Remember that Codestarter laptop you funded? Here comes your thanks!

A simple thank you can make the world go around.

At Codestarter, we’ve been busy automating the process that sends out huge thanks from the kids receiving laptops. Since our June launch at Techstars Demo Day, Codestarter has busied itself with accepting donations, sourcing laptops, developing a custom installer script for our Codekits, onboarding Partner Coding Organizations, and delivering laptops to the kids who use them to learn to code. We’ve sent a ton of shout-out tweets and emails about a personalized thank you from the kids, but we were still busy building the process. Now we can finally answer the burning question of ever donor:

What happened to my donation?

This week we complete the donation cycle by delivering automated and personalized thank yous, like this one:

When students receive their laptops, they take a photo of themselves using the laptop’s camera. You’ll receive this photo in your thank you, as well as a bit about what he or she likes to study (or doesn’t like to study) and hopes and dreams for the future. Over time, you’ll get to see answers evolve as the students grows, studies more, and develops new interests.

Sending out the long awaited thank yous has been a weekly discussion at Codestarter. One afternoon our Communications Director, Rheanna, and I threw up our hands and determined that we’d just do it the old fashioned way—write hundreds and hundreds of thank yous by hand. Then we realised it would take weeks. So naturally, our Lead Developer, Alex, presented the idea to write some code and automate it.

My co-founder, Tom, spent most of December writing a script to automate the thank yous, which involved seemingly unending “If” statements. As we’ve learned what works and what works better for onboarding students, we’ve seen various levels of success with laptop usage. Thank yous had to be written to account for students who took photos of the ceiling or forgot to take a photo at all, or who didn’t fill out the questions correctly, whose information we use to populate the email text. Endless variations. But in the end we have a Thank You 1.0 that we’re excited to share with our donors.

Many of you are monthly donors and have supported Codestarter from the beginning - and we know you can’t wait to hear about the kids you’ve impacted directly by donating.

I’m glad we’ve had the chance to provide some transparency into the giving (and thank you) process, and I hope you enjoy and share this awesome thank you with your friends and family.

Next week we’ll be posting about improving our laptops and onboarding process. If, for any reason, you don’t get all of the thank yous that you’re anticipating, this next post will help to explain our Codekit shipping and kid onboarding process a bit more. And we’re still nudging a few Partner Orgs to hand out the very last remaining laptops we’ve sent their way. Sometimes it takes a kid longer to register - so keep an eye out for their thank you coming soon.

Want to fund a laptop for a kid to learn to code? Visit us here: https://codestarter.org