Non-profit Problem Statements for Opportunity Hack 2021

(and team formation details)

👋Hello Opportunity Hackers!

On this page, you will find specific problems facing nonprofits.

As you read through them, try to think through the scope of the solution that will allow for a simple solution that can be completed within this week.

Ensure that you will be able to create a solution that conforms to our judging criteria.

Check out this video for all of the information you need to know as a Hacker.

You can review all hackathon submissions over on DevPost here.

1. Team up: Don't have a team of 3 to 5 people? Jump into the respective #npo- Slack channel for the non-profits you would like to volunteer with, have a conversation with others looking to help the same nonprofit and form a team!

The Slack channels for each non-profit are listed below:

    1. #npo-control-alt-delete

    2. #npo-sarsef-southern-arizona-research-science-and-engineering-foundation

    3. #npo-kiss-kalinga-institute-of-social-sciences

    4. #npo-mindfulness-first

2. Declare your team: Only one person from your team should join #team-formation to declare your team and get a team number along with your Github repository

3. Pick your Top 3 non-profits: Work with your team to identify your Top 3 non-profits to work with, we have limited slots available to ensure every non-profit has at least one team to work with. We ask that you come up with this mental model of your Top 3 non-profits so that if your first choice is taken, you still have two more options.

4. Declare your non-profit: Only after you have formed a team, and when your team has decided the problem and non-profit to help, join #npo-selection, make your selection in our Google Sheet. We want to ensure that we have at least one team working with each non-profit, so slots will be limited!



💌 Laura Pahules

🌎 Phoenix, Arizona

🙌 Completed 🙌

Control Alt Delete

Control Alt Delete helps people escape domestic violence. 99% of all clients are financially abused. We help with one time assistance with rent/utility/move in payments allowing the women we help to remain housed during this transition to independence. These Survivors have needed this help as they take control of their finances and futures.

Problem Statement

Like many nonprofits, Control Alt Delete struggles to illustrate how a donation supports their mission of helping women to escape domestic violence. The anonymity that Control Alt Delete maintains is necessary, but hurts their ability to collect grant funding which shifts their focus to fundraising to support their cause. If they are able to make donations more tangible to donors through their website, social media, and even augmented reality, the hope is that they can increase the people they can support through increased donations.

💰Requirements - Tangible Donations

  1. Consider solutions that would have a broad impact first, like mobile, website, and social media innovations. Since the consumer base is currently small for those using augmented reality or virtual reality, consider an innovation solution here only if you have a good solution for web, mobile, and social media first.

  2. Solve the problem of adding tangibility for donations that would provide gas cards and hotel rooms first, then expand to other areas as directed by Laura and Control Alt Delete. Even the smallest amount of donations matter.

  3. Create a way to gather some metrics around engagement of users using either Google Analytics or something similar to better understand how many people are using this solution.

  4. Consider gamification as a method to increase the marketing footprint organically. If people obtain a prize that can be shared over social media, this can create organic traffic to Control Alt Delete and ideally more donations.


  1. Javascript game-based engines like PixiJS can help to create something that is interactable

  2. You may consider how to use AI to, for example, dynamically A/B test different approaches that would customize the donation experience depending on the user experience

  3. Read Ten Ways to Encourage People to Give More

  4. Also read Donors more likely to give after seeing tangible results


Requests from prosecutor offices come in multiple times a day for this type of assistance. We help as we can based on funding and while what we have helped with is greatly appreciated it has not been 100% of the money that we need per survivor.

2021 3-8 WDWW Frog Swamp Mystery small.pdf
PK-2 Notice Problems and Notice and Wonder full pages.pdf

🚧 Incomplete 🚧

Southern Arizona Research, Science and Engineering Foundation (SARSEF)

With SARSEF, children don’t have to wait to become scientists or engineers. With curiosity as their guide, they can start asking questions they care about and use science and engineering to find solutions that are meaningful to them, and even, the world.

