Media outlets need to enrich the syndicated wire service stories with local content if they are to attract readers and advertisers —
but few have the budget, these days, for a cadre of local
reporters to seek out and report on the "local angle" of a story.
Nonprofits working on the ground in a community do have that local
content to offer, but perhaps no way to distribute it. Enter good2gether, a new web service that wants to play matchmaker.
is the brainchild of entrepreneur Greg McHale, founder of cMarket, an
online auction service designed for nonprofits. His experience with the sector told
him that nonprofits were eager to find new ways to connect with a
younger, more tech-savvy audience — and to tap into the growing trend for grassroots
involvement at a local level.
information about their information, events, volunteering opportunities, needs for in-kind donations, and so on. The connect2cause widget brings that information to readers in a little box alongside a relevant story on high-traffic partner websites. It's free because corporate sponsors foot the bill, and benefit from the reflected do-good glow.
This works much like the contextual advertising services that try to match up ads with the content of the web page on
which they appear. Thus, a news story about children living in poverty, for example, would be paired with content from nonprofit organizations working
on that issue. Two readers on opposite sides of the
continent might read the same article about child poverty, but
will try to present them with local content where its available.
Readers of the news story, moved to help, find it easier than ever to
follow up immediately — to donate, volunteer, get more information, or otherwise take action for the cause in
their own communities.
And then there are the Do Good Channels.
Each is effectively a
separate section of a news site that presents expanded opportunities to
connect with nonprofits — again, sponsored by advertisers, just like a
special supplement to a print newspaper. Boston.com and SFGate.com are
adopters, and you can see a full list of participating partners here.
The Do Good Channel Terms of Service
do specify that "Each NPO agrees to contribute a minimum amount of
content... and to update its listing with regular frequency," I
noticed, so you might want to consider what staff or volunteer time is
likely to be needed to meet that commitment — and perhaps to ask a few
more questions around that, as I couldn't find anything on the website
to define "minimum amount" or "regular frequency." Also, you'll likely want to take a look at the licensing terms, and make sure that your nonprofit will be comfortable with granting "a worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, transferable, sub
licensable, fully-paid and royalty-free license to use, copy, modify,
adapt, translate, publicly perform, publicly display, store, reproduce,
transmit, distribute, and create derivative works from any NPO Content
for any purpose whatsoever" to the network.
That said, good2gether looks promising for nonprofit outreach.
When Non-Profit Tech Blog's Allan Benamer spoke with Greg McHale about the platform launch, he
"came away came away from the interview thinking that good2gether
should at least be tried by nonprofits. After all, it’s free traffic
and free to join."
"Actually, it’s better than free," Xconomy Boston points out: "Good2Gether lets non-profits create their own pages or 'channels,'
reachable from the Connect2Cause widget, where they can publish ads for
local businesses" and split the proceeds.
Nonprofits get more attention in more places online; media partner
sites get local content and, not incidentally, new ad inventory; sponsors get a chance to "green" their brands by affiliating
with a good cause; and people who get their news online are offered an
easy way to "discover, share and engage with" good causes. What's not to like there?