Put Your Social Network to Work for a Worthy Cause

You’ve got a big following on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +… maybe even thousands of people. Isn’t it time your social network slipped into its spandex and buttoned on its superhero cape and did a little good in the world?

That’s the premise of HopeMob, originally funded on Kickstarter, and about to enter its second year of business.

Here’s how you and your social network can do good using HopeMob. Suppose, in honor of the UN’s recent International Day of the Girl, you decide to start a fundraiser to provide school uniforms for an all-girls school in Accra, Ghana. School uniforms bring many benefits, but if a family can’t afford the price of the uniforms, that would preclude their daughter from going.

But you know that the education of girls helps inoculate them against child marriage, and is highly correlated with advancements in society and economic growth. Educated women have a lower infant mortality rate, higher skills, self-confidence, and the information to be better mothers, workers, and citizens. In the developing world a lot hangs on something as simple as a school uniform.

HopeMob helps you mobilize the support of your social network on behalf of causes you care about, called ‘Stories.’ Reach a certain threshold of support… measured in Story Points… and HopeMob promotes your Story to its first page, Reddit-like. There’s always 4 Stories in a preferred position, the Featured Story, plus three ‘Locked Stories.’ Those four maintain their position until they reach their funding goal. Another 16 Stories are on the first page based on points. However, the position of those 16 Stories is subject to change.

Once in the featured category, those 20 Stories attract the gaze of the broader world. Your Tweeps may get you on the first page. But it is the larger network that will fund all those school uniforms.
The rest of the Stories are in a catchall category called Success Stories.

You can buy 100 points for $10. You can earn points for donating to Stories, for inviting friends, for connecting via Facebook and Twitter, for completing your profile, etc.

It’s a pretty cool crowdfunding ecosystem that was developed by the cofounders who were doing similar fundraising efforts on Twitter.

When I was at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals one of our talking points was that most of the money we raised came in a dollar or two at a time. CMNH’s fundraising was classic example of fortune at the bottom of the pyramid thinking. But it was made possible only because CMNH had access, through its sponsors, to millions of retail customers.

Companies like HopeMob, with their use of social media, do much the same without the hassle and expense of recruiting sponsors.

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