SARSEF started in 1955 on the University of Arizona campus. Over the years, SARSEF encouraged preK-12 students to pursue their dreams in science and engineering fields, adding programs and events to serve the entire community and state. In 2010, SARSEF realized too few of the students crossing the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) doorstep were girls, and even less were racial or ethnic minorities. SARSEF focused its mission on providing free STEM education and education to fill the gaps that existed in our state. Since that time, SARSEF has specifically dedicated and prioritized its time, resources, and passion to reach underrepresented (female students and students of color) populations in STEM - before biases and stereotypes are formed. SARSEF now impacts over 50,000 students in Arizona each year through our STEM education programs and activities.

Problem Statement

Through SARSEF's What Do We Wonder program, students are challenged to notice and wonder about the world around them, leading to an investigation of real-life problems and finding solutions that matter. A SARSEF educator works with a class of students, prek-8th grade, for 4 sessions to transform student curiosity into a polished research project.

A core component of our program is journal guides that provide a roadmap for students to notice and wonder about the world around them and how to turn that curiosity into a research question they can answer. This tool is also important for teachers and parents as it provides a template for how to coach their students as they work on their research project. Having these journal guides only in paper form has created barriers. During the pandemic, some schools cannot accept printed materials from outside organizations, and they are also out of toner and unable to buy more due to a shortage. In other cases, the journals get to the students, but not the parents who can help coach them through the method behind science and engineering with the journal as their guide. With that in mind, having a software-based version of the journal that could be accessed from a phone or a computer, considering low bandwidth rural areas, would greatly impact the reach of this important tool.

📓Requirements - Digital Science Journal

  1. Build a digital version of the guided journal that is currently printed and in PDF form

  2. The digital version should be supported on mobile and personal computers

  3. To limit friction, no login should be required to start journaling

  4. If the parent or student wants to share their journal, there should be an option to send the journal via email as a PDF

  5. Allow for a blank journal template and one other themed template (e.g. A Frog Swamp Mystery) to be created, based on the user’s selection

  6. Allow the templates to be modified by a SARSEF administrator so they can publish new templates and modify existing ones. This would allow them to edit the prompts, titles, and graphics within the template.

  7. Allow the templates to be tagged for various age ranges, for instance Pre-K to 5th grade, and Pre-K to 8th grade.

  8. Call this a “Science Journal”, but allow for this to be edited in the future

  9. Design for bandwidth limitations in rural areas where data speeds and reliability can be poor, and cost for data can be high

  10. Allow for metrics to be captured, ideally using a common analytics tracking framework like Google Analytics

    1. The number of users interacting with the software application

    2. The number of journals created

    3. The number of journals completed with all sections filled out

    4. The number of journals shared

  11. Allow for parents or students to contact SARSEF via email with questions they have through the software platform


  1. Think simple to start, for instance, if the software program can generate a Google Document with a specific template, and the student can take notes, add photos, and share that document with parents and educators, that would allow students to gain experience with Google Docs and cover most of the requirements

  2. Consider that some students only use a single phone from within their house and the device is shared

  3. If the parent or student wants to save their journals, allow them to export to Google Drive or another cloud storage solution

  4. Review this concept that appears to be similar, but lacks ease of use

  5. Review the Arduino Science Journal is a solution originally created by Google in 2017, but is geared towards measurement and hardware devices for older students


This software solution will expand our reach in ways that we could never accomplish without your help. With the software development of a science and engineering guided journal, we will be able to expand the toolbox of parents, teachers, mentors, and volunteers who are there to support students with their engagement with STEM. High school students will be able to use this software platform on their own to develop their ideas in a way that results in testable questions.


💌 Apratim Tiwari & Shweta Kochatta

🌎 Odisha, India

🙌 Completed 🙌

Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS)

Beginning in 1992, we have made concerted efforts towards inclusive education, women empowerment, tribal uplift and sustainable development. We have grown to become the world’s largest residential education institution for tribal children. Our experience shows that, given access and opportunity, there is no limit to what indigenous students can achieve. It is our lifelong mission to ensure that indigenous heritage is accorded due respect and indigenous communities are empowered through spreading of awareness about tribal rights.

