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Cloud & DevOps
Software Development



Empowering young people: Building DoSomething’s next-generation web application

DoSomething has activated young people for social impact since 1993. DoSomething at 30 is focused on fueling young people to collectively change the world by taking action on the issues that are most pressing to them. For example, the New York-based nonprofit helps young people participate in social causes, like voting registration, organizing community clean-ups, advocating against gun violence and providing access to diverse and accessible mental health support, and much more. Impressively, DoSomething users have volunteered over 90,000 hours of community service in the last three years!

At present, those who want to do something can find, engage, and track the progress of their actions in a dedicated web application. However, the organization has embarked on a new strategic plan – one in which member outcomes are moving to the fore through a long-term programmatic experience.

Enter Codete. In mid-2022, DoSomething sought an expert agile team to help support the current tech generation and to create the next-generation technology platform.

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Challenge:Execute a smooth transition from the old state to the future state

Codete was selected to augment DoSomething with a variety of engineering expertise capable of helping to build the next technology generation. Codete was happy to assist, creating solid foundations for the maintenance and expansion of the web application.

Codete began a two-fold approach to developing the web application. On the one hand, there was a need to continue to expand on and maintain the legacy code written over the last few years. On the other hand, DoSomething had ambitious plans to create a new, modern version of the DoSomething digital platform, a process that’s still ongoing.

New functionalities will include:
• Integration of AI
• Flexibility to extend into new modalities (like mobile experiences)
• Expanded member-to-member communications opportunities
• A rebrand
• A tighter integration of their DoSomething member profiles across the platform to guide young people in deepening their civic engagement and leadership

With the expert contributions from Codete, DoSomething is on its way to provide an even better experience for its members.

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Solution:Right-sizing the web app for flexibility and growth

To help DoSomething generate its next-generation product, the Codete team produced an efficient architectural design that maximized the use of consolidated Amazon Web Services covering analytics, reporting, QA, server-side, front-end, and back-end. The result? Eliminating redundancies in tooling, like managing all cloud services with AWS or streamlining observability — logging and notifications — with Grafana.

We’ve also introduced many new solutions to the existing tech stack, including Kubernetes-based infrastructure for better app scalability, container management, and flexible resource allocation. That translates to a vastly improved development efficiency.

Finally, to achieve a much smoother present-day user experience, the Codete team was able to optimize the existing web app with a series of migrations, including:
Cloud services — from Heroku to Amazon Web Services
Observability — from Papertrail and New Relic to Grafana
CI/CD — from CircleCI to GitHub Actions
Content management (in progress) — from Contentful to Sanity

We’ve also had the privilege to aid DoSomething in evolving their implementation of Agile Scrum. Through a series of team working sessions, and by utilizing the built-in retrospective ceremonies inherent to Scrum, the team is continuously improving how it collaborates, intakes, prioritizes, implements and learns. 


Joint AI Workshops

DoSomething, along with Codete engineers, have long been exploring opportunities to leverage new generative AI technologies as part of this future state platform. For example, we held a collective hackathon in early 2023 to generate a pilot chatbot using OpenAI’s API.

Importantly, DoSomething knows that AI has changed the equation for digital interactivity and also believes deeply that innovating responsibly is paramount. That’s why DoSomething is partnering with Codete to explore, identify, and generate specific safe, privacy-minded applications for AI that drive value to its membership while ensuring the organization acts at the cutting edge.

A bright future ahead

In Codete, we found an experienced team ready to take action from day one. There was a lot of groundwork to be made, and now we’re on the path of creating a new experience to mobilize a new generation of changemakers. We’re confident that with the broad experience of Codete, including their expertise in AI, we’ll be ready for the future. 
– David Crusoe, VP of Product & Engineering, DoSomething

The partnership between Codete and DoSomething is in full force. The desired future state of the web application is in development, and we cannot wait to share with you the results!


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