An internet platform that helps South Africans who want to make a difference get connected to the causes that can use their help, launched yesterday.
Forgood connects people to approved non-profit organisations (NPOs) and allows them to respond to existing needs and campaigns. Additionally, users can create their own personalised offers for a whole new "giving" experience.
Forgood also targets businesses, aiming to improve the efficacy of their corporate social investment (CSI) programmes.
"There are over 85,000 registered non-profits in South Africa, but very few technology platforms that connect people who want to do good - to the organisations that need their help. There are even fewer platforms out there which provide this service to business," says Andy Hadfield, CEO of forgood.
"In the short term, we want to connect 100,000 people to causes and bring on a group of forward- thinking businesses that would use our platform to help with staff volunteering and community engagement projects. That's going to teach us a lot about this industry and we have some big ideas to come. Essentially, we want to build the digital 'glue' underneath the NPO industry in Africa - it's a critical industry that is often under-supported and under-appreciated. A platform approach can provide efficiency and scale - it could be transformative."
"Many people don't know this, but South Africa was the second biggest climber in the CAF World Giving Index 2014. That's largely because last year, 4.5 million more South Africans gave up their time in some way to help a good cause than in 2013. That's a huge number of people and a big trend - something we'd like to build technology around.
The forgood product revolves around three propositions:
- It allows users to browse and respond to existing needs and campaigns from an approved database of causes.
- It encourages people to change the way they think about "giving" by creating personalised offers around any interesting skills and passions they have - and matching these to the right causes. Everything from gardening, marketing, clothes and metalwork have been successfully matched to causes in early tests.
- It offers business functionality that allows companies to manage internal CSI campaigns and report on the impact their staff are having through these mechanics.
Speaking about startups with a social conscience, Hadfield went on to say: "We're trying something different. The temptation might be to work inside the NPO sector as an NPO ourselves, but we'd like to bring a bit of startup hustle, automation and urgency to the space - so forgood is actually registered as a for-profit - it's a social enterprise. We're a company that wants to make returns for our investors - but we'll do that while we're making the world a better place."
The team includes Andy Hadfield (previously of Real Time Wine, FNB and gAL.co.za
) and Garth Japhet (founder of Soul City, South Africa's longest running and most successful media NGO, South African representative for Social Media at the World Economic Forum and currently CEO of Heartlines).
"We've been fortunate. forgood was incubated in various forms inside Heartlines, which has given us some time to learn about what might and might not work. We've taken those lessons and built the current product from scratch - meaning we're treating this like a startup. I've been honoured to join a team that has already done so much work in this space. This launch is about kicking it up to the next level. Come and change the world with us," invites Hadfield.
You can try out forgood by visiting forgood.co.za
or connect with them socially on Facebook