Our aim is to break the vicious cycle of poverty and social isolation and to restore hope for a better future. We believe that every person has the right to access resources and opportunities in order to live and develop with dignity and to become an active and contributing member of our society.

Problem Statement

The pandemic has moved students from our campus to their homes, and to adapt to this new situation, we currently maintain WhatsApp groups as a way to share knowledge with the people that we serve. While we love WhatsApp because it allows us to be directly connected via mobile device in areas where 2G may be the only data option, with over 200 people in a group, 300 messages quickly get lost and we lack the functionality we need to maintain relevant documentation for each person along with reminding people when deadlines are approaching. Right now we make phone calls which are not scalable. We are looking to move away from WhatsApp into a solution that would list the current career opportunities, examination dates and study material, all within a single place.

We are looking for help to develop an online portal (career advisory) listing various career opportunities/avenues for KISS students and alumni. The aim of the portal is to mentor and guide the students while studying at KISS (and after they graduate) to ensure they are placed in both public and private services, in order to achieve a better representation of the indigenous communities.

The scope of the work required us to break the problem statement into two different projects

📑Requirements - Portal

  1. Low bandwidth considerations apply here, consider network connectivity issues and slow download times for your solution

  2. Create the ability for students to add information to their profile. Allow students to add their name, age, and location so that KISS staff can understand the demographic information of the people they support

  3. Allow for KISS staff to set deadlines for various opportunities, provide a calendar view for review along with a notification through SMS or push notification

  4. Allow for students to register to follow certain content that is pertinent to them (e.g. competitive exams for jobs in public sector, jobs at district level, entrepreneurship development, skilling programs, private sector jobs, training)

  5. Job listings

    1. Allow KISS staff to publish new job listings with more information such as when to apply, requirements/qualifications, how to apply

    2. Allow for students to register for interest in a specific job listing so that KISS staff can directly message students with any updates to that job listing

  6. Educational Capsules (workshops, trainings, seminars)

    1. Allow KISS staff to publish educational content “capsules” with information such as: how to register for an exam, syllabus, study materials, eligibility criteria, duration, etc.

    2. Allow for students to register for interest for a specific capsule so that KISS staff can directly reach out to students with this registered interest

  7. Provide the ability for the KISS staff to send an SMS to students when something new is posted for only the students following that specific area of interest

  8. Allow for KISS staff to link to other important websites, social media posts, and forms, etc. that can be attached to various posts

  9. Have the ability for students to download common file formats directly to their mobile devices (e.g JPG, PPT, PDF)

  10. Allow for students to refer their friends for onboarding into this system as this is the current mechanism through WhatsApp

  11. Allow for a database to maintain information that is easily managed by KISS staff using common database applications like Sequel Pro or MySQL Workbench

📚Requirements - Document Summarization

  1. Create an easy way for KISS staff to upload PDF, JPG, PPT documents (that can be from 2-10 pages or 2-10 JPG images of documents)

  2. Provide a mechanism for the KISS staff to select different summarizations from the PDF documents and allow for easy copy/paste of this information into the portal or WhatsApp

  3. Use NLP to group similar PDFs together so that the KISS staff can keep track of these documents more easily

  4. Allow for direct links to be shared to each document for download by KISS students

  5. Provide timestamp information for when the document was uploaded

  6. Allow documents to be deleted

  7. For security of the system, add a simple way for KISS staff to login using Google SSO or similar


  1. Most people that KISS helps do not actively maintain an email address, SMS and mobile-based communications are favored over email

  2. The ability for students to select items to view additional information will allow for bandwidth to be conserved

  3. Most students use Android phones and UC Browser or Google Chrome

  4. They have already tried some solutions with Coursera/Khan Academy/MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) before and a hackathon before, but they are looking for something more sustainable and more simple to use

  5. If there is a way to ensure that media files are compressed to reduce bandwidth, that would help to reduce the time it takes for students on a 2G or 3G connection to download the files


Developing the platform will ensure that the indigenous students of KISS are placed in leadership and related roles where they can contribute & benefit society at large, eventually leading to the empowerment of their own communities.

