One of the more interesting and fulfilling trends that’s picking up steam is that of using social technology for social good. On Tuesday, Giveo is launching a platform for corporations and foundations to accept donations from and engage with online donors, especially younger ones.
Giveo is modeled on the Pepsi Refresh Project and the Chase Community Giving campaign on Facebook, which invited people to vote to help the beverage maker and bank allocate millions of dollars in charitable donations, respectively. In Chase’s case, early this year it donated $1 million to grand prize winner Invisible Children, which received nearly 125,000 community votes.
“Our hope is that there’s a huge sector of small- to medium-sized business that don’t have resources or time to do this themselves,” said Giveo CEO Ed Messman in an interview on Monday. Giveo has already launched with the Las Vegas-based Verve Foundation, which is offering $1,000 to the best idea for helping keep area kids from dropping out of school.
Giveo is also offering a more general social-fundraising platform for creating communities around fundraisers and staying connected to donors. That product, directed towards non-profits and schools, is aimed at “turning customers into social advocates.” It is currently offered solely on the web as a branded and hosted product, but Messman said Giveo is working to integrate with other means of giving, for instance SMS donations via mGive. Giveo takes 1.5-2.5 percent of donations as its cut.
Giveo has raised $150,000 in angel funding from Grotech Ventures partner Joe Zell, and Messman said the firm expects to soon close a Series A round of $500,000. Its competition comes in many forms; for instance, the new non-profit startup Jumo from Chris Hughes of Facebook and the Obama campaign; Firstgiving, Causes on Facebook and Kickstarter. However, Messman points out that those services act more as middlemen, while Giveo allows customers to shape social giving around their own brands.
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