Join Us Tooling

How do you scale a charity on an outdated system with load times over ten minutes? That is very difficult, as Join Us also experienced. That is why we built a new environment that can grow with the enormous growth and sky-high ambitions of this beautiful foundation!

The Join Us foundation helps young people between the ages of twelve and thirty to give their social life a boost. People who feel lonely lack real connection with peers. For example, these are young people who cannot tell their story to anyone, who do not connect or who see few other people due to a chronic illness. All reasons to join a Join Us group.

Doing fun things together
Young people who participate in Join Us do fun things in groups, such as bowling, games, movie nights, and so on. In the meantime, they improve their social skills and mindset. Supervisors help by working together on social challenges. Participants periodically complete questionnaires that are used for research.

Big scale
Join Us does all of this on a large scale. The foundation is active in approximately eighty municipalities throughout the Netherlands, with more than four hundred employees committed to helping thousands of young people who suffer from loneliness. That's quite an operation. That is why the foundation turned to Q42: there was a need for a robust solution that can grow with the ambitions of Join Us.

Need for a more robust solution
The old platform (and the app) was outdated and no longer as fast as one might expect. That caused frustration and prevented participants using it. The result? Questionnaires were completed less satisfactorily and processes within the foundation were less efficient. We know how to deal with these types of challenges at Q42 - especially if the goal is to make a positive impact!

Different types of users
It is important to realize in these types of processes that the daily way of working is based on such an existing platform. We therefore wanted to respond to known patterns within Join Us, but on the other hand we also wanted to remain alert to inefficient processes, because we wanted to tackle them. To achieve this, we had to thoroughly understand many different user journeys: for admins, managers, regional coordinators, researchers, volunteers, supervisors, participants... In short: there are many different types of users of the portal, who all have a shared interest in a good functioning, but each has unique wishes.

Connecting to the wishes of different users
We chose to give the project a completely new look: a back-end (including Auth) in Azure to connect to the Join Us environment, serverless .NET functions for fast and flexible delivery of the back-end functionality, and a ReactJS front-end application with daisyUI components, which can serve as both a desktop portal for admins and a progressive web app for participants. This way we ensure that we meet the wishes of different types of users, remain flexible to requests from different angles, and have a robust foundation for the future.

Competing for the end user
At Q42 we like to fight for the end user, but what if those are seven different end users? Well, then you have to sit down with everyone to really understand them. And so it happened: at the start of the process we spoke with an admin, a supervisor, a participant, and a regional coordinator to get a good idea of the different interests. This way we were able to think critically about the product with the customer. From there, the various flows were developed and development could begin.

Testing together
Throughout the entire process, we kept the various end users closely involved in the development by testing together. And this paid off: after go-live, only one bug was reported - and Join Us was able to continue effortlessly on the new system that works nice and fast.

Customer rating of 8.5
The migration to the new portal was done manually, a great team effort in which we worked closely with Join Us on a daily basis. More than 2,000 users created an account in the new system after the launch and the entire Join Us organisation now operates from the new environment. It was really cool to see how smoothly the transition went. We ended the project with a customer rating of 8.5, but we are not done yet. In the coming period we continue to develop slowly to help Join Us further achieve their goals!