Wednesday, September 28, 2005
The Piggy Is Getting Full
I have such a feeling of pride and satisfaction everytime I look at the little piggy getting closer to 100%. We're all familiar with the thermometer to indicate the progress of a charitable capital campaign. Others have used sideways progress bars (like the ones associated with computer tasks) but these and other "progress bars" didn't reflect the spirit of GiveMeaning and the personal connections that are the spirit of each GivingGroup.
So we created a piggy. It starts off "empty" and slowly it builds a pink/purple hue. My girlfriend calls this "Piggy Juice" and so around the office, that's what we've all taken to calling it. "Anymore piggy juice?" is something asked by one of us every couple of hours.
The start of a revolution?
welovemeghan.givemeaning.com was officially the second GivingGroup we launched. There are about 80 GivingGroups that we started as testers but welovemeghan and then ghanahospital.givemeaning.com are the only two so far that we've created with the new site up and running.
In 11 days, 22,000 has been raised
Meghan's GivingGroup was started 11 days ago. As I write this, we have received over $22,000 in donations for her GivingGroup. For the whole GiveMeaning team this is really our first validation of the premise of the GivingGroup. It says that when you combine the powerful effect of viral marketing with a tangible, personalized act of charity, the response will wow you.
Design versus Efficiency
The success of Meghan's GivingGroup has also given us opportunity for lots of incredibly useful feedback. Site design, especially for a charity site is incredibly difficult because we've put so much emphasis into making the design warm and intimate but then people give preference to transactional efficiency. So we have to work extra hard to give people the transactional efficiency they expect from a good website but not let efficiency kill the design (a very difficult balance). At the same time, the whole point of the GivingGroup is to introduce a new way of giving and while we certainly aren't looking to reinvent the wheel, we are wanting to shift people's perceptions about what charity means, what it means to be involved in a cause and so on... Anytime you're trying to change someone's point of reference even slightly, it poses the question of how to shift their understanding in the most evolutionary way possible. We're still working on this but we're making breakthroughs in our own understanding of this everyday.
When I worked at Apple, we had a specific process in launching a new product. As soon as development was initiated, we'd print a T-shirt. My collection of Apple t-shirts could probably fetch a pretty penny on eBay if my mum hadnt taken most of them as work-out clothes. Anyway, as soon as we the first test version of the new product was ready for testing, a party would be thrown, with another party for the beta version and culminating in a full-on, campus wide beer bash for a final product release.
I guess it's my Apple Heritage but I feel we should throw a party for all the GivingGroup members each time a GivingGroup is successfully completed. Of course, this is difficult to afford but it seems like a compelling idea. The secret objective of GiveMeaning is to use a system that has been accused of making the world less intimate to foster a greater amount of real intimacy. GivingGroups achieve this to the extent permissable by staying in the "online world" but a party connects these people together in the real-world too.
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