Two area natives recently launched GoodSocial, a free online platform that connects people who want to volunteer with nonprofit organizations in need of help, making it easier for the service-minded to engage philanthropically.
GoodSocial aims to fill the gap between the professional, resume-flashing option of LinkedIn and the personal, interest-based options of accepted social media such as Twitter.
“We think that this becomes a really important piece of social currency,” said co-founder Trisha Bright, a Los Altos native. “If you’re a young person, making your way from middle school to high school to college applicant, who has to have a credential to present (or) when you are entering the workforce, GoodSocial becomes valuable. Young people want to have a conversation with their prospective employers about how (they) are going to support their social impact. … It can definitely also be used as a recruiting tool.”
It takes users five minutes to fill out an online application with their personal information, interests and skills. They then receive a confirmation email that logs them in and connects them to specific volunteer opportunities with dates and times. Bright estimates that it takes nonprofit agencies just five more minutes to register, and she and her staff have been walking each organization step-by-step through the process.
In 2016, Bright was raising 14-year-old twin girls who were at the prime age for fandom of all things social media. When Bright observed how much time they were spending on apps such as Facebook and Instagram, she set about to create a social media platform that would have a positive impact on them.
In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, Bright said she stopped using Facebook.
“I cannot ignore the power of social platforms, despite the negativity that is currently circulating on them,” Bright said she thought to herself.
A Bright idea
Bright came up with an idea: She could create the “LinkedIn of social impact.” She wanted to get not just teens like her girls, but all generations, to engage and do something positive to offset the hopelessness that some felt over the election.
Bright didn’t have any examples of someone who had created a social media platform equivalent to what she was aiming for, but her new philosophy became, “If not me, then who? If not now, then when?”
Bright worked on GoodSocial as a side gig until the project started formally taking shape. Then she quit her corporate high-tech job and called on her good friend and longtime nonprofit revenue driver Tulin Melton to be her co-founder. Melton was born in Southern California but lived most of her childhood in Mountain View.
Together, the pair introduced GoodSocial last week. With the aim to use social media for social good, they incorporated insight from potential users after a beta launch featuring select nonprofit groups earlier this year.
GoodSocial is currently available – both through iOS or Android app as well as a website – to volunteers and nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area, with Los Angeles and San Diego set to follow in the near future.
“The GoodSocial that we are bringing to the market now is a new iteration of the original concept,” Bright said. “We are networking furiously in the state of California with some very specific nonprofit groups – so, you know, organization associations where nonprofits naturally gather (like) the Association of Fundraising Professionals.”
The big-picture goal is to make GoodSocial a globally recognized social media platform. The co-founders are already studying states such as Texas, New York and Florida with an eye to expand.
For those more likely to give money than volunteer their time, Bright and Melton incorporated an option to donate to the cooperating nonprofit organizations. Bright hopes some users will choose to give time and money – both “their time and their treasure,” she said.
GoodSocial offers a win-win proposition, helping volunteers connect with organizations doing work they care about while serving nonprofits that face a diminishing volunteer base.
“The pain point that nonprofits have today is that their volunteer bases are declining, and they’re having a really hard time reaching the younger generations,” Bright said. “So we think, and the feedback that we have been getting from (the nonprofits), is that this will help solve that.”
For more information, visit goodsocial.com.