Guest post from Susan Cooney, Givelocity Founder & CEO.
Why Shared Giving Matters
Susan Cooney, Givelocity Founder & CEO
For the past 20 years, I have watched technology evolve and connect us in ways I could never have imagined. At LinkExchange, I learned from Tony Hsieh the importance of building online communities. At PayPal, Peter Thiel showed me the tremendous potential in facilitating peer-to-peer transactions. I saw the transformative power of connecting people, and I began to wonder how it could be applied to the world of philanthropy. After all, I wanted to give, but alone, what difference could I make?
Today’s technology enables us to seek out and quickly build new connections based on natural affinities. It amplifies our collective voice and increases our ability to effect change. Why not harness our social networks and collective reasoning for good? By building communities for shared giving, I believe we reinforce our sense of fellowship and our human desire to connect with and support others. We gain the power to change the world.
Thanks to today’s increased connectivity and transparency, we see social challenges more clearly, and in real-time. Yet despite that connectivity, we still watch, seemingly helpless, as people starve, animals suffer, and segments of society are repressed. With our limited time, money, and insight, how can we possibly make any difference? And, even if we feel passionately about giving, we are pre-conditioned to find that one cause, and to then give as much as we can to a charity serving it. It’s a very singular behavior, and it perpetuates one of the biggest challenges facing NPOs today: most giving is one-time or event-driven, making their business models, no matter how important their cause, unsustainable. Then we hear that only a small percentage of our donation actually went to the cause, making us question our charitable impact.
The bottom line is that most of us can only give so much as individuals. And we lack leverage because our dollars are distributed. We don’t see significant impact in any one area because we’re spreading our resources out, not pooling them. Charities lack leverage too. They’re forced to spend inordinate portions of our donations on fundraising because they didn’t receive enough to support their programs. And they come back to us again and again for more.
Charities also constantly compete for donations. With 1.6 million registered charities in the U.S. alone, and the hundreds of thousands of causes listed on sites like Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and Crowdrise, it becomes increasingly difficult to focus enough resources to drive world-changing, sustainable solutions.
As I read stories about persistent human and global issues, I ask myself, why haven’t we solved these problems? We have the resources and the capacity; where’s the innovation? What if we turn our social networks into communities for shared giving?
Enter Givelocity, a platform for shared giving among social networks. By building online communities that nourish philanthropic themes, we create a more powerful ecosystem for giving. We mitigate the lack of leverage by coming together with many small donations around single themes for deeper social impact. We promote a more sustainable model of active, subscription-based giving, relieving charities of the need to come back and ask for more.
With Neighborhoods, a new feature launching on December 3rd, Giving Tuesday, members can pool their donations with others’ to target specific areas of interest. Animal lovers can ‘move in’ to the Animal Kingdom Neighborhood and know that their monthly donations will only benefit animal causes. Members focused on children’s causes can ‘move in’ to the Children’s Network Neighborhood and be assured that their dollars will only support children. Members are welcome to join as many neighborhoods as they like. If they don’t see a neighborhood that feeds their passion, they can build their own. Together, we can leverage crowdsourcing to drive funding support to causes that matter most to our shared communities.
As we better map our common human threads, we can make more dramatic progress in areas like poverty, hunger, access to clean water, and other major social themes. Givelocity offers a transformative user experience, increasing members’ network power exponentially for higher social outcomes.
We are disrupting philanthropy by tapping into a new era of connection. That matters. Join us at http://www.givelocity.com/join/ and follow us at http://twitter.com/givelocity and http://www.facebook.com/Givelocity.