We’ve happened upon unprecedented times, and millions of Americans are unemployed -- many of who are former employees of small businesses. Data is showing that small businesses are one of the segments of the economy that was hit extremely hard by the COVID-19 outbreak. Coding Dojo recognized that many small businesses did not have the unlimited resources, like larger corporations, to help their businesses stay afloat. Understanding this growing need for aid, Coding Dojo tapped into its alumni network and platform to develop a volunteer based program that helps small businesses with web development services to help them adapt to the current landscape, with the end goal of helping as many businesses survive, and help communities grow stronger.
Coding Dojo mobilized a network of more than 4,500 alumni to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Coding Dojo set up an online form where alumni could volunteer to join the initiative and help organizations. Alumni from around the globe volunteered to take on projects, including the creation and maintenance of businesses' websites, like adding functionality to existing sites (i.e. restaurants adding take out/delivery services), or assisting in any other ways that would be impactful. Once the team had volunteers, Coding Dojo put out a call for small businesses that needed help. As requests started coming in, Coding Dojo paired volunteers with businesses based on the volunteer's expertise, location, technology proficiency needed for the requested project, and other factors. Connections were made and volunteers were on their way to helping those small businesses.
Coding Dojo had over 220 volunteers from 30 states and 11 countries. While there was no set number of small businesses Coding Dojo wanted to help, they achieved their goal of creating a platform to help any small business they could. Some of their work included helping a gym in Orange County, California speed up their ecommerce system. For this particular task, Coding Dojo volunteers were assigned with helping the gym cut down on a huge lag time between the time consumers made a purchase and received their content, as they had adapted to the pandemic by producing and selling fitness videos and training sessions. The gym did not have the proper email automation tools and the back-end business software didn’t have direct integration. Without this, customers waited as long as 2-3 days to receive their content. With the help of the Coding Dojo volunteers, the gym was easily able to create user segments and have insight into who was viewing programs and content, giving them the ability to gather customer information quickly to communicate more effectively. This, in turn, helped the gym turn out content faster, cutting down wait time from days to minutes. Another example was Coding Dojo pairing a volunteer with a Houston-based entrepreneur to finish his marketplace that aimed to help food workers and chefs. This entrepreneur was paired with developers to complete his website and mobile app, which were near completion when the outbreak occurred, and is slated to go live in the coming weeks.