“When you read about “bad,” you want to be able to “do good.”
good2gether is a new search and social media Web service that connects people to causes through a broad network of websites.
Apparently, it allows nonprofits to enter information about their mission, events, goals, and needs (volunteers, donors, activists, etc.). Then it feeds this information into an array of media partners online, including traditional media presences online, like the Houston Chronicle, the San Francisco Chronicle (more to be announced, they say, in Boston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, and New York), and links readers to social networking sites (i.e., save this event to Facebook, to my calendar, etc.).
So the idea, apparently, is that your information/need/call for action goes into a sidebar, alongside of related news stories on these distributed media websites.
- The user interface (the part that the nonprofit uses to enter information) is as simple to use as an online calendar submission interface. Type stuff in boxes.
- Nonprofits get a pretty robust dashboard with traffic stats and referrers.
- Event management is intuitive. Events cycle offline automatically, but the listing remains on your dashboard so you can change the dates and upload the event again when it happens again.
User (Individual) Interface
- Once the end-user clicks on a listing, they go to a “channel” page, where they find all the information they could want about different ways they can get involved in the nonprofit.
- Decide you’re not interested in that nonprofit after all? You can search for other events and volunteer opportunities by keyword or category.
- Nonprofits can post the logos and live links of their sponsors on their “channel” pages. Sponsors get ad space online – locally and more widely distributed through the media partners – by supporting a local nonprofit. This could be a useful selling point when nonprofits are signing sponsors on as supporters.
- Nonprofits will be screened by hand during the initial phase of the project, but then will be edited by the community of users via a “report objectionable content” option. While this will work to screen out obvious offenders, it may be far less effective in screening out more thoughtful scams. What’s to prevent some scammer from posing as a nonprofit, placing some sham events on a channel page, and then asking for donations for a popular cause like disaster relief? I think they might need to be more vigilant on this front and require some form of validation, like a Federal ID number from nonprofits, to prove they are a 501 C3 organization (and validate these Federal ID numbers against Guidestar or something similar) before allowing a nonprofit to use the system. It will only take one scam, one falsified listing and fraudulent donation request, to bring this all down via questionable reputation alone. The public is very good at tarring an entire organization (MySpace, etc.) with an unfairly broad brush just because a small percent of its population is untrustworthy.
This system looks like it was well thought out, it looks well designed, and it looks like a good business plan from my far-off vantage point. It’s free for nonprofits, they get to list their events and promote their local sponsors to fresh, tech-savvy audiences. Media partners are the ones who pony up money, but they get something they want too: hyper-local content with that Do-Good flair. They may have some serious unaddressed risk in the policing of nonprofits who list, but this can be addressed relatively simply through making the registration process more rigorous. It launches in April. I look forward to watching its progress.
So again: what do you think? Would YOU list your organization’s events on Good2Gether?