Case Study: Vote America

Empowering voter engagement.

Remote
Ongoing project

VoteAmerica, a renowned non-profit organization, revolutionizes voter engagement through cutting-edge technology. By embracing an ingenious and inclusive platform, they connect voters with crucial information, fostering a more informed and engaged electorate.

However, VoteAmerica encountered hurdles in managing product tracking and billing. They also strived to meet evolving data security regulations and improve their platform. Seeking our assistance, they aimed to overcome these challenges and further improve their services.

Quote

“Their self-sufficient approach enabled rapid progress and helped us achieve our goals swiftly.”

“Uplift stands out by effortlessly understanding and executing our objectives without excessive guidance. Their team is friendly and thoughtful. Despite limited resources, their self-sufficient approach enabled rapid progress and helped us achieve our goals swiftly.”

Emily BehlmannLead Software Engineer, VoteAmerica

Client Goal

VoteAmerica sought out our help with the following:

1. Streamlining customer management software.

VoteAmerica aimed to simplify their billing operations by implementing robust mechanisms to streamline tracking of products and subscriptions for improved billing processes. Addressing challenges that had previously resulted in a cumbersome process.

2. Infrastructure improvements.

To optimize their existing platform and improve its performance as well as reduce cost, VoteAmerica sought to introduce a modern user interface and a manageable billing system to attract and retain customers effectively.

3. HIPAA compliance with new data security regulations.

Handling voters data in a secure manner was a top priority for VoteAmerica, thus they sought our guidance to ensure their platform adhered to the latest regulatory requirements and maintain their SOC II compliance.

The task at hand

The Uplift engineering team aimed to prioritize VoteAmerica's goals, with a focus on customer attraction and retention. We sought to enhance their billing practices and modernize the user interface to facilitate a steady customer base. Additionally, our objective was to deliver a secure, stable, and cost-effective solution. To achieve this, we transitioned from the Heroku cloud platform to AWS, taking great care to ensure compliance with security standards. This complex dilemma required thoughtful consideration and planning.

The backbone of the site uses Django, a Python framework, along with GraphQL.
The front-end uses Next.js with TypeScript and React.
Tailwind is used as the CSS styling library.
Web servers are hosted on AWS.
Data is stored in a PostgreSQL database.
Donations are handled through a Stripe integration.

Solution

Uplift undertook the assignment of designing and implementing a robust infrastructure to meet and exceed the expectations set by Vote America. We embarked on a comprehensive analysis of their existing infrastructure, identifying key issues and presenting innovative solutions for implementation.

1. Streamlining Billing Process

To address the billing challenges, we introduced a new logical model that replaced their existing system. This involved creating products corresponding to VoteAmerica's services and establishing flexible subscriptions that could include one or more products. Customers could also have multiple subscriptions.

To further enhance the process, we utilized Stripe's capabilities and implemented integrations for managing scheduled payments. Through real-time communication between Stripe and VoteAmerica's system using webhooks, we ensured effortless control over access to tools. Additionally, we seamlessly integrated Stripe's billing portal into VoteAmerica's user interface, creating a smooth and cohesive experience.

2. Enhancing the User Experience

As part of our solution, we overhauled their existing basic frontend, using modern design elements, a mobile-first user interface and cleaner user interactions. Furthermore, we developed a new API on the backend to support efficient, scalable communication between the frontend and database systems. The result was a visually appealing, snappy and intuitive user interface that enhanced the overall voter experience.

3. Simplifying Infrastructure and Cost Optimization

To improve operational efficiency and reduce cost, we simplified VoteAmerica’s infrastructure and migrating from Heroku to AWS. By leveraging the scalability and cost-effectiveness of AWS, it helped tighten security as well as reducing request durations since the database was already on AWS. The transition to AWS provided VoteAmerica with enhanced performance, scalability, and cost optimization where monthly infrastructure costs where reduced by 30% (compared September 2022-2023).

Performance improvements part 1
The image illustrates the immense improvement in performance, showing the drop in response time for a request, 10X faster.
Performance improvements part 2
For background jobs, the data shows how the improvement was over 90%.

4. Prioritizing Security

Recognizing the necessity to meet industry standards and safeguard critical voter information, Uplift took measures to mitigate dependency on external services and implement robust security measures. By streamlining the infrastructure and consolidating services within the platform, we enhanced security protocols and ensured compliance. Our comprehensive approach focused on addressing vulnerabilities and creating a centralized infrastructure that safeguarded data.

Quote

“Thanks to Uplift's work, our infrastructure is more stable, secure, and cost-effective”

“The results of streamlining our customer management software through Uplift have been impressive. Onboarding and subscription management are faster, the VoteAmerica+ dashboard is modern and attractive for customers. Thanks to Uplift's work, our infrastructure is more stable, secure, and cost-effective for our nonprofit organization.”

Emily BehlmannLead Software Engineer, VoteAmerica

Outcome

Through collaborative design, iterative development, and rigorous testing, Uplift successfully addressed VoteAmerica's objectives, driving transformative change in voter engagement. Onboarding and subscription management became faster and easier, with a modern and appealing VoteAmerica+ dashboard for customers.

Additionally, substantial performance improvements were achieved, such as a reduction in API query response time by up to 10 times and enhanced processing time for background tasks. The adoption of SOC2 certification and HIPAA compliance further strengthened security measures. These significant advancements allowed VoteAmerica to expand its operations, pursue new projects, and confidently meet security compliance standards. Moving forward, we anticipate ongoing success and growth in Uplifts partnership with VoteAmerica.

Quote

“I always feel like I can reach out to them if I need help”

“Uplift has a multi-talented team and it feels like we have a true partner. They have helped us to accomplish our goals, and I always feel like I can reach out to them if I need help or just someone to bounce an idea off of.’”

Emily BehlmannLead Software Engineer, VoteAmerica