Good Mob Trials Collective Giving Online
16 June 2016 at 8:26 am
Two young Melbourne-based entrepreneurs have begun trialing digital tools for collective giving via an online startup called Good Mob.
Good Mob allows people to pool their donations and direct their combined funds, as a group, to a charitable cause of their choice in the online environment. The start-up is the brainchild of friends, Sarah Wickham and Bryony Green, who developed the idea while they were studying their Masters of Social Investment and Philanthropy.
Collective giving, or giving circles, are not new, originating more than a decade ago in the US. It’s estimated that these groups collectively donate a total of $100 million annually to charities. It has gained momentum in Australia more recently with Impact100 groups, the Melbourne Women’s Fund, The Funding Network, 10×10 (NSW, SA, QLD) and the Australian Women Donors Network.
“Good Mob takes this successful collective giving concept online, so now more people can join this powerful way to give back,” Wickham said.
“I believe our platform has the potential to significantly boost giving in this country.”
Wickham said despite the rate of growth with donations slowing in the past year, online giving was rapidly growing in Australia, with an annual growth rate of 25 per cent and was the key method to engage the next generation of donors, namely millennials.
Their idea was given a boost when they won seed funding through the 2015 Nexus Innovator of the Year Award. The also secured additional funding from the Telematics Trust.
“We were wanting a way to incorporate giving in our social lives so we decided to start a giving group with our friends. None of us could really give more than $50, so by pooling our donations we had a larger amount of money to give,” Green told Pro Bono Australia News.
“Anyone can start a mob. You just need to rally a group of friends around you to commit to that mob.
“The only condition we have for our ‘mob bosses’ on the online platform is that they have to give to something that has social and environmental benefit.
“They can really choose anything they want. It doesn’t have to be limited to tax deductibility. We don’t see tax deductibility as a key to progressing social change so pretty much you can start a mob by just signing up. We approve the mob and then it’s completely up to the group.
“It is up to you to source the project and up to you to shortlist the projects and then its up to you to vote for the winner.”
Green said the uniqueness was bringing these groups together online and also facilitating the payment process.
“They don’t even have to think about the funds. When you set up the mob you can choose how regularly your mob can give… that might be monthly or bimonthly or yearly….and then set the limits that you want each mob member to give so it could be as small as $10 right up to $1,000 or however much you think your community can give,” she said.
“We are really trying to make it as accessible as possible because we believe that making an impact doesn’t have to be for the wealthy it can be for anyone.
“I think people have thought about (the online aspect) before. When we did our research everyone said this would be amazing if we had this but it’s one thing having the idea and it’s another to pursue it.
“It is a pretty simple idea but I suppose people didn’t connect the dots.
“We really saw crowdfunding as our source of inspiration… and we see it something like crowd funding but Good Mob flips it on its head. So instead of being project based it’s giving circle based. And instead of being a one-off donation people commit to make their giving ongoing to ensure that giving becomes a lifelong habit.”
One Not for Profit sector leader who has joined the Good Mob trial is Mary Crooks AO, the executive director of the Victorian Women’s Trust. Her “mob” supports Indigenous-led social enterprises and the first will be a studio in Katherine NT called Diganbal Designs.
“We have so much on the eastern seaboard of this country with access to opportunities and resources. Remote communities receive nowhere near enough support from our government and philanthropy. Starting a mob that gives back is one way where we can build a bridge and transfer resources so the people in the communities have more opportunities,” Crooks said.
The Good Mob team will trial the online platform over the next six months.