My guest today is Rosemary Jones, who handles public relations for the GreaterGood Network. Welcome to OpEdNews, Rosemary. Can you please tell our
readers about your organization and what it does?
The GreaterGood Network began with The Hunger Site, the Internet's first "click to give" website, and has since grown to provide visitors with ways to make click donations to the causes of breast cancer, children's health, literacy, rainforest
preservation, and animal rescue. GreaterGood Network has given more than $20 million to non-profit charities around the world since 1999.
Twenty million dollars! Tell us more. It sounds so natural and fitting but something like this did not exist before. How does a wonderful new idea such as this get born? Where did it come from in the first place?
The idea began with Jim Breem, who wanted to develop a type of Internet advertising that would benefit charity. When a visitor comes to the website and clicks the yellow button for The Hunger Site, several ads appear. 100% of the funds paid by these sponsoring advertisers goes to GreaterGood Network's charitable partners. Under the leadership of Tim Kunin and Greg Hesterberg, that first website expanded to be a network of charitable websites devoted to six major causes, all having a "click to give" component as well as giving visitors other simple and easy ways to contribute to a cause.
How was it decided which charitable partners to add? There are, sadly, so many worthy ones to consider.
A number of criteria are applied. First, any member of the GreaterGood Network team can suggest a charitable partner or program for the Gifts That Give More (a way to make direct donations through the websites). Then we ask the charitable partners to provide documentation of their programs' effectiveness, look at their rating on such sites as Charity Navigator, and discuss how a particular program is aligned to the core causes of the GreaterGood Network. Our CEO Tim Kunin visits many of our overseas and domestic partners, touring clinics in Rwanda and Haiti for example or meeting with representatives of the charities here in the United States. What is exciting with the Gifts That Give More program is that it allows us to work with many new groups and very specific projects.
For example, at the end of 2010, we began discussion with several groups helping homeless veterans on how we can help tackle that specific ongoing issue of poverty and hunger.
The Gifts That Give More program also allows us to respond more immediately to disasters when they occur around the world. When the earthquake happened in Haiti, we already had a humanitarian aid partner in Haiti, Partners In Health, and were able to immediately begin helping. We are extremely proud of our policy to make sure that donations go out weekly to our disaster partners. Unlike many other groups, all donations received on a Monday for our partners in Haiti were transferred to them by that Friday.
Further, our Gifts That Give More program is truly a gift to our charitable partners. 100% of all the funds received through this program are transferred to our charitable partners. No administrative fees or other charges are taken for these Gifts and GreaterGood Network pays for the merchant credit card fees.
Fast, efficient, pragmatic - and no overhead. Sounds too good to be true, Rosemary. How does the site exist and perpetuate itself, if there are no administrative expenses?
By selling product! To clarify, we obviously have administrative expenses -- nobody gives us electricity for free to run our computers! But we don't pass those expenses to our charitable partners. We use the retail side of our business to pay for those expenses and create additional donations for the charities.
The "Internet retailer" side of GreaterGood Network allows us to give 100% of the "click donation" to our charitable partners and 100% of the donations received through the Gifts That Give More program to the charities outlined on the individual Gift pages. In addition, we donate up to 30% of the purchase price of an item to our charitable partners.
Equally importantly to us, the sale of fair trade and ethically sourced items allows us to work with and support artisans around the world. You can read more about this here.
So, let's take Women's Bean Project, a group based here in the U.S. The Women's Bean Project provides women with the opportunity to become economically independent by teaching basic job readiness and life skills. They produce a number of wonderful products that we sell at GreaterGood Network stores. If you purchase their Bean Soup & Cornbread mix (a personal favorite!), you are not only supporting them, but also, because you made the purchase at The Breast Cancer Site store, a portion of that sale will go to National Breast Cancer Foundation's free mammogram program for women in need. There is no additional cost to you: everything is included in the $10 price.
So, it's a painless, quick, and easy way to do a little good for two great programs, just by buying a cornbread mix. And if people visiting the GreaterGood Network do just that little bit of good, than we can do greater good. And we do! By combining all those small actions into donations for our charitable partners.
That's the "click to give" or "click donation" opportunity provided by The Breast Cancer Site. When you click on the pink "Click Here to Give - it's FREE" button, your click is counted by our servers and you move to the Thank You page. There, you will see small ads for our site sponsors. The advertising fees paid by these sponsors are donated to National Breast Cancer Foundation, which uses that money to pay for free mammograms programs throughout the United States. If you go to the "Results" page on www.TheBreastCancerSite.com, you can see exactly how many mammograms are funded daily and the pink map will show where these programs take place.
As you suggested, I just went to the site. I noticed two things. Clicking and/or buying something at the site resulted in the sponsoring of thousands of free mammograms this year. I also saw that the numbers have gone down since last year. Since part of it, the click, is quick, painless and absolutely free, what can we do to get those numbers back up there?
What we are doing to encourage people to click is constantly updating and improving the websites. We also are reaching out through social media like Facebook.
The best thing that our supporters do is simply tell a friend about what we do!
Okay, readers. This is so incredibly easy. You know what to do. How has the site evolved, Rosemary?
The GreaterGood Network has expanded over time. In 2011, we will continue to look for new charity partners and ways to help those in need.
GreaterGood Network website: "Simple online ways to protect the health and well-being of people, animals, and the planet."