In our latest Meet the Neighbours blog, we speak with Yang, one of Neighbourly’s esteemed Product Owners. Focusing on financial donations and volunteering features, she gathers platform requirements and designs the Neighbourly website’s user journey.
Having joined the company in 2014 as a Product Tester, Yang’s role in Neighbourly has evolved over the past 8 years, making her one of the longest standing employees.
How would you describe your role at Neighbourly?
Yang: In the product and tech team, we're always gathering new requirements for the Neighbourly platform and refining the user journey, so a big part of the role involves juggling priorities and managing expectations.
“There was this real sense that we were at the beginning of a movement, helping to build a better world”
At Neighbourly, an effective user journey is about making the giving process easier, enabling businesses to identify the needs in their local communities in order to make a positive impact - and for local good causes to effortlessly discover and receive the support they need.
What are some of your personal highlights over the years working for Neighbourly?
Yang: Neighbourly has come a long way since its grassroots beginning in 2014 and I’ve been involved in so many key milestones, it’s hard to choose just one.
That said, the launch of surplus donations in 2015 with M&S, who were the first to distribute their surplus daily to good causes through the Neighbourly platform, was extremely exciting.
We then built new volunteering events and campaign features into the Neighbourly platform which helped enable M&S to kick-off an incredible mass volunteering campaign the following year. Suddenly there was this real sense that we were at the beginning of a movement, helping to build a better world.
“Creating a tech-for-good platform is more than just IT know-how, it’s also placing values and ethics at the heart of everything we build”
Overcoming the challenges of COVID-19 in 2020 was also unforgettable. We introduced a new grant giving feature so that businesses could easily funnel support into their local communities, and created remote volunteering opportunities for employees who were working from home.
Are there any considerations your product development has to take into account to stay in line with Neighbourly’s company values?
Yang: As a B Corp and mission-led business, the product team aims to make the giving process as easy and secure as possible so that businesses can make a real impact in their local community in the most efficient way.
We may be a technical team but, for us, success is helping companies deliver meaningful value to society and enabling them to tell their giving stories. We recognise that creating a tech-for-good platform is more than just IT know-how, it’s also placing values and ethics at the heart of everything we build.
Can you name one Neighbourly good cause whose work particularly inspires you and why?
Yang: I would have to go for Feed the Homeless Bristol - a grassroots charity that has provided frontline homelessness support in Bristol since February 2016.
It takes a huge amount of organisation and commitment from them to collect surplus, buy ingredients, cook and deliver hot food to people in need, week after week, and I’m humbled by their commitment and generosity of time and care.
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