121Giving unites charities, brands and online donors. Launched in March of 2015 at SXSW, 121Giving is an exclusive marketplace where 100% of your giving goes directly toward supplying items the organizations you care about need to do good.
I recently had the opportunity to interview Mark Courtney, one of the co-founders of 121Giving, via email. Check out my questions and his answers below.
1. What is the personal story behind 121 Giving?
121Giving emerged out of an inspiration to leverage technology in way that creates more connectedness and visibility into the tangible needs all around us. The world moving is at an increasingly fast pace and shifting into a more distracted and skeptical state, brought on by technology growth, social media and growing perception of exorbitant and/or illegal misappropriation of funds in the private and nonprofit sectors.
Ultimately, the driving force behind 121Giving is centered around creating a central destination that creates more trust, empathy and accountability in a disconnected and noisy digital landscape. It’s driven by the desire to create more of a transparent, efficient, and accountable method for charities, brands, consumers to come together to serve local communities and the greater good on a 24/7 basis. Further, looking into the future and engaging the youth in community impact, we felt a sense of urgency to responsibly pave the way for parents to have a simpler and clearer way to show their children just how much need is around them, so that they can better empathize and be empowered to make a difference, even with small contributions.
2. How can technology help people become better global citizens (or just local philanthropists)?
The evolution and paradigm of online crowdfunding has presented one of the most powerful shifts in how we all can come together to serve the greater good, but has also created somewhat of a black hole when it comes to accountability and giving donors the tangible giving experience they want and deserve. Technology has always and will continue to be the driving force behind enabling people to become better corporate citizens. However, the future of giving, cause-related marketing and increased donor engagement will be more driven by the experience and feeling of connectedness, than transactional. We expect to see more donor-centric engagement models, whereby technology and user experience will be a major determining factor in helping people better connect, trust and feel a part of making a real impact in the world. Creating more tangible giving experiences and efficient tools for nonprofits to better connect with and acquire online donors will become even more crucial to engaging and creating more involved global citizens.
3. How can people and / or nonprofits get involved with 121 Giving?
People can play an active part by sharing 121Giving with their favorite charities and registering to be a Social Boss on 121Giving. Our Social Boss program is the first of it’s kind, whereby people share their personal affinities and cities they are passionate about, so when campaigns are launched, they are notified and encouraged to promote , drive awareness, and ultimately drive donations to help charities reach their crowdfunding goals. It’s the beginning of our social media amplification strategy – where people receive personalized and actionable requests to propel contributions and spread awareness.
Charities can simply register on the website and open doors to all that 121Giving has to offer, free of charge.
4. What kind of impact has 121Giving had so far?
Stats since our official launch in March of 2015 at SXSW (as of October 6, 2015):
- Pounds of Goods Shipped: 81,756
- # of Products Shipped: 5,950
- People Served: 431
- Average Savings: 41%
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions, Mark!
Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer.