26 February 2015

My #RAK15 video for Joburg Child Welfare

#RAK15 - Random Acts of Kindness 2015. A really cool social upliftment campaign started by Brent Lindeque off the back of tweaking #NekNominations last year into a force for good instead of a force for down-downs.

The 2015 campaign seems to have quite a bit of traction already, starting on our shores with a launch on Carte Blanche and swiftly hitting the US, UK and other markets.

The idea is simple. Make a video of your random act of kindness and nominate 3 people to do the same. Post video. Share share share.

We had an interesting debate on the ZA Tech show about the egotistical element of the campaign. Some may think the "look at me look at me as I do good" behaviour isn't the greatest. But I have to say, both myself and Brett Haggard (host) ended up agreeing that the goodwill and behaviour change the campaign encourages far outweighs any vanity elements. The vanity causes the sharing (seeding it into social platforms) unfortunately, so like the selfie stick, we'll have to put up with it.

Anyhoo! When Brent and I met for the first time a while back we chatted about how forgood could be used for people to connect with Causes and create some cool RAKs. So that's what I did. This is 25% "How To" video and 75% just awesome RAK for an awesome Cause.


forgood - the story so far (26 Feb 2015)

Thought I'd share with you some of the highlights of the first 4 weeks of my new startup, forgood. This is an extract from the newsletter that just bombed out to thousands of people in our ecosystem. Some really nice links to explore and stats to consume.

Our philosophy? Stop sitting back and waiting for "government" and other people to solve this country's grand challenges. Sure, they have a role to play, an important role at that - but the revolution wasn't born at home. It's up to all of us. How do you start? With one small step.

Click around, have fun, please let us know about your experiences by emailing the team.

--- snip ---

Hola! :D

A month since we launched and some cool things are happening on forgood. We have over 150 Causes signed up (more than double last month). We've also connected more than 120 people (volunteers and donors) to Causes. Take it you guys and gals like the product? :)

It's been so much fun getting to know the Causes on forgood. Would you like to meet a few?

  • Gozololo Centre for Needy Children. DURBAN, KZN. They look after 2000 vulnerable children from broken families. Heartwarming stuff (and a really cool name)!
  • The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals. SOWETO, JHB. They spend their time taking care of animals who need veterinary care.  From purebred dogs to real mongrels – at the PDSA they can quickly get back to tail-wagging state again!
  • Stitch & Bitch. ROODEPOORT, JHB. Yes, that’s their name! Enough said. Check out their profile page to find out more.

One of the primary features of forgood is these Causes can create Needs that you, our awesome users, can respond to. This means the Cause can get exactly what they need - right now - and makes us a community a lot more effective.

Our most popular Needs at the moment are:

If you can’t find a Need you want to help with, you can be pro-active and Create an Offer. Don’t limit yourself. You'd be amazed at how resourceful our Causes can be and what skills they can make use of. Take a look at these Offers for some inspiration:

  • I can offer photographic services in the Durban region. All photographs will be edited and made available via dropbox, where the pics can be downloaded and printed by the concerned party.
  • I'm a retired book dealer. I can help evaluate book values for charities who often vastly under price donated items.
  • I run a small business and I've learnt a lot of lessons along the way. I'd to share this with a Cause. Everything from accounting software to invoicing to client relationships to marketing and sales. Anything I’ve learned, I'm happy to teach.

Get in touch if you have any questions!

The forgood TEAM

25 February 2015

Son Doong Cave Expedition. National Geographic Documentary.

I've decided I need to write a bit about an upcoming trip. At the end of March 2015 we're off to spend a week in Son Doong, the world's largest cave. Partly, I need to psych myself the hell up. It looks intense. And magical.

This is a must watch 40 min documentary. If everything goes well, I'll be bringing back some pretty funky photography from this place. That's if I can find a way not to break iPhone / SLR. Wish I knew more about low light photography :)

02 February 2015

forgood: the startup with a social conscience

Here's the scoop. Hope y'all can give it a try - really simple platform. Really magical connections between people and Causes. It's been a lot of fun working on a startup with social impact as one of its core values. We have an enormously long way to go - but we're pumped. Hope you find a way to join us on the journey.

forgood, an Internet platform that helps South Africans who want to make a difference get connected to the Causes that can use their help, has launched. The platform connects people to approved Non-Profit Organisations (NPO’s) and allows them to respond to existing needs and campaigns. Additionally, users can create their own personalised offers for a whole new “giving” experience.

forgood also targets businesses, aiming to improve the efficacy of their corporate social investment (CSI) programmes.

Photo courtesy Adam Oxford, www.htxt.co.za

“There are over 85,000 registered Non-Profit Organisations in South Africa, but very few technology platforms that connect people who want to do good - to the organisations that need their help. There are even fewer platforms out there which provide this service to business,” says Andy Hadfield, CEO of www.forgood.co.za.

“In the short term, we want to connect 100,000 people to causes and bring on a group of forward- thinking businesses that would use our platform to help with staff volunteering and community engagement projects. That’s going to teach us a lot about this industry and we have some big ideas to come. Essentially, we want to build the digital ‘glue’ underneath the NPO industry in Africa – it’s a critical industry that is often under-supported and under-appreciated. A platform approach can provide efficiency and scale – it could be transformative.”

