App recommends opportunities based on news you read
Do you ever read about a problem and wish you could help? An app can help you. It was invented by Olivier Kamanda.
Kamanda was the former speechwriter and senior advisor to Hillary Clinton. He read a news story about Dasani, a 12-year-old Brooklyn girl. She and her family were homeless. The story went on social media. It made many people want to help homeless families.
Kamanda was volunteering at Miriam's Kitchen near the White House. It gives meals and social services to the homeless. The organization was about to launch "The Way Home Campaign." They would lobby the DC Council for more housing.
"I realized that if everyone who was moved by the New York Times piece knew about the Way Home Campaign, we'd be able to direct some of that energy towards tackling chronic homelessness in our city," says Kamanda.
He raised nearly $20,000. He used it to build a mobile app called Ideal Impact. The app determines the key issues in any news story. Then it suggests organizations that try to help. Suppose you read a powerful story. You think, "How can I help?" Ideal Impact tells you where to volunteer, work and donate.
In the following interview, Kamada provides some background and inspiration:
What problem are you trying to fix?
People may wish to help when they read about a problem. News stories about issues such as homelessness or climate change prompt us to get involved. But we dont often know how.
Meanwhile, 1.6 million non-profits are looking for volunteers, donors and supporters. Nearly 73 percent of charitable giving comes from individual donors. And on average, it takes non-profits 23 hours to recruit each volunteer.
Suppose we don't connect people who want to help with organizations that need support. We lose 90 million possible volunteers, donors or supporters.
So, what exactly is Ideal Impact?
Readers often care about news stories. Ideal Impact connects them with places to volunteer, donate, advocate and find jobs. Our mobile, web and digital media tools recommend ways to address the problems in an article.
How will the app work exactly?
You install the Ideal Impact app on your mobile or desktop. You can read news from any source. Suppose a story moves you. Click the Ideal Impact button. It will appear in the main menu of the app or your browser. This will load the app. The app will tell you about non-profits and action groups you can support. They have been approved by third-parties such as Charity Navigator and GuideStar. They've been reviewed by community members. In fewer than three clicks, youve gone from inspiration to a meaningful opportunity.
As you see it, what is the potential impact the app could have on volunteerism and financial giving?
We are re-imagining civic engagement. Our app connects people who want to make a difference with organizations that need support. As a result, we help lower the cost to non-profits of finding supporters. We also make it easier for people to contribute their time, talent and energy.
More important, the app can potentially show the true value of service. Ideal Impact helps you be part of a community, find purpose-driven work and feel satisfaction from helping others. These experiences define who we are. They show what matters to us. We hope to expand opportunities for people whose personal values include community service.
Were working to launch our pilot in Washington, D.C. It will feature a test group of organizations our supporters recommended. Well use the data we gather from the pilot to refine our app. We'll build additional features. Then we'll offer the app to more non-profit organizations and action groups.
After that, we'll offer the app to media companies. It can help their readers act on their news. We can give them an Ideal Impact badge. It will integrate our matching formula into their websites. This should help news and media companies measure the emotional impact of their articles. It'll help build stronger relationships with their readers.
Critical thinking challenge: What non-profit and issue-oriented organizations would you recommend that we feature on our platform?