A South African start-up wants to make doing charitable work easy by connecting those who want to give back with those in need. Called Forgood, the new initiative is the brainchild of technology entrepreneur Andy Hadfield and Garth Japhet, CEO of multimedia non-governmental organisation (NGO) Heartlines and the man behind public health education series Soul City.
Hadfield says he’d been wanting to get into the NGO sector for some time, but had been frustrated by the fact that many NGOs seemed more focus on how to make money than on how to do good work.
Japhet saw a blog post Hadfield had written on his experiences with NGOs and invited him to meet for a coffee. “Garth had this project called Forgood that was run as a for-profit organisation and sought to connect people with causes,” Hadfield explains.
“My ears pricked up. Here was a company trying to have a social impact while also making money,” Hadfield says. “I think you can run a solid business that makes solid profits and still do something good in the world.”
Hadfield says Forgood aims to “unlock the spare capacity of people who want to do something good while also helping NGOs run better that the end of the day”. He says the service acts as a platform to tie many of the existing, niche NGOs together with people who may be able to help meet these specific needs.
Forgood allows individuals to volunteer their time or donate food or clothing to existing charities. But more importantly it also lets people or companies create their own offers and causes. The website’s displays a list causes that need volunteers and those that need goods, which is updated as new causes are added.
Hadfield likens Forgood to a dating site, except one where the person looking for a date is instead connected to a cause that resonates with them. “We allow people to create an offer of absolutely anything they think they can and we’ll match it out to our set of causes,” he explains.
“Giving is hard. People don’t know where to go or who to talk to,” Hadfield says. It’s Forgood’s mission to remove this challenge. And there’s money to be made – most big companies have some sort of corporate social responsibility obligations to meet, and Forgood wants to be the platform that not only connects these companies to causes in need, but to appropriate ones.
It’s here that the “platform” approach really makes sense. Hadfield says the tech side of Forgood can be white labelled so that companies can organise and manage their charitable endeavours. “This is what the tech is good at,” he says. That’s also how the service hopes to make money.
If you’re looking for a way to make a difference in your own community or more broadly, Forgood might be just what you’ve been waiting for. Find out more here.