App recommends opportunities based on news you read
Olivier Kamanda read the "Invisible Child" in the New York Times. It was about Dasani, a 12-year-old Brooklyn girl and her family. They were homeless. Through social media, it prompted an outpouring of support for homeless families.
Kamanda was the speechwriter and senior advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He was volunteering at Miriam's Kitchen. It provides meals and social services to the homeless near the White House. The organization was about to launch "The Way Home Campaign." They would lobby the DC Council for more permanent 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 used crowdfunding to raise nearly $20,000. He used it to build a mobile app called Ideal Impact. The app determines the key social issues discussed in any news story. Then it suggests organizations that support those causes. Suppose you read a powerful story and think, "How can I help?" Ideal Impact can offer opportunities 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 are reading 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 constantly looking for volunteers, donors and community supporters. Nearly 73 percent of charitable giving comes from individual donors. And on average, it takes non-profits 23 hours to recruit each volunteer.
If we don't connect people who want to help with organizations that need support, we lose 90 million possible volunteers, donors or advocates for their causes. Their potential support in terms of service and donations amounts to nearly $207 billion in lost economic activity.
So, what exactly is Ideal Impact?
When readers care about news stories, Ideal Impact connects them with places to volunteer, donate, advocate and find jobs. Our mobile, web and digital media tools make recommendations for addressing 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. If a story moves you, you click the Ideal Impact button. It will appear in the main menu of the app or your browser. This will load the app, which will offer you opportunities to work with and support non-profits and action groups. They have been vetted by third-parties such as Charity Navigator and GuideStar. They've been reviewed by community members. In fewer than three clicks, weve taken you from moment of 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 using your skills to help others. These experiences define who we are and what matters to us. We hope to expand opportunities for people who see community service as a true reflection of their personal values.
Were working to launch our pilot in Washington, D.C. It will feature a test group of organizations that are recommended by our supporters. Well use the data we gather from the pilot to refine our app and 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 that want to turn their news into actionable content. We can give them an Ideal Impact badge that integrates our matching formula directly into their websites. We think this will help news and media companies measure the emotional impact of their articles. It will 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?