07 March 2016

Volunteering is good for business...

The forgood story continues... Here's some insight into our business model...

Volunteer programmes are good for business

A happy and engaged employee equals good business for the company they work for. Research indicates that companies with high levels of employee engagement enjoy a significant increase in productivity and general well being, which leads to increased profitability and stability for their company. So what does it take to engage your workforce and ensure a positive sentiment towards your business?

“Business is changing. It’s being shaped by a more consciously aware generation that wants to have a positive impact on society,” says Andy Hadfield, CEO of online social platform forgood (www.forgood.co.za). “Millennials especially want the purpose of business to include addressing problems in society and they want to feel that they are making a difference to the world around them.”

According to Mind the Gaps: The 2015 Deloitte Millennial Study, the Millennial generation are just as interested in how a business develops, and its contribution to society, as they are in products and profits.

“One way in which you can engage your employees and address their need for meaning or accomplishment is by creating a well-managed employee volunteering programme, that benefits the community that you operate in,” says Hadfield.

Volunteer programmes are perceived to add value to the recruitment, retention, training, development, loyalty and overall satisfaction of staff. The Deloitte study echoes this finding, with six in 10 Millennials stating a “sense of purpose” as part of the reason they chose to work for their current employers.

Besides the operational benefit and the feel good factor for employees, volunteer hours can be incorporated into a company’s CSI mandate, which contributes to its BBBEE ratings. For this it is essential for your HR department to keep an up to date register of the charities and the hours spent volunteering.

How can companies connect to Causes? 

Forgood has created an online platform which links Causes with individuals and groups who are looking to contribute. The platform helps businesses run a successful and innovative employee volunteering and donation programme.

All Causes subscribed to forgood are vetted to ensure they meet NPO criteria. By asking for goods or services on forgood, Causes are able to indicate exactly what they need and individuals are able to advertise what they can offer, including specialised skills and abilities. This creates meaningful connections between the staff of a company and the social sector they choose to target.

The platform also offers business functionality that allows companies to manage their internal CSI campaigns and reports on staff activity through these mechanics.

For more information about forgood, and how your company can benefit from the platform, visit www.forgood.co.za.

Facebook: /forgoodSA
Twitter: @forgoodSA







01 March 2016

forgood is HIRING: Valley Style Product / Project Manager Hybrid [MID LEVEL]

LOCATION: JOHANNESBURG
www.forgood.co.za 

Forgood connects people to Causes. We’re building and running THE technology platform for the social sector in South Africa – and eventually other developing markets.

Our dream is to reinvent the social sector – make it more efficient, effective and help corporates point their CSI power in the right direction. We want to create real change by taking our simple concept of creating value through social interactions (we’re like online dating for people that want to do good) – and getting it to serious scale.

We’re a proudly “for profit” – and believe in making money and saving the world at the same time. Our primary business model is to sell a customised white-label version of our platform into corporates as a tool to run their employee volunteering programmes.

We need a Product / Project Manager to love, hug, cuddle and beat our product into a constantly improving state. You’ll be in charge of technical project management, product design, spec’ing, priority, liaising with the development team, user acceptance testing and analytics across the business.

Go watch this. If it lights a fire in your head and heart, read on. If it doesn’t, this isn’t for you.



Then read the following make doubly sure you’re this person:



YOU MUST WANT: To work in a tech startup environment? We have a great “startup” culture – obsessed with delivery and getting shit done, playing to our strengths and having fun. You must want to build amazing products. You must get jealous of all that Silicon Valley magic going around and think - WE CAN DO THIS IN SOUTH AFRICA - we’re just not going to be American about it. We’re going to be AFRICAN about it. 

YOU MUST BE ABLE TO: Learn quickly, work fast, think big, iterate, be lean, prove yourself, leave ego at the door. Product Managers need to be OBSESSED with the little things, OBSESSED with delivery of their project to deadlines and standards. You need to keep all the balls in the air without losing your cool. You need to understand and LOVE building digital products in the web and mobile space. 

YOU MUST: Commit. We’re not going to sink blood, sweat, tears, time and champagne (our celebration method of choice currently) into someone who’s going to ditch when things get hard. You’re in this for 2 years+ or you’re not in it at all.


WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO DO:

Own the PRODUCT DESIGN and technical PROJECT MANAGEMENT process. What should our product do, what shouldn’t it do, manage the balance between what we like to call BIF (Bugs vs Improvements vs Features).
  • Develop and manage a product roadmap including constant ticket prioritisation.
  • Translate requirements into user journeys, wireframes and sketch designs for smooth, buttery and sexy user experiences 
  • Workshop requirements with development team in planning sessions.
  • Clearly spec tickets into JIRA for our development team to action. This requires 50% imagination and 50% absolute attention to detail.
  • Prepare and track project plan, project risk and decisions logs and communicate project progress regularly.
  • Manage User Acceptance Testing. You’ll need to have a nose for UX and a love of making sure every little itty bit of the system is working like it should. and remains a smooth, buttery and intuitive experience for our users.
  • Manage budget, recon and payments.

ANALYTICS. Create, manage and constantly improve our product performance metrics. This means everything from Google Analytics and Social Media Analytics to site monitoring tools and Azure App Analytics. You need to LOVE STATS. Measurement drives everything we do from a product design point of view.
  • Know the difference between actionable metrics and vanity metrics (if you don’t, read the Lean Startup quickly). That’s how we remain clever and try avoid knee-jerk product and project decisions.
  • Own the product growth process. This presents an opportunity to work with, manage and measure our paid media agency and incorporate PR initiatives that drive adoption in both consumer and business markets. 


QUALIFICATIONS & EXPERIENCE

  • Degree (it shows you can commit to something). If you don’t have a degree, you’d better have an awesome story of something better you did in those 3-5 years.
  • 4-6 years experience in digital. 
  • MUST have significant and interesting project / product management experience. 
  • Experience in Product Management required. You must have worked with digital products in some way, contributed to a team, built a product, tested a product, ran projects, been irritated by various project management methodologies and learnt how to use them efficiently - we need to see that you live, eat, sleep and breathe digital products.
  • You need to know what the following is all about: JIRA, Slack, Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics, Conversion Tracking & Methodology, UTM tagging, Kanban vs AGILE vs Waterfall (or our favourite, the currently bastardised WAGILE that creeps up on us from time to time)...


WHAT YOU NEED TO DO NOW

Don’t just send your CV. We don’t believe most of the CVs we see anyway. And nothing irritates us more than the 1-click-apply-to-everything culture of today. We need MORE. Anyone who just sends a CV gets junk mailed. We need to know WHY you are right for this. WHY you have the experience. WHY you have the attitude.


  1. Go find out who we are. Google us. Social stalk us. Read our press. Go deep. Do you dream what we dream? WHY?
  2. Go look at our product, our tech, our UX. Write down 3 things that you love about the product and write down 3 things that you would change immediately. 
  3. What digital products have been involved with in the past? What was your greatest product success and greatest product failure? No more than a paragraph...
  4. Only then send us your CV.

Send your answers here: andy at forgood dot co dot za

Start: Soon.

Salary: Market rates. We hate the fact that just because people want to do something socially meaningful, many think they should earn less. Be prepared to earn every 24c (which is like every penny) of that market rate salary though!

22 February 2016

forgood is HIRING: Senior .NET C# Dev / CTO. www.forgood.co.za [JHB]

Forgood connects people to Causes. We’re building and running THE technology platform for the social sector in South Africa – and eventually other developing markets. 

Our dream is to reinvent the social space – make it more efficient, effective and help corporates point their CSI power in the right direction. We want to create real change by taking our simple concept of creating value within social interactions – and getting it to serious scale.

We’re a proudly “for profit” – and believe in making money and saving the world at the same time. Our primary business model is to sell a customised white-label version of our platform into corporates as a tool to run their employee volunteering programmes.

We need a CTO to take over dev from our long time outsourced partners. We need you to build and manage a tech team with the help of our Product Manager and CEO. We need you to innovate and iterate our platform at speed. We need you to help us continue to build the sexiest product that the social sector has ever seen.

Go watch this. If it lights a fire in your head and heart, read on. If it doesn’t, kthxbye! https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pallotta_the_way_we_think_about_charity_is_dead_wrong

YOU MUST BE: L33t. No ninjas or rockstars.

YOU MUST WANT: To work in a tech startup involvement. We work really hard, play really hard. We have a great “startup” culture – obsessed with delivery and getting shit done. You must want to build your own team; to hire, fire, love, mentor and ass kick your staff into the slickest unit ever to be seen by a social enterprise. You must want to build amazing product, make product the hero, do some good in the world, figure out how to scale to the moon, get pissed off when your stuff breaks, fix stuff, obsess over the little things – and did we mention do some good in the world?

