Since Twitter announced its new lending partnership with Kiva and plans to continue promoting philanthropy, the social media site probably thinks it’s hot stuff on the internet charity circuit. Their announcement is definitely exciting and will give many people the opportunity to give back to local and global communities. But in fact, there are lots of other sites that have beaten Twitter, who only announced its plan on Thursday, to the punch. Here’s a look at three of them:
1. CauseOn. CauseOn is a social media site that applies group-buying to charity. CauseOn is only based in Portland, Oregon for now, but has plans to expand to 45 domestic cities. But even though CauseOn is in the beginning stages, its entire focus (see company name) is on giving back to a cause. Since giving back is the core theme of the site, CauseOn is able to really put hands on work into how to get people involved in philanthropy. For example, the fact that most of the causes they have partnered with in Portland are Portland or Oregon affiliated is a smart idea, giving users hometown causes they can connect with.
2. Endorse for a Cause. As the name suggests, Endorse for a Cause (EFAC) also uses philanthropy as its core principle. On the website, users make purchases that go to a charity of their choosing. EFAC is a social network of its own — users can develop profiles with badges, etc. — but it also ties in with Facebook and Twitter so that users can share their charitable triumphs with their friends and networks. By branching out and emphasizing this access to these social media kings, EFAC is able to get its company name out there and promote causes more efficiently.
3. CauseWorld. CauseWorld is the Foursquare of charitable social media, and it conveniently doubles as a highly useable mobile app. CauseWorld lets you check in when you enter a store, and entering the store or scanning items in it will grant you “karmas” — do-gooder points, essentially. You can then donate the karmas to the charity of your choice and share your good deed on Facebook. Given the popularity of Foursquare, the check in model is a good idea for launching people into the world of giving. The free app is also managing to do something that Twitter isn’t yet: incentivizing people to donate with the fun element of checking in and collecting karmas. Of course, there are many different ways to get people to give back, and incentives are not always appropriate. But CauseWorld goes to show that you can sometimes integrate games and donations quite well.
Why bother pointing out other web sites that were built around a social conscience? Isn’t it impressive that Twitter is promoting charities at all? The answer is yes, Twitter is on the right track. But it is because Twitter is a social media giant, with millions of international users that it has a great chance to make a difference in the world. Almost anything Twitter does will likely have a greater impact than the three web sites above, but that means we have to hold Twitter to a high standard.
How do you think Twitter can seize the opportunity to promote charity?