The Problem: digging out the roots

How to raise the rate of volunteerism in Turkey? More specifically, why are people not volunteering now?

We wanted to look specifically at young people, college students and young professionals; maybe married but no kids yet. We realize that housewives are also a big “market” for volunteers, i.e. kids are out of the house and they have a lot of free time on their hands to contribute, but let’s focus on the first segment for now. Perhaps we’ll need to pivot to the 2nd soon enough.

Problem Assumptions

Our target market, they have some discretionary time but it’s limited by work, studies, hanging out with friends. They would generally be considered middle-class, as in they are not scrambling around for a 2nd job to make ends meet, but have a lot of responsibilities. Our assumptions for why they don’t volunteer (in no particular order):

  • Ignorance or Lack of Information: they don’t know where are they are opportunities to volunteer or how to volunteer or even what they can contribute.
  • Not Enough Time / Busy Schedules: they have too much going on as it is, often working overtime or craming for exams that they don’t have time to commit to another activity.
  • Lack of Trust in the 3rd Sector and NGOs: there is a general sense of distrust in the system, fueled by recent scandals regarding the inappropriate use of funds by an NGO as well as political or religious affiliations of NGOs

Understanding the roots of the problem will help us design a product that can effectively draw these people out, either by eliminating these barriers or providing significant incentive to overcome them. But before we move forward with a solution, we need to make sure these assumptions are actually true statements of our target market and not just in our own minds.

So… sure they sound reasonable, but are they true? Heeding the wise words of Steve Blank, it’s time to Get Out of the Building! Stay tuned as I describe our attempts to understand the problem through individual problem interviews, i.e. customer discovery.