GoodWorld lays $1 million on the line for the giving season - Technical.ly DC

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Dec. 14, 2015 12:33 pm

GoodWorld lays $1 million on the line for the giving season

The young company will add one dollar to every $20 dollar donation (up to $1 million) using #donate in the month of December. Here's why, and how.

The GoodWorld team.

(Courtesy photo)

“For it is in giving that we receive.”

GoodWorld CEO Dale Nirvani Pfeifer says she couldn’t get this line from St. Francis’ Peace Prayer out of her head while she went about building her company. So now that GoodWorld is just over a year old and in the midst of its first full season of giving, Pfeifer and her team decided to launch a Million Dollar Challenge.

The challenge started on Dec. 1 (#GivingTuesday) and will last through Dec. 31. It works like this: GoodWorld will add $1 to every donation of $20 dollars or more, up to $1 million.

Give, and receive.

Of course, the donations aren’t just any — they must be made using GoodWorld’s signature “#donate” technology. #Donate allows users to easily give money to a broad variety of nonprofits (GoodWorld currently partners with over 1,200 nonprofits) with a simple Tweet or Facebook comment. It is philanthropy for the social age — quick, painless and, perhaps most interestingly, visible in your social network.

With GoodWorld’s technology users can give money instantaneously, simply by commenting #donate[dollar amount] on a nonprofit’s Facebook post, or by Tweeting #donate at a nonprofit’s Twitter handle. If you’re not registered with GoodWorld there is a page for credit card information that must be filled out after the first donation, but after that initial input the process becomes seamless.

This, and the social visibility, is key to GoodWorld’s difference. Traditional giving has been a private act, whether performed in an analog way with a checkbook at one’s desk or via the online portals that so many nonprofits have built and maintain. But with #donate giving is public and social — allowing an individual to express his or her values and the community to (perhaps) respond in kind.

GoodWorld firmly believes that the millennial generation is generous — they just need a new way to show it. In fact, GoodWorld believes this so thoroughly that the company’s whole monetization strategy depends on acts of generosity. The company takes a 4.8 percent service fee on each donation (their payment system, Stripe, takes an additional 2.2 percent).

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So what’s the difference between #donate and Facebook’s revamped Donate button?

The biggest difference, for the moment, is that #donate is in-stream and takes place without leaving the social platform where it begins, while Facebook’s expanded use of the Donate button redirects users to the nonprofit’s website where they have to fill out a traditional (and often cumbersome) donation form.

Pfeifer admits that the niche she has carved for GoodWorld might not always remain so open — if social giving takes off other actors are likely to join. She maintains, however, that given the roughly $270 billion per year in individual donations spent in the U.S., there is room for multiple players in the market.

For now, GoodWorld looks ahead to the successful completion of the giving season, and to company goals for the new year.

Changing the way we give back might be a cool idea, but it’s not a simple task. What GoodWorld offers will revamp the philanthropic paradigm on two sides — that of the nonprofit and that of the giver. Pfeifer told Technical.ly that to date the company has spent more time focusing on partnering with nonprofits, aware that they cannot expect to be utilized if people can’t use #donate to give to a variety of causes.

Now, however, Pfeifer feels that GoodWorld has reached a critical mass of partners. Among its 1,200+ partners are nonprofits ranging from headliners like Oxfam, Save the Children and Greenpeace, all the way to small local animal shelters.

Pfeifer told Technical.ly that the next frontier for the company will be experimenting with and perfecting their strategy for encouraging donations — developing a social strategy to reel in givers. This could mean more celebrity campaigns or live events or challenges like the Million Dollar Challenge or something else entirely.

As always in the social realm the name of the game will keep changing. It’s a puzzle, surely, but one that GoodWorld seems to believe in and enjoy.

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Tajha Chappellet-Lanier

Tajha Chappellet-Lanier was the lead reporter for Technical.ly DC. The California native previously worked for NPR and the editorial board at USA Today. She can talk travel plans all day, and has strong opinions on the best doughnut in D.C.

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