Consequently, a window of opportunities might open to the indigenous youth leading to economic independence through employment generation and social entrepreneurship initiatives. The success stories shared on the platform will also inspire the future generations to attain economic empowerment and a sustainable & healthy life.



💌 Hayfa Marengo

🌎 Scottsdale, Arizona

🚧 Incomplete 🚧

Mindfulness First

Beginning in 1992, we have made concerted efforts towards inclusive education, women empowerment, tribal uplift and sustainable development. We have grown to become the world’s largest residential education institution for tribal children. Our experience shows that, given access and opportunity, there is no limit to what indigenous students can achieve. It is our lifelong mission to ensure that indigenous heritage is accorded due respect and indigenous communities are empowered through spreading of awareness about tribal rights.

Our aim is to break the vicious cycle of poverty and social isolation and to restore hope for a better future. We believe that every person has the right to access resources and opportunities in order to live and develop with dignity and to become an active and contributing member of our society.

Problem Statement

We are launching an online store soon and will be adding new capsules on an ongoing basis. Currently our site is on Squarespace and has a limited search and cart capabilities. We'd love to streamline this process and make our ecommerce site easily searchable for all content and our cart easier to access to improve the customer experience and the purchases of our course content and physical merchandise.

The scope of the work required us to break the problem statement into two different projects

🏪Requirements - Website SEO, Storefront, A/B Testing

  1. The main website must reside on SquareSpace - we recommend that you create your own Squarespace account and then share that with the Mindfulness First team as part of your solution

  2. Do some research and collaborate with Hayfa from Mindfindness First

    1. We think that it makes the most sense to update the current website to improve SEO as a landing page

    2. We also think it would make sense to move the shopping aspect of MindfulnessFirst to Shopify where people could purchase physical items as well as courses through something like Shopify’s App: Courses

  3. Use a system like to add a single experiment into your Squarespace account using similar content from the Mindfulness First website with the intent to funnel people towards the Shopify system

  4. Add an A/B test in the new Shopify system that you build for Mindfulness First (documentation here) so the team has an example of how to do this for other content in the future

  5. Look to improve the current SEO of Mindfulness First’s website with documented recommendations that would improve search result ranking

🧪Requirements - Free and Open-Source Shopify A/B Testing Solution

  1. Introduce a simple and free A/B testing system into the Shopify App store, current solutions range from $29 to $99 a month and for a small nonprofit organization, this is not sustainable

  2. Review the current A/B testing systems that Shopify has to offer (e.g. Neat A/B and Shogun)

  3. Create your own Shopify account and develop a proof of concept Shopify Application that does A/B testing

  4. Provide a way for users to test between two different page treatments

  5. Provide a way to send a percentage of users to the Page A and Page B

  6. Provide a mechanism to track the performance via Time on Page and Click-throughs for Page A and Page B

  7. Allow for the page with the most click-throughs, after a certain amount of time, to be automatically selected as the default page

  8. Your prototype should represent one of two use cases:

    1. Donations - show how your Shopify A/B Test App can be use to increase donations

    2. Purchases of physical or digital goods - show how your Shopify A/B Test App can increase revenue


  1. Review other teaching websites and look for things that you can reuse, for instance links to Coursera

  2. Review guide on Coursera around SEO with Squarespace

  3. We would not recommend moving content into Coursera so long as the Mindfulness Team wants to maintain two different store fronts, one in Coursera (because they don’t have a Shopify, Squarespace integration) and one on their new Shopify site that you build for them


100% of the proceeds from our online shop, funds our mission. Through our partnership with on demand printing and drop shipping, we've created an additional income stream without creating additional workloads. The more seamless we make the user experience, the more likely we are to raise funds to support our mission. Most of our work involves teaching mindfulness life skills in schools and this solution would help further that work.