Cyber Giving

How Generocity.org plans to transform the nonprofit sector.

Here’s a new website to bookmark: Generocity.org. The online publication and organization, itself a registered nonprofit, wants to be a hub for goods news and information about nonprofits and community-outreach efforts in the Philadelphia region. And, if you’ve been reading this “Citizen Kind” blog and enjoying the stories about unique community-service projects, you’re Generocity’s target audience.

Generocity.org founder Sandra BaldinoGenerocity has three main components that its founder, Philly native Sandra Baldino, hopes will bring the project success. Foremost is the idea of cause journalism. Generocity hopes to be the central destination for stories about how individuals, groups, corporations and schools are impacting their communities in a positive way.

“If you’re a tourist in Philly, you visit gophilly.com. If you’re interested in news, you go to whyy.org. But where do you go to look for a comprehensive list of nonprofits and people who are doing really great things?” Baldino asks. “We’re looking to fill that void and be the one place that captures that ethos.”

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Baldino also is trying to reinforce the notion that micro-giving is effective—meaning that every little bit counts, whether a person can afford to donate $1 or $1,000 dollars. Generocity plans to be a fierce advocate of this kind of “citizen philanthropy,” providing account profiles for users so they can make easy, convenient donations to the causes they care about. That way, if a user reads an article about an interesting nonprofit and wants to immediately support the cause, they can donate dollars from their giving profiles.

The third goal is to further the concept of “ethical consumerism” by highlighting local businesses that are sharing their success with the community and contributing to worthy charity campaigns. In doing so, the website hopes to inspire readers to consider businesses’ charitable histories when deciding where to shop.

The complete incarnation of Generocity doesn’t launch until the late fall of this year, but in the meantime, Baldino and her staff have been busy paving the way for the publication’s success. In November 2009, they sponsored the “Take 5, Give 5” survey, inviting Philadelphians to take a survey about their interest in volunteerism and cause journalism. For one month, the first 5,000 people to respond to the survey could designate a favorite nonprofit organization, and Generocity donated $5 for each survey taken. The survey was wildly successful, prompting the site to distribute $25,000 throughout the nonprofit community.

“The survey helped us validate our idea by answering the question, ‘Is this something that the region wants?’” Baldino says.

The answer was a resounding “yes,” and in the next few months, the Generocity team is working to ensure that Baldino’s vision for a one-stop location for all things related to helping out in the area becomes a reality.

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To sign up for updates about Generocity’s progress and read the results of the “Take 5, Give 5” survey, visit generocity.org.

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