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    August 5, 2008

    The Abandoned Do Good Princicple:

    In this two-part blog, I'll post the great info I learned from a chat I had today with Greg McHale, founder of Good2Gether.

    Part I: It doesn't always take a village...

    If you get a self-described web "geek" and founder of an Internet startup to attend a fundraising auction for a friend's daughter. Especially if this man is Greg McHale who has founded not 1, but 2 nonprofit platforms in the span of less than 10 years, with the second poised to be the "fundamental sea change in the nonprofit space." (his words)

    I had the chance to speak with Greg earlier today (found me through my blog-yay people do read it!) and he told me all about his latest project, and I gotta say, I think what he's doing is pretty exciting and while I don't know about the "fundamental sea change," this is definitely something I will be keeping a real close eye on from now and am eager to see what happens with it.

    So what's the backstory? After he left that auction, Greg figured there had to be a way to engage donors in fundraising auctions who may not be able to attend in person-people who are traveling, or have kids, or just don't live anywhere near the place. So he founded cMarket, an online auction space for nonprofits.

    But after a few years of working with nonprofits, Greg realized a couple of really important things:

    1) The Internet, which should be incredibly powerful tool for nonprofits, is not so much. There are many different reasons, but one Greg zeroed in on was that many don’t update their websites as regularly as they should, with stuff like news, donation drives, volunteer ops, etc.

    2) The organizing principle of Internet is search-if you don’t update you web content regularly, search engines like Google don't index it and you don't come up in search results. Web should be a huge efficiency for nonprofits, but doesn’t deliver what it should.

    3) The web, in general, does not provide a space for "Doing Good" in places where we don't go with the intent of "Doing Good". In Greg's world, this translated to news sites. He gives the example of Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. Say you were on the web reading an article about Hurricane Katrina. And suddenly, you got this feeling that you "Should do something." At most, you could expect to find a link somewhere toward the bottom of the article to the American Red Cross. But as Greg points out, there were hundreds, if not thousands of nonprofits who helped with the relief effort, from organizations on the ground in New Orleans, to animal shelters thousands of miles away that took in abandoned pets.

    Or take a story you are reading in the local paper online, about say, oh I don't know, how your local food banks are running short on food. You feel you should do something, right? Give some cash to the food bank? Go to the store and buy some food and drop it off? Volunteer to help serve food? But then the article doesn't really provide any "Do Good" directions, like a link to your local food banks, so you sigh and close out of your browser window cause you can't really be bothered to take the extra step of finding all this info out-abandoning your initial urge to do good.

    Well folks, Greg is on a mission to save all those "Do Goods" from being abandoned! And in the next post, I will tell you what his plan is to save the Do Goods and what all this has to do with Gen Y.


    John Lepp said...

    Interesting post Miriam. I look forward to part two!

    John Lepp

    alex said...

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.