Justice, Mishegas

Good Deeds, Good Doers

JGoodersLast month saw the launch of a new venture in the Jewish neighborhood of the web, JGooders. The site aims to make it easier for donors & volunteers to connect with non-profit organizations doing meaningful work in the worldwide Jewish community through attractive and well-organized information with a dash of social networking thrown in for good measure. It’s free for us regular folk to use, although non-proft orgs pay an annual fee to participate. (This fee, it seems, helps pay for outside monitoring of the NPOs.)
The organizations founders describe themselves on the site:

JGooders founders: Ronit Dolev, Smadar Fogel, Judith Stern Peck and Jaap Meijers have been involved, together and separately, in the Israeli and Jewish world for more than 2 decades as social entrepreneurs, leaders and philanthropists: from leading Project Renewal to initiating the incredibly successful Partnership 2000 project. They sit on many boards and consult to many foundations and non-profit organizations. Based on their broad knowledge and experience JGooders was founded, offering a web based platform that can upgrade knowledge, create connections and enrich this rapidly growing marketplace of good deeds and good doers.

Because we live in the future, there’s a requisite blog, facebook group, and online contest (although in a nice twist, the contest winner’s prize is the ability to designate where $1,000 will be donated).
At first glance, it looks like most of the NPOs currently listed are based in Israel, but the site makes it clear that it aims to include organizations from all over the world. Since the organization that runs JGooders is in Israel, I suppose this makes sense.
I’m struggling a little bit to understand who the audience for this website is supposed to be. Those of us who have grown up with the internet presumably know how to find tzedakot online if we’re looking for new ways to give away our money. From the perspective of the NPOs, I’m wondering if the fee structure might be a barrier for smaller organizations (i.e., those who would most benefit from the exposure the site could lend them):

Posting projects costs a minimal yearly fee: $144-180 per project. The fee per project drops as the number of projects posted by the same NPO increases. There is a 1% administrative charge on money transactions (not including the credit card fee).

BTW, if I’m decoding the organization’s lingo correctly, NPOs can’t simply list themselves, they must list particular “projects,” each with its own fee. So, to use an example from the organization I’m closest with, if Keshet wants to raise money for both our education project as well as our proposed poster series of famous queer Jews, we’d have to pay $144-180 twice. Since our last appeal letter listed five different projects we’re trying to support at the moment, those fees could add up quickly. On the other hand, I’m not sure this is the sort of venture that should be advertiser-supported or corporately-sponsored, so maybe this fee structure is the way to go. Personally, I might be more comfortable without the fees and with a slightly larger percentage skimmed from the donations, since then organizations are paying relative to their benefit and there’s less of a barrier to populating the options available to potential donors.
But, the site’s still in Beta mode, so one can imagine that the organization might be as well. At any rate, this came to my attention via someone whose opinion I trust – Tova Serkin, who left her position as Executive Director of Kol Dor to head up business development for JGooders. So at the very least, it’s a site to watch.

One thought on “Good Deeds, Good Doers

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