprofits so they can be added to the plugin. Blackbaud will maintain this plug-in and the nonprofits will pay a monthly subscription fee (refer to marketing team).

Product (Multiple Plugins)

Nonprofits can buy the plugin tool and rebrand it as their own. They can customize it by directing traffic, PR for their philanthropy events, and/or display items exclusively in their stores. However, this will require the nonprofit to maintain the plugin.


Including more information in the plugin, such as images of items

Through concept testing, participants expressed concerns about the quality of the item and would like to see the items. Showing images would more likely motivate them to check out those items, so in our next iteration, we would work with nonprofits to explore the possibility of include item images in the plugin.

Exploring more donation methods to integrate into the plugin

Understanding that different nonprofits have different preferred methods in receiving donations, we want to expand on a more sustainable future by providing users with various methods of donating (i.e. food, items, money, etc). In the future, we would like to explore more donation methods to better leverage the design impact of the plugin.


” Tying your project to the three R’s, which is very familiar, was a smart move. Your secondary research in this area was VERY thorough given the time frame. “

” We all thought about more applications to this and where else it could gohow else could it be integrated? We ‘yes and-ed’ this, and that tells us you’re really on to something. 

” It’s a small thing, but I’d use it. There’s creativity in creating something clever and practical. It doesn’t have to be grandiose to have a significant impact. “


Success metrics have a lot of possibilities and routes to take.

After completing the Blackbaud challenge, our team received feedback regarding the success metrics and how this part of the solution fell short. After reaching out to several of the clients who communicated with us during the project, I was able to better understand what types of success metrics can exist, how to measure them, and why different success metrics are more applicable to certain solutions. I would love to chat more about how this feedback took my view of success metrics and did a complete 180 turn around.

Broad problem spaces are a blessing and a curse.

Blackbaud originally gave us 1 of the UN's 17 sustainability goals. Even within just 1 problem space, there was an infinite amount of topics, along with an infinite amount of focuses and solutions for each topic. I was originally overwhelmed by the vast amount of problems we could attempt to solve, but had the help of my team to keep the project progressing. I was constantly afraid and nervous of picking the wrong route or trying to find a solution to an 'unsolvable problem.' It was a great learning experience to feel successful narrowing into a specific space, knowing my team had my back.