Nonprofit Cradles to Crayons saves big with prototype testing

By UserTesting | July 19, 2023
Woman in UX design is card sorting using sticky notes on a window

Cradles to Crayons saved money by enlisting the help of UserZoom’s Research Delivery experts to understand the behaviors and needs of its new corporate audience before building a platform enhancement.

Keep reading for more details from our interview with Karen Grant, VP of Giving Factory Direct at Cradles to Crayons.

What are Cradles to Crayons and Giving Factory Direct?

Cradles to Crayons is a national nonprofit organization, and we provide basic essentials to kids who live in low-income and homeless situations. We define basic essentials as clothing, footwear, school supplies, hygiene items, diapers, etc.

We needed to figure out how to serve more children across the country by leveraging technology. So, we spent the early part of the pandemic creating a digital model. And so that model is called Giving Factory Direct. That allows anyone anywhere to donate, to outfits, to a child in need from the comfort of their own home, um, using a mobile device, using a laptop. 

What challenge were you facing?

Giving Factory Direct was largely geared towards individuals, but we also knew that corporations wanted to find a way to engage their employees in virtual volunteerism. We had a prototype of an enhancement for corporate giving, but we knew there was probably something not 100% right. 

And we wanted to test before we spent the resources to build the actual enhancement, and that's when UserZoom came into play. UserZoom was able to work its magic and found leaders in the corporate social responsibility space at corporations that are Fortune 500. They walked them through the prototype and learned what worked, shared feedback, shared ideas, and then came back to us with a comprehensive report that outlined that this is what people are interested in.

The final report we received from UserZoom was probably one of the best reports I've ever received from a partner. It was detailed, it was thoughtful, and it was comprehensive. It highlighted things that we were doing well, but more importantly, it highlighted some gaps we had in what we were thinking about building. 

What was your experience with UserZoom’s Research Delivery experts?

You know, when you're knee-deep in the work, you tend to be stuck in the weeds. And when you bring on an external partner, it's amazing because they take everything with a fresh set of eyes. 

UserZoom put a really smart, thoughtful team behind this project. They were insightful. They were funny. They cared about our mission. They cared about the quality of work that they were creating. They took the time to walk us through every step of the process. Working with a partner like that makes a huge difference because you feel like you're in it together.

And it takes a delicate balance for someone to raise their hand and thoughtfully question something that you thought you knew or to push to make sure that is the right decision gently. What was great about working with UserZoom is that, ultimately, their job was to take something that we had a hypothesis on, get feedback on it, poke holes in it, and then come back to us and say, okay, here are the places that we could validate your thinking. And here are some places where you missed a couple of things. And they did that in a way that was thoughtful and engaging. 

What impact did the project have on your organization?

Partnering with UserZoom was probably one of the best things we could have done. It felt like an extension of one of our internal teams. And I can say this work saved us actual financial dollars because we would've built an enhancement that, after we rolled it out and got feedback from corporate partners, we would've had to make significant tweaks along the way. So just by planning a platform build, they saved us money upfront by conducting this research.

Before we started down this path with UserZoom, we were looking to build something without any visibility into our end users' needs. We could have taken all of our institutional knowledge and built it, but we knew that we were missing getting the real pain points addressed to meet our corporate partners' needs.

Insights that drive innovation

Get our best human insight resources delivered right to your inbox every month. As a bonus, we'll send you our latest industry report: When business is human, insights drive innovation.

About the author(s)

With UserTesting’s on-demand platform, you uncover ‘the why’ behind customer interactions. In just a few hours, you can capture the critical human insights you need to confidently deliver what your customers want and expect.