Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Evolution of Philanthropy Markets

And we're off...I wrote several months ago about how recommendation engines might work in philanthropy - donation dashboard has made this real. The site comes out of the Center for New Media at UC Berkeley and is based on collaborative filtering (similar to the Pandora music service).

This represents a significant moment in the evolution of philanthropy markets. It is a move to the "higher hanging fruit" in the evolution of philanthropy markets. The low hanging fruit (e.g., the first and easiest to get - and most critical to making major innovation happen) was digitized 990 data, which came to us in the U.S courtesy of Guidestar back in the 1990s (also available in the U.K. and coming quickly to other parts of the world).

Then came donate now buttons and giving platforms, such as GlobalGiving and NetworkForGood. Kiva and DonorsChoose took these models, iterated on them, and exploded the possibilities of reaching new donors. The micro-philanthropy sites exploded, and Peter Dietz took the lead in making the next step happen - cross platform social action searching.

Right alongside this platform innovation is a burst of interest from research centers and industry sources, new conferences, performance measurement tools and discussions, and data wonks and even prize competitions - all acting as several small pieces of the evolution of philanthropy markets. Amazing.

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