Social Impact

Expanding National Service

Franklin Project — Service Year Exchange

To meet increased demand for national service year opportunities, the Franklin Project is developing an online exchange to match young people, nonprofits, and funders. frog helped imagine what this new 3-way marketplace could do and created a video demo that secured funding for a $6 million development phase of the new platform.

Statistics show that Millennials – widely thought to be the most globally aware and connected generation to date – are passionate about choosing work that benefits society. Each year over 600,000 Millennials apply to spend a year working on a range of social and environmental issues through organizations like Teach for America, AmeriCorps, City Year, and Habitat for Humanity, yet there are only 80,000 positions available. Federal funding has not kept up with increasing demand among young people to participate in national service programs.

To increase the availability of job opportunities in this space, the Aspen Institute, National Conference on Citizenship, and Cisco Foundation partnered to create a bigger and better marketplace for national service. Their goal is to channel federal and private funding into a system where non-profit organizations and young people can seamlessly connect. To help the coalition design such a system, frog was asked to imagine the structure of this 3-way online marketplace, and to create a visionary demo for how a national service year exchange could connect people, dollars, and opportunities.

frog first wanted to understand how the exchange's users would want to engage. Our research uncovered a unifying theme: all three stakeholder groups – Millennials, non-profits providing the service year positions, and funders – have the same desire for more opportunities to do good, and for these opportunities to be made available more easily.

frog created a video that depicts the possibilities of this connective exchange. The demo video shows how the exchange's design facilitates effortless connection with opportunities to do good. Young people find service year positions tailored to their interests, and can create their own fundraising campaigns to support their desired positions. Non-profit organizations find additional funders, so they can create more positions in communities across the country. Funders directly support the young people and organizations they believe will make the greatest impact.

Building on the idea of a hero’s journey through national service, the frog team created a design language and interaction model that focuses on principles of personalization, growth, simplicity, and youthful energy. Potential volunteers begin “journeys” that include built-in milestones, signposts, and goals to create an ongoing and shared log to encapsulate their entire service experience.

The video has been shown nation-wide to build excitement and anticipation around the exchange and the movement. The video provided a cohesive rallying vision at a prominent Aspen Institute conference in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania where participants—including General Stanley McChrystal, Chelsea Clinton, Barbara Bush, Wendy Kopp, members of Congress, members of presidential cabinets, technologists, and leaders in the national service community—expressed their renewed belief that one day all young people will be able to do a service year. Thanks to this rallying vision, the Franklin team raised enough money to begin a six million dollar development phase of the exchange.

"frog created a vision that continues to steer the direction of the Service Year Exchange in many meaningful ways: outlining the needs of those in our three-way marketplace, clarifying what's critical in the experience, and guiding us during the platform’s development. The video has united our team as we move forward, and has energized our potential partners, service year participants, and funders."

Shirley Sagawa, Chief Service Officer

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