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HopeMob: Crowdsourcing for Social Giving

November 8th, 2012. Filed under Social Good,social good models

Head over to Kickstarter and you’ll see lots of people waving their arms and trying to get your attention for personal projects, like helping an indie band get their first album made or a wannabe developer make a really cool sounding video game. With all the struggle going on in the world, it’s a shame that Kickstarter campaigns working for the greater good are so few and far between.

Enter Shaun King, that master of social change and charitable giving who’s been featured on CNN, Oprah, and more. After spending 15 years speaking at events for Social Good, Inc. and then raising $5,000,000 for Haiti after the horrible earthquakes of a few years ago, Mr. King decided that, essentially, a charity version of Kickstarter was needed to facilitate the “choreographed giving of generous strangers.”

Where did he go to get the money to finance this project? Where else? – Kickstarter! His pitch to prospective donors was HopeMob, which highlights a single story and asks people to donate until the goal has been reached. Some recent examples on the site include paying the annual tuition for an entire class of Kenyan high school students, raising $10,000 for a victim of the Aurora movie theater shooting, and helping a hardworking Haitian father get a moped so that he can increase his work productivity and make more money for his family (the site also raised extra money to pay for a year of his kids’ tuition).

Obviously you can tell that the Kickstarter campaign was a success since we’re already talking about all of the good that HopeMob has been doing. A big part of this has to be the unique model for giving that Shaun put together.

Anyone can submit a story regarding a person with a need that they know. Those stories are then read by HopeMob volunteers, who use a careful screening process so that the site is only featuring 24 stories at any given time. People who come to the site then vote to select which ones get “Hope Mobbed.” These then become featured campaigns on the main page, but people can only donate to the top story until the necessary funding has been reached.

Beyond this featured story, there are spaces for three more stories to become “locked” right below, which means that they have received enough votes to guarantee that they’ll be featured soon. Other top stories are listed as well that are close to becoming locked but not quite there. In this way, HopeMob helps the cream rise to the top while also keeping things moving fast and helping to avoid story clutter and backlogging. And as soon as the funding for one story is met and it leaves the rotation, a new story enters the mix, ensuring that there are always 24.

Once people have donated the required amount for the featured story, the money doesn’t go to the person who submitted it like with Kickstarter, or to the person in the story, but rather directly to the payee mentioned. For example, if a HopeMob story was about paying tuition, the donations would go directly to the school. Hospital bills would be paid to the hospital. And so on. They also guarantee that 100 percent of the money donated will be used to fund what’s needed in the story, so what are you waiting for? Go bring hope to someone in need!

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