I couldn’t agree more with her. One of the great things about Giv.to is that we built the product with helping the world in mind. Of course, there has been a push from outsiders (who shall remain nameless) to make it into a product that serves brands instead of organizations, that has features that cater to the private sector. I have impressed upon the Founders that I think Giv.to should remain, or that we should maintain, a product that is geared toward helping others. That I think we should provide the service free or near free to nonprofits.
But I dont know if this opinion is compelling or what the end result will be. I think many start ups also face this dilemma and as a result go through a shift in vision, strategy, and objectives on the road to funding. There is pressure on startups to follow the ‘fad’ and make something ‘viral.’ But what about non-fad, non-viral, world changing stuff? I know an aerospace engineer who thinks he can build a model (or at least demonstrate) that will increase highspeed rail travel by double or triple. He worked in Navy Air, he went to MIT, and he’s brilliant… but he can’t find anyone to fund him in the USA, because VCs are mostly interested in twitter apps (like ours). I told him to move to Japan. And I also vowed inwardly that if I end up making any money off of Giv.to, or any other start up I end up doing, I’m going to invest in his idea.
And I confess I haven’t always thought this way, or don’t always think this way now. But I do think Giv.to is a great brand, with a strong message and good name, with products that really help organizations ‘figure out’ social media. Working with a tiny budget in a nonprofit that needs every dollar to accomplish its mission, they appreciate things that are easy, free, and can outsource a campaign to the followers (which is what Giv.to does, plus other cool stuff). We’ve had a lot of positive feedback and we’ve learned A LOT from our customers – and we implemented changes along the way accordingly. I’m thankful all the time for the DC non-profit community, and firms like Convio, because there is such a spirit of cooperation and so much passion for diverse causes.
I retweeted Jolie’s article, and I really hope others will too. The more people who get this message, the better.