Continued from The @EchoingGreen Application Pt. 1.
Q: Help Echoing Green visualize what your organization will do. Describe the specific programs that your organization will engage in to deliver your long-term outcomes
A: We will provide the capability to make SMS donations, allow participation in project-based causes with regular support and updates, and partner with corporations who will match individuals’ contributions (Toms of Maine currently matches SMS donations by their customers to charity: water for up to $10K, proving that it is a feasible approach). Users will be engaged in a way that incorporates their social networks and communities such that action is not taken on the individual level but rather at the “crowd” level.
Q: Describe your long-term desired outcomes. How will you measure your progress toward these outcomes?
A: Besides drastically increasing levels of local volunteering and creating a substantial increase in funding for important causes, one of our long-term desired outcomes is to fundamentally change how charitable organizations raise funds for projects. The traditional charitable organization relies on
established and institutional donors for the majority of their operations, but there is a large and growing untapped market of individual, technology oriented donors who, by each contributing small amounts of time and money, can collectively make a tremendous impact on social causes.
We also seek to identify new trends (as well as being a catalyst for new trends) in charitable contributions by gathering and analyzing data based on our users’ habits. We will be able to measure first-hand exactly how and where people volunteer, and we will be able to track the exact amounts and geographic sources of funds raised for specific causes. We will measure progress based on the number of users (donors and charities) of our site and application, amount of money raised through our site, number of volunteer hours sourced, and on demographically and geographically-based performance metrics.
Q: Innovation is important to Echoing Green. Explain how your idea is truly innovative. Identify other organizations that are addressing this issue and how your approach is different and has the potential to be more effective
A: Sites like AllForGood.org and citizeneffect.org facilitate volunteering and giving, but these sites only focus on volunteering and donating, respectively. Our approach is much more holistic, and gives the user the option of either serving, donating (financially or otherwise), or both. Research shows that people who volunteer for a cause are also more likely to support the cause financially, so we make it easy to do both simultaneously – with the added benefit of presenting the donor with the opportunity without them having to look for it. We also heavily integrate the social component to a degree exceeding the above sites. Additionally, citizeneffect.org only raises money for select projects outside the US – our organization is expanding our reach to any cause, anywhere. Any Guidestar-established charity can submit a project. Also, citizeneffect.org’s paradigm is based on the power of the individual. We are taking the model a step further – letting the power of peoples’ social groups and communities exponentially expand opportunities to give.
Q: Building a new organization is challenging. How are you entrepreneurial? Describe your skills and experiences that demonstrate you can lead a start-up organization
A: Auren: I constantly think about fixing things when I see a problem. My favorite question to answer is “how?” Every idea is a potential business. I draw from experience in community organizing where I led an organization with outside funding, over 400+ volunteers, and specific goals and metrics (we ultimately registered nearly 5,000 voters). I am passionate about creating change, and I express as much. I listen carefully to people and am careful to give them my full attention as I might learn something. I am open to ideas and change – not afraid to delegate or be wrong.
Fernando: My entrepreneurialism shows in my willingness to take risks, resourcefulness, and focused approach to problem-solving. While working in LA for a Fortune 500 co., I realized I’d rather work somewhere I could truly make a difference. I quit my well-paying job in the middle of an economic
recession, moved to a city with the highest level of concentrated poverty in the US, and decided to work in economic development for the local government. City Hall wasn’t hiring at the time, so I created my own opportunity by volunteering in the department for a few months – a paid position was created for me.
Q: Why are you uniquely qualified to lead your specific organization? Describe your experience working with this issue and population
A: Auren: What I bring to this organization is a passion for creating change and create a fundamentally new model for charitable organizations to raise money on the internet. My experience is admittedly limited in the world of fundraising. But I am very well-versed in social media and the tools needed to bring people together with technology. I understand how to connect
people. I see the vision. I completely see it. I just need the help and funding to make it happen.
Fernando: I bring about the initiative to make things happen. I know first-hand what the power of proactive action can do when engaging in the unknown. If people see you hard-at-work and utterly determined, they tend not to stop what you’re trying to do. It’s simply too hard. After working for
the city of Fresno in the position they created specifically for me, I gained a wealth of hands-on experience communicating with businesses and entrepreneurs in the area on exactly what challenges face them. I am acutely aware of how improper uses of technology can exacerbate severe barriers to entry for people taking action on an organization’s behalf. And I am equipped to facilitate the development of new tech.