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Robin Hood Army CheckIn Project

This is a one-stop platform for thousands of Robins to "checkin" to food drives, get ranks and certificates, and see who the most active Robins and cities are globally.

 · 3 min read

Written by Neel Ghose, founder of the Robin Hood Army.

The Robin Hood Army (RHA) is a volunteer organization in which thousands of professionals and citizens collect surplus food from restaurants and distribute it to the less fortunate. The idea is not just to mobilize meals, but in the process get to know local communities whilst sharing the food and make a difference to their lives, with the bonds created.

In 8 years, the RHA has served 114.4 million meals to the underserved across 13 countries globally. The team has a zero funds approach, and scales impact through passionate Robins, social media, and partnerships.

Primary Challenge

The RHA runs in a decentralized manner hyperlocally. For example in a city like Mumbai, there are 32 neighborhood chapters - in the Andheri chapter, food comes from restaurants in Andheri, the Robins (volunteers) are residents, and the less fortunate are communities such homeless people, orphanages, old-age homes. Every Robin does this in their free time and is expected to contribute 3 hours a week.

RHA Volunteer Retention Challenge - Motivation to serve is correlated to city leadership

  1. Through consistent social media and press partnerships 211,946 volunteers have signed up to to be Robins, however like any growing organization retention is inconsistent
  2. We have observed that retention/Robin’s motivation to continue serving over time is directly proportional to the quality of leadership at city level
  3. This is coachable till a certain level, but standardized recruitment, training, and supporting in ~300+ cities is difficult especially when every member of the Robin Hood Army is doing this part-time

Building RHA CheckIn with FOSS United

  1. Multiple brainstorming sessions with FOSS United volunteer team (Shridhar Patil, Nikhil Ponnuru on development, Krutika Thakkannavar on design) to understand what are our core issues solvable by tech - narrowed down on volunteer motivation.
  2. The FOSS United volunteer team developed a web-based platform using Frappe through which:
  3. Robins could “Check In” after every food drive and earn badges and shareable certificates at specific milestones (10 Drives - Robin Ninja, 50 Drives - Robin Gladiator, 100 Drives - Robin Centurion)
  4. Every Robin is ranked on recent activity and has a City and a Global Rank, they can also see their journey of serving on a unique profile page
  5. Robins can view and be inspired by photos/moments of CheckIns from different parts of the world

  1. We did a gradual ramp up: 5 Cities → 15 Cities → Full Launch
  2. In every stage of the ramp up, the FOSS United volunteer team and RHA worked closely to identify critical bugs and refine features to make the experience intuitive for the Robins on the ground
  3. We run periodic training with the RHA team on the “why” of the mission, the simple narrative is “CheckIn is insurance for the Robin Hood Army, if we do this diligently we have a much more sustainable shot at serving as a team over the years to come”.
  4. In the process, the RHA team has learned how to manage the system and tweak it to our needs using the Frappe based “low code” admin dashboards.


  1. 240 Cities are currently using the Checkin tool - we are confident of ramping this up to 300 by 2023 year-end.
  2. Weekly meals served has grow 68% from 373k meals → 628k meals pre and post checkIn, whilst some of this is also because of multiple efforts, a major part of the delta can be attributed to CheckIn tool usage
  3. Sample cities which track 6 Month retention say this has grown from 20-30% to 60-65%.
  4. ReapBenefit is adopting elements from the project to build their own volunteer dashboard.
  5. The most memorable impact is obviously not in the data:


Next Steps

  1. Sharing CheckIn on social media is still a laborious process - make it simple so that Robins can inspire their networks to join RHA and/or use the CheckIn tool
  2. Review design, flows, and features periodically to understand what can make the CheckIn process more seamless for the Robin community

Check out the portal here:

Project repository: 

Volunteers who worked on the project: Krutika Thakkannavar, Shridhar Patil and Nikhil Ponnuru

Written by Neel Ghose, founder of Robin Hood Army.

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