There is a culture of generosity being sparked on social media, and GoodWorld founder Dale Nirvani Pfeifer is at the forefront of this. The New Zealander from Invercargill has spent the last few years navigating the corridors of influence from her Washington DC base, working with the likes of Congress and the Rockefeller Foundation, before launching her own start-up which is, in the words of President Obama, "...a big opportunity for philanthropy - sort of like crowdsourcing for a good cause."
When Pfeifer met the US President half way through last year, no one had quite figured out how to make it easy to donate on Facebook and Twitter. It involved exiting social media, following a link to an external website, and filling in forms. The process was slow and clunky, and by the end of it the warm feeling of generosity would start to fade.
"That was the cognitive leap," says Pfeifer. "If giving is easy, fast and fun people will engage."
The GoodWorld platform went live in October 2014, creating a shortcut to giving, and already has some of the world's biggest charities on board; including Save the Children, African Wildlife Foundation and Humane Society International. The communication channel between NGOs and supporters is social media, and GoodWorld shines a light on generosity for all to see. The technology makes donating as simple as writing #donate in a Facebook comment or in a Twitter tweet, and so now social media pages are becoming a viral network of social giving. The once-off sign up takes less than 60 seconds, GoodWorld receives 4.8% of donations, and the rest goes to the charity.
"Giving is contagious," said the TEDxAuckland speaker at the 2015 event held in May. "If we tallied up all the people on Facebook it would be the third largest nation in the world, and 27% of all time is spent on social media. We see not only people who we know, but we see people from all over the world, and we see how they live. We see the haves, and the have nots in a way that we have never seen them before, and we see the disparity in our global community. So we are connected, but are we in balance?"
Pfeifer cited the ice bucket challenge, last year's viral sensation that became the single biggest thing to ever happen to Facebook, with over 10 billion video views, and over $117m raised for ALS in just over six months - of which 83% of those donations came via Facebook. People are now giving to causes they had never before heard of, and we are starting to see a culture of generosity developing on social media.
In a recent interview following her appearance at TEDxAuckland, Pfeifer was back in the US working on the next round of investment, which includes a stellar group of Silicon Valley investors that are behind some of the biggest social media innovations on the planet.
Says Pfeifer, "Future funding will be spent on strengthening the product and delivering more pathways for our charity alliances. This includes expanding integration into other social platforms, such as Pinterest and YouTube, and developing media relationships to spread the message far and wide."
Some of the GoodWorld charities are currently making upwards of US$10,000 per week, but it's as much about execution as it is about size. Through their online Social Giving School, GoodWorld mentors charities on how best to fundraise with easy-to-understand short posts.
For example, to increase social media engagement one needs to develop conversations. Social media users crave responses and feedback. Several studies report that people feel positive effects when others interact with the things they have posted online, and feel negatively when they aren't receiving that social acceptance on social media. When NGOs engage with their supporters they are encouraging recognition as well as positivity towards their organization.
Says Pfeifer, "Giving is good for you. At the University of Notre Dame there is a large body of work that shows that people that have a sustained giving practice are happier, have a greater life purpose, bigger personal and business networks, and overall suffer less from depression."