leStands is an app to track literature distributed through free literature stands. Activists & volunteers use the app when restocking a stand. A program administrator can then see a dashboard with statistics and other information about how the stands are performing.
A national non-profit with offices in cities across the country, The Humane League advocates for animals who are raised in factory farms. They use free plastic newsracks placed throughout the downtown as a an outreach tool. Each week a volunteer or staff person stock the stands with magazines. leStands allows their staff to use their smartphone to record how many magazines they add to stands. The app enables a program manager to use data to know when to check or relocated a stand and to measure effectiveness of the program.
I’ve managed a literature stands program like this in DC & Massachusetts. I believe that they are an effective way to reach a large number of people, but I didn’t feel that that way when I was restocking the stands. I was curious how to optimize this program so I started by keeping track of how many magazines each stand distributes. At first I was writing notes down on scraps paper and adding them to a spreadsheet, but it was easy to lose the paper or make mistakes. I wanted to way to use my smartphone to record these updates, so I made leStands.
leStands is currently being tested in Charlotte, NC with 35 stands. We are gathering feedback and data on the application to see if it is something that could be useful in other places as well.