Bringing Johego Nationwide

In the previous post, we explained why we think our smartphone application will be an efficient and effective vehicle for increasing community engagement. In this post, we will be describing the resources required to (1) finish our app and (2) expand its geographic coverage nationwide.

How did we develop our estimates?

Our method for estimating resource requirements was simple, yet rigorous: first, we identified the major tasks that will be required to finish our app and expand its coverage nationwide; next, we categorized these tasks by profession (e.g., programming, marketing, etc.) and subdivided each task into specific action items; then, we interviewed various subject matter experts to develop a low-end and high-end time estimate for the completion of each action item. For example:


After that, we looked at how many hours will be required to complete the tasks associated with each profession. Then, based on the number of labor hours required, as well as the typical hourly wage for such labors, we determined whether it will make more sense financially to hire someone full-time to complete those tasks or to utilize a subcontractor.

Based on this analysis, we believe that we will be able to finish our app and significantly expand its geographic coverage in under one year with a three-person team of full-time professionals: a programmer/mobile application developer, a fundraiser/marketer, and an executive director. During this period, we are planning that data science, data entry, software security, legal, and accounting tasks will be completed by a variety of volunteers and subcontractors. In the longer term, as we expand our coverage nationwide and begin to perform large-scale data analytics, we anticipate bringing on a full-time data scientist.

How much will it cost to finish the app?

We do not expect to obtain the resources Johego needs overnight. Therefore, we anticipate completing our three-person team of full-time professionals over the next several months. Based on that assumption, we estimate that we will need $160,843.13 during 2016 and that our monthly costs will be as follows:


Specifically, we estimate that, with a three-person team of full-time professionals, our annual expenses will be as follows:

Annual Expense Summary

How much will it cost to expand the app’s coverage nationwide?

This is much more difficult to confidently estimate, since there are a greater number of uncertainties involved. Nonetheless, here is our approach:

As has been mentioned elsewhere on this website, the social service providers currently listed in our beta app are located in the Washington, D.C. area only. We were able to include these providers by collecting publicly available data from the Internet. Moving forward, we have identified approximately fifty other web-based resources that, if incorporated into our database, will provide geographic coverage of more than 90% of the United States, including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. Each of these resources differs in its size, complexity, and quality, so it is difficult to generalize the level of effort required to incorporate all of this information, especially because we do not yet know what economies (and diseconomies) of scale might occur from that effort. Nonetheless, based on our experiences with the Washington, D.C. data set and others, we put together the following chart to illustrate the potential effects of scaling on our efforts:


Based on this analysis, we believe that, as we expand and sustain our coverage nationwide, we will need to add a full-time data scientist to our team. This will become all the more critical as we begin to perform large-scale data analytics for the purpose of optimizing volunteering engagement.

All things considered, however, we can achieve nearly nationwide coverage by working with a relatively small number of web-based resources. Moreover, once a particular resource has been incorporated into our database, it will become that much easier to work with that resource whenever it is updated. For these reasons and others, we believe that we can bring Johego nationwide on a relatively short timeframe.

In the meantime, stay tuned for the next post, in which we will share some specific ways you can help make that happen.

– Michael

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