Raising $1.5M for cancer

Matt & Katie on Nelune Foundation

We met Nelune Rajapakse at a charity hackathon hosted by Alive Mobile. The Nelune Foundation is an non-for-profit organisation that supports cancer patients and their families. They provide patient transport, medical support staff, psychologist, treatment planners and affordable medicine for anyone— regardless of their financial position. They’re on the homestretch and needed to raise the last $1.5 million in funding to build a cancer treatment center in Sydney, Australia.

She is an incredibly motivated woman. After surviving cancer, she created the Foundation— every weekend, she personally busses patients from their homes to the hospital. We were inspired to help her out and make this building an absolute reality.

No one cares about a building. To you and me, we’re in perfect health. Cancer can’t be further from our minds.

…but, what do I care about?

Cancer isn’t relatable

Our generation simply doesn't think it’s going to happen to them any time soon. It happens to older people; to someone else less fortunate. Asking for donations to a cancer treatment centre is irrelevant; it falls on deaf ears. This is the mentality of our core audience— they don't care about cancer and any attempt, let alone a building.

In reality, statistics state that one in three people will get cancer in their lifetime. That’s crazy. That building needs to exist, people just don’t know yet.

One in three

We really wanted the app to embody the ‘one in three’ metaphor. It’s powerful. One in three people you know will get cancer in their lifetime— what are you going to do about it?

We need to put a person’s closest relationship in context of the ‘one in three’. We want the reality to hit close to home. We want to make the building meaningful to them and then ask for a small donation to ‘Invest in the future’. The emotions which we want to set in motion are: 1) gratitude, 2) curiosity, 3) shock; and lastly 4) empowerment.

The app’s screen flow

1. Start with gratitude

Messages of gratitude are sent to friends over Facebook. When someone receives the message, they don’t really know what this is about yet; it’s just a nice message.


The “gaming mechanism” (if you will) built into the app is to
pay-it-forward to someone else. When you receive a message (and donation in your name), it’s your responsibility to pick someone and send them a message. That person picks someone else. And so on. After a while, you get a chain of people connected by friendship donating towards a cause they believe in.

The Dashboard shows the total amount of money a user’s network has raised collectively. We wanted to show users how much influence they can personally create. How far can your gratitude travel? How many people can you rally to do something meaningful for each other?

We won! Let’s make this thing.

We presented this at the Hackathon and they picked us the winners. Nelune, especially, was delighted. We worked with Alive Mobile to make this real. It's currently in development.