This concept is the result of a Better Giving Studio 3-day collaborative sprint focusing on Market Architecture. Dave Sharp (Every.org), Michael Tjalve (Microsoft Philanthropies), Leena Patidar (CoinUp), Michael Budwig (Paypal) and Rahul Gupta-Iwasaki (Every.org) championed this idea. You can read the brief the teams worked from for more context.
More than ever, people are finding community via online platforms. By targeting these active, engaged communities, bound by common interests, relevant nonprofits can meet a critical mass of occasional but passionate donors where they are. But smaller nonprofits and online platforms often don’t have the technical tools or resources needed to facilitate a standardized, seamless, and secure connection. As a result, many giving opportunities—small and large, occasional and recurring—slip through the cracks. The Giving Commons toolkit will be open source, making these tools accessible to anyone.
Meet Giving Commons through the eyes of Mila and Javi. Mila is a software developer at reddit, a platform that is actively looking to connect donors with nonprofits that resonate with their existing vibrant–and generous—communities. Reddit users have been known to flood charitable organizations with donations, sometimes to the point of crashing websites. So Mila and her team use Giving Commons Open Source Toolkit to easily set up embedded donate buttons, payment processing and other donation tools in their existing platform. The integrations allow reddit to automatically pair communities with causes they want to support so they don’t have to have know the details of every nonprofit. This custom-built AI model consumes data about the subreddit community to identify topics of interest. Then it suggested the top 1-3 most relevant nonprofits based on that data, plus an option to search for other related organizations to support.
Javi is a regular community member on a subreddit focused on animal conservation, and an occasional, but high potential, donor elsewhere. While visiting this subreddit, Javi notices the new integrations and sees a list of nonprofits working on animal conservation. He clicks on the ‘donate’ button and donates to one of them. The entire donation process – from connecting to a cause to finding an organization to support to sending the donations – is embedded directly into reddit’s platform so Javi can continue to engage with his community without leaving the page.
Using data from the Commons about how much their users have donated, the reddit team also adds elements of gamification by creating a leaderboard of how much different subreddits have donated. When Javi sees that another subreddit has donated more than his, he writes a post asking fellow community members to pitch in. After only a few hours, they’ve doubled their support of the animal conservation nonprofit – prompting the other subreddit to try to match them.
Javi’s payment is processed via a suite of partnerships and tools, making giving easy and secure. He never has to leave his subreddit. The toolkit also enables further relationship building with thank you and follow-up emails to support a cycle of on-going donation.
The Giving Commons Open Source Toolkit empowers leaders like Mila and donors like Javi to create a future where giving is seamlessly integrated into our daily lives.
Are you working on something similar? Have feedback to give us or insights that we should know about related to this exploratory concept? Did you test out this idea, and how did it go? We’d love to hear from you! Please write us a note at [email protected]ation.org
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