“Many people don’t know this, but South Africa was the second biggest climber in the CAF World Giving Index 2014.  That’s largely because last year, 4.5 million more South Africans gave up their time in some way to help a good cause than in 2013. That’s a huge number of people and a big trend - something we’d like to build technology around.

The forgood product revolves around three propositions:

  • It allows users to browse and respond to existing needs and campaigns from an approved database of causes.
  • It encourages people to change the way they think about “giving” by creating personalised offers around any interesting skills and passions they have – and matching these to the right causes. Everything from gardening, marketing, clothes and metalwork have been successfully matched to causes in early tests.
  • It offers business functionality that allows companies to manage internal CSI campaigns and report on the impact their staff are having through these mechanics. 

Speaking about startups with a social conscience, Hadfield went on to say: “We’re trying something different. The temptation might be to work inside the NPO sector as an NPO ourselves, but we’d like to bring a bit of startup hustle, automation and urgency to the space – so forgood is actually registered as a for-profit – it’s a social enterprise. We’re a company that wants to make returns for our investors – but we’ll do that while we’re making the world a better place.”

The team includes Andy Hadfield (previously of Real Time Wine, FNB and gAL.co.za) and Garth Japhet (founder of Soul City, South Africa’s longest running and most successful media NGO, South African representative for Social Media at the World Economic Forum and currently CEO of Heartlines).

“We’ve been fortunate. forgood was incubated in various forms inside Heartlines, which has given us some time to learn about what might and might not work. We’ve taken those lessons and built the current product from scratch – meaning we’re treating this like a startup. I’ve been honoured to join a team that has already done so much work in this space. This launch is about kicking it up to the next level. Come and change the world with us,” invites Hadfield.

You can try out forgood by visiting www.forgood.co.za or connect with them socially on www.facebook.com/forgoodSA and www.twitter.com/forgoodSA.


Department of Social Development 2013 Study on the size of the NPO Market. Listed in the StatsSA Discussion Document dated March 2014: Statistics for the Non Profit Sector. Page 26. http://beta2.statssa.gov.za/publications/D04072/D040722011.pdf

Charities Aid Foundation World Giving Index 2014: https://www.cafonline.org/publications/2014-publications/world-giving-index-2014.aspx

19 January 2015

My next adventure: the social impact startup, forgood.

You might have guessed it by now, or seen the sneaky LinkedIN update. Finally ready to announce my next project.

I have to say, it took a bit of getting to. It took about 6 months to get over the closure of Real Time Wine. It took 50+ meetings, lots of wine and PS3 and some fairly interesting alignment of stars for me to finally find something I really wanted to have a crack at. It even took a long overdue realisation that, as exciting as some corporate digital spaces are, corporates keep saying they want rainmakers and yet remain too scared to hire them. I guess that's how life works. The wheel turns and you hop on and hop off when the universe decides the timing is right.

Philosophical rambling over. I am extremely excited to officially announce that I've taken over as CEO of a social impact startup called forgood (as of November 2014, but we've been in "stealth"). Vomit. I said stealth.

I say "taken over" because it's an interesting scenario. The company has been incubated inside another NGO (Heartlines) for a while now, but never really kicked on. They've tried some stuff, learned some stuff, built some stuff... What we're going to be launching next week (and you can have a sneak preview if you're interested) is brand spanking new - so we're calling it a startup. Because it is.

Here's the lowdown. You'll have to wait for the launch next week for even more information. Got to have something for my journalist mates to talk about. If they're gracious enough to give me even half the support I got for Real Time Wine, this should be fun.

forgood is a for profit, but in the social impact space. That means we're trying to change the world (and make it a better place) - and make money at the same time.

High concept pitch: forgood connects people to causes.

Lower concept pitch: forgood connects individuals / groups / staff members who want to make a difference - with the causes that really need their help.

If I've still got you... the bigger vision: we're building out the plumbing (the glue?) of the NGO industry by creating technology and user experiences around volunteering and donation processes. We're taking that plumbing and turning it into a cloud platform for business - to handle their employee engagement and staff volunteering activities. Think of it as sort of software-as-a-service-for-CSI.

The moonshot: well, if you manage to collect and own the data, relationships and activity between people, companies and causes... just imagine what you could do ;)

I've got an awesome team slogging away to get everything ready. There's some incredible executive support (of which you'll learn more later) and we're opening up a funding round shortly. We even have a paying client (a big brave corporate that's pioneering this platform with us) - hopefully they'll let me talk about them soon.

forgood allows you to RESPOND to Needs or Campaigns, create your own personalised OFFERS and REPORT on the impact of these connections. 

So. I'm back in startups (you'd think I would have learned my lesson). And hey, if we're the 1 out of 10 this time (that succeed), not the 9 out of 10 (that fail) - we might just get to change the country and the continent a bit.

I'm going to be counting on y'all to help me get the message out. We're targeting 28 January 2015 as the launch date. Tick tock. Get your Tweets ready for next Wednesday. More news soon.

In the meantime - follow us on Twitter (@forgoodSA) and LIKE us on Facebook (http://facebook.com/forgoodSA). 

Andy out.