Tag Archives: launch


One of the biggest challenges faced during the development of the Volunteer Link app was ensuring the app was designed and built to be accessible, intuitive, and easy to use for all potential volunteer users. The app needed to appeal to and be easily navigated by volunteers of all ages, technical ability levels, and backgrounds. Getting the user experience and user interface right required extensive user testing during the development process to identify and address any usability issues. Small tweaks to things like button placement, menu structures, onboarding flows, and onboarding tutorials could make a huge difference in whether volunteers found the app engaging and valuable or confusing and difficult to use.

Another major challenge was developing the backend infrastructure and connecting all the necessary databases and APIs for the core functions of the app to work properly. The app needed to pull volunteer opportunities from various nonprofit databases, maintain user profiles and volunteer history records, communicate with nonprofit systems to accept and track volunteer registrations, and more. Developing stable and secure connections between all these different systems posed technical difficulties. There was a risk of bugs, glitches, or downtime if the architecture and database structures were not planned and built carefully. Extensive testing was required to ensure everything worked seamlessly behind the scenes.

On a similar note, security and privacy were big concerns that required a lot of focus during development. Things like user authentication, payment systems (if donations were involved), personally identifiable volunteer data, and nonprofit organizational data all needed robust protection. Hackers may have tried to access or exploit volunteer or nonprofit information stored on the backend systems. The development team had to implement strong security measures, data encryption, access controls, and ongoing security monitoring to keep users’ information and the overall app infrastructure safe from threats. Even a single security breach could severely damage trust in the Volunteer Link brand and service.

User acquisition and retention were also major challenges, especially for the initial launch phase. Getting the word out about the new app and encouraging both volunteers and nonprofits to download it and start actively using the platform required a well-thought-out and well-funded marketing strategy. Traditional outreach methods like press releases, emails, social media, and events needed coordinating. The app also likely required compelling value propositions and engagement features to encourage volunteers to keep the app installed and continue returning to find new opportunities. Without critical mass adoption on both sides, the network effects would not kick in to truly make the app useful for matching volunteers to opportunities.

Developing partnerships with major nonprofits in the local community to list opportunities on the app from day one was important for launch success. But convincing large, established nonprofits accustomed to their usual methods to try a new volunteer matching tech solution posed its own challenges. The Volunteer Link team had to demonstrate clear benefits the app provided over existing methods and address any concerns nonprofits had about switching to a digital system. Pilot testing with select nonprofit partners beforehand could have helped gain those initial organizational adoptions.

There was also the challenge of long-term sustainability. Like most startups, revenue models, ongoing business development strategies, and plans for product growth/expansion would need vetting. Questions around monetization strategies like potential premium services, advertising, nonprofit fees, and maintaining competitiveness in the market had to be addressed from the start to ensure long term viability. Launching an MVP to prove traction, then raising venture capital money were likely critical milestones. Raising sizable funding rounds presents fundraising challenges of its own for startup projects.

Ever-changing technology could pose risks. Things like shifting mobile design trends, new Volunteerism tech competitors entering the space, platform changes from companies like Apple or Google, and more meant the Volunteer Link technology and business model may need regular re-evaluations and improvements post-launch. Staying on top of industry shifts required dedicated planning, monitoring, and resources for continuous product upgrades and innovations over time. Failures to modernize could threaten relevance and market share down the road.

Developing an impactful new volunteer matching mobile app like Volunteer Link faced substantial challenges across many dimensions – from user experience design, to technical infrastructure build out, to nonprofit partnerships, marketing execution, revenue models, long term growth, and adaptability to market changes. Thoroughly addressing each challenge area required extensive cross-functional coordination across product, engineering, partnerships, operations, marketing and other teams from initial planning through ongoing evolution. Strong project management skills were essential to navigate these complicated development and launch phases successfully.


The app saw impressive user growth in the first few months after its public launch, although growth slowed as competition in the market increased. In the first month, the app was able to acquire over 250,000 users which far exceeded initial projections of 100,000 users. This was helped by a well-executed marketing campaign around the launch that generated a lot of buzz on social media platforms. They were particularly effective at influencer marketing by partnering with top influencers in their target domain who promoted the app to their large follower bases.

The strong initial growth allowed the app to reach the #1 spot in the ‘Top New Free Apps’ category on both the iOS App Store and Google Play Store in many countries. This exposure from being featured prominently in the app stores helped drive even more organic growth through word-of-mouth and downloads from app store browse/search. In the first 3 months, the monthly active user count grew to over 500,000 MAUs. Revenues in this initial growth phase came primarily from ads and in-app purchases of paid premium features.

Average revenue per user (ARPU) started off modest at around $1-2 per month given the freemium business model but grew steadily as more users engaged more deeply with paid features over time. Gross margins were around 70-80% with the bulk of costs going towards marketing, customer support and engineering to build out additional features. While still early-stage, the financial metrics like retention, Payback Period and Lifetime Value were quite encouraging and indicated the app was demonstrating good early signs of potential long-term viability and scalability as a business if growth continued.

After about 6 months post-launch, user acquisition rates began to plateau and month-on-month growth slowed significantly. This is typical for many apps/startups as the initial burst of ‘low hanging fruit’ users is tapped out and it becomes incrementally harder to find and activate new users over time. Competition in the market also intensified with new entrants appearing regularly which made customer acquisition costs through paid channels like mobile ads start rising sharply. Monthly user growth rates fell to 5-10% compared to 30-50% in the beginning.

User retention also started softening as initial high levels of engagement came down to more steady-state levels. Around the 1-year mark, the app hit an inflection point and reached a total installed base of 1 million MAUs. But monthly active users growth essentially flattened out after this point and monthly user additions were barely keeping up with monthly user losses. To keep fueling revenue growth, the team prioritized aggressively boosting user engagement and monetization through new product features rather than focusing only on user growth.

Some of the new features like a premium subscription model, in-app tipping/donations and integration with popular streaming/e-commerce sites helped uplift ARPU, retention and revenue per MAU over time. But the slowdown in user growth also meant revenues scaled more gradually compared to initial faster growth projections. It became evident sustaining rapid double-digit revenue growth would require continual major feature releases, ongoing experimentation and ideally expansion into new international markets as well through localization.

After the initial 2 years, monthly user counts have remained around the 1-1.5 million range while revenues have grown 2-3x from the first year levels, primarily through ARPU increases rather than user growth. Overall the app has been able to achieve modest but steady profitability with a revenue run rate of $10-15 million and gross margins around 60-70%. Valuations have remained reasonable at a $50-100 million valuation based on closed funding rounds.

While user growth slowed faster than expected after the initial post-launch surge, the app has still demonstrated good progress on monetization and a clear path to long-term sustainable growth and profitability through continuous product development and market expansion. It has proven the viability of its business model and core value proposition to users and also attracted ongoing investment to fuel its plans for geographic expansion and new services over the next 3-5 years. With the right execution, it remains well positioned to ultimately scale revenues significantly further whilst maintaining adequate margins as a stand-alone business over the long run.