Aaron Surma – MSW Candidate, School of Social Work, University of Michigan, Member of Net Impact
Alex Kuhn – PhD Candidate, School of Computer Science & Engineering, University of Michigan
Greater Good is a web site designed to encourage savvy social investing.
The user's profile is an overview of their geographic and organizational preferences. The user's portfolio tracks information from all current and future donor organizations.
When confronted with too many options, consumers frequently feel unable to make a choice 1 . We work to eliminate this issue by offering a 'featured project' each week that is based on the user's preferences.
The organizational rating is an aggregate of Charity Navigator, Guidestar, Great Nonprofits, Givewell, New Philanthropy Capital to provide an overall percent rating for each organization. Users from the community can also provide reviews and provide a star rating.
Information about the activities of similar donors provides the user with exposure to new organizations in their area of interest.
1. "Consumer Preference for a No-Choice Option," Journal of Consumer Research, September, 1997. 34. "Context and Task Effects on Choice Deferral," Marketing Letters, January, 1997.
Greater transparency and information sharing by increasing the interaction between non-profits and users. This is done through monthly updates from the organization and user reviews from current and potential donors, increasing the flow of information to the donor and decreasing the donor’s perceived distance from the program.
Increasing the value-driven allocation of resources by providing users with the rich analytical data provided by organizations such as Guidestar and Charity Navigator in an easily accessible format. This is done via a two process rating system, with an aggregate rating calculated from external sources and user ratings and reviews.
Reducing transaction costs by offering non-profits a free tool to access new donations. This helps eliminates traditional transaction costs associated with fundraising.
Customer Perspective of Greater Good
“ I normally give each year to Central Detroit Christian Community (CDCC). This year, instead of their standard mailer requesting donations, they emailed me a link to Greater Good. I clicked on the link and saw CDCC's Peaches & Greens produce truck featured on the homepage. I was able to quickly ascertain 3 rd party information about Peaches & Greens as well as comments from people like me who are familiar with the organization. Once I input my preferences during the brief registration process, I was privy to all kinds of similar organizations in and around Detroit – organizations that I never would have found out about, but am very interested in. Not only do I have a simple interface to donate money this year, but there is so much information consolidated in one place. I have info from Guidestar, Charity Navigator and most importantly, my peers. Imagine my surprise a few weeks later when I received Peaches and Greens' monthly update. Now I know exactly how my money is spent and I feel great about my second gift to CDCC that will be used to start-up a new initiative they are launching. ”
Non-profit Perspective of Greater Good
"Based on a recommendation from the director of a local food bank, I decided to check out Greater Good. I found that by registering basic information and agreeing to provide one update per month (something we already do internally), I am able to gain access to a large, vibrant community of new donors. The process is simple and provides an incredible amount of exposure for our programs."
Implementation (1 of 2)
Initial implementation will be in Metro Detroit. This will allow us to focus our marketing and get early feedback to iterate our program design as needed before expanding nationwide.
Engage with 20 NPOs in the area to form a focus group that will provide feedback, allowing us to further refine the idea.
Contact all the NPOs with a budget > $1 million in Metro Detroit and give them information to join the site
Launch the site after registering 150 NPOs
Targeted messages to bloggers in this domain will inform them, ask for their feedback, and encourage them to share the idea with their readers
Implementation (2 of 2)
The online and print media in Detroit will be engaged as a part of a media blitz. Detroit media members are normally quick to support a project based in Detroit. This will provide exposure to the majority of potential donors in Metro Detroit
Users will also be targeted through online advertising (such as Google Adwords and StumbleUpon)
The ranking system within the site will increase your rank based on your activity and the activity of users you recruit
This encourages users to post updates of their activity to Facebook and Twitter to show their friends
After the initial period, the Project is expanded nationwide and sign-up NPOs from anywhere in the US
Depending on demand and feedback, this could be incremental by large metropolitan areas or all at once
Why this will succeed
We utilized and merged ideas from sites that had great success with their design
Woot, Amazon, Couchsurfing, Yelp, Kayak
Information utilizes existing databases (low start-up costs):
Idealist, Charity Navigator, Guidestar, Great Nonprofits, Givewell, New Philanthropy Capital
We received endorsements and feedback from several non-profits in Michigan. These include:
Lauren Morelli, American Diabetes Association, Associate Manager of Fundraising
Katie Doyle, Ozone House, Executive Director
Lisa Johanon, Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corporation, Executive Director
"Good artists copy, great artists steal." -Pablo Picasso
We choose Peaches & Greens ( http://tinyurl.com/lvrsqe ), a social enterprise operated by Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corporation (CDCC), to be the recipient of any potential reward money. Peaches & Greens uses the fee-for-service model to address issues of diabetes and obesity in CDCC's target community. The produce store and truck provide access to fresh food in a neighborhood where 50% of the residents do not have the proper transportation to access food from grocery stores.
Peaches & Greens is financially self-sustaining and does not require operating grants. The award money would be used toward the purchase of a second truck, which would increase their capacity to provide jobs and and healthy food options in Central Detroit.