YOU MUST BE ABLE TO: Learn quickly, work fast, think big, iterate, be lean, prove yourself, leave ego at the door. Provide us with product stability, simple and transparent processes – push the technology and dev outputs to be the best they can be.

YOU MUST: Commit. We’re not going to sink blood, sweat, tears, time and champagne (our celebration method of choice currently) into someone who’s going to ditch when things get hard. You’re in this for 3 years+ or you’re not in it at all.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO DO:
  • Transition from our outsourced dev partners to internal dev competency over a 3-6 month period.
  • Run the show - with the support of a dedicated Product Manager and our CEO (who knows enough about dev to be dangerous). Over the transition period, you’ll also have the support of our outsourced team (Tech Lead, 2 Senior Devs, Front End, UX, QA and Project Manager).
  • Get your hands dirty. We are (like everyone in the tech space) backlogged up the wazoo. If that doesn’t paint a charming enough picture – we’ve got a lot of stuff to get done as quickly as possible. Just remember, you ARE the team in the beginning. You’ll need to push code, debug, deploy and own our processes. This isn’t a “delegation” role – but do it right and you’ll have the opportunity to build your own team as the business scales.
  • Implement, execute and improve on current dev and project management processes.
  • Ensure continuous (i.e. bloody often) iteration and deployment.
  • Implement best practice hardware and software monitoring.
  • Optimise server infrastructure for when BizSpark Plus ends and we have to kak and betaal.
  • Create and build our dev culture. Crazy hours, excess pizza and Red Bull consumption, code reviews, hackathons, industry networking, cross-company collaboration and all that good stuff that many people think only happens in Silicon X.
  • Be committed to transformation – we’re not building a pale male tech company.
Qualifications and experience required
  • 8-10 years dev experience.
  • Full stack WEB Developer: .NET C#, Web API, JavaScript, all hosted Microsoft Azure with a NoSQL Couchbase Database. Not half stack, not quarter stack – you need to make the stack your [insert gender appropriate word].
  • Must have built and run a dev team before.
  • You need to love all the new toys and want to play with them. Proven history developing cutting edge web and mobile stuff. No old skool VB is cool rubbish. Don’t be stuck in your old ways – you need to create the best new ways. 
  • Slack, JIRA, HotJar, GA, GTM and some other staples will be under your bench.
WHAT YOU NEED TO DO NOW

If you’ve read this far, then you’ve passed the first test. Don’t just send your CV. CV’s are usually value inflated by 86.2% anyway. We need MORE. Anyone who just sends a CV gets tossed in the Windows Vista Recycle Bin (which is by far the worst kind of Recycle Bin ever created).

  1. Go find out who we are. Google us. Social stalk us. Read our press. Go deep. Do you dream what we dream?
  2. Go look at our product, our tech, our platform play. Write us a paragraph about what you like about forgood and what you don’t.
  3. Give us the links to some cool web or mobile stuff that you’ve done. We like pretty, shiny, smooth, buttery, useful, clever stuff.
  4. Only then send us your CV -- andy at forgood dot co dot za
That’s it. We’ll do first round chats to see if we like each other. We’ll then do HackerRank tests. We’ll then do full interviews. We’re serious about getting the right person.

Start: as soon as possible. Salary: market rates. We hate the fact that just because people want to do something socially meaningful, many think they should earn less. Be prepared to earn every penny (which is like every 24c at the moment) of that market rate salary though. 

11 February 2016

The 7 Principles of Social Entrepreneurship (Taddy Blecher)

“If you want to be rich for 1 year, grow grain. If you want to be rich for 10 years, grow trees. If you want to be rich for 100 years, grow people."
- Proverb

These are the 7 Principles of Social Entrepreneurship, as adapted from a short talk that Taddy Blecher gave at a recent GIBS Social Entrepreneurship summit.

Social Entrepreneurship is a tricky space. It's meant to fill the murky middle between pure capitalism and pure charity. But there are many debates ranging as to how to define it and the acceptable boundaries exist. Where can "social" meet "entrepreneur"? What profits can be taken out when balanced with social impact achieved?

It's a fascinating space. Hope you enjoy these principles. Taddy is spot on.



The 7 Principles of Social Entrepreneurship

  • Be field independent. Operate within the field, but BE outside of it. Don’t get affected by everyday movements around you. Control the signal to noise ratio - noise will cause you to make irrational decisions.
  • Go for something great. This is hard, so if you're going to do it, go big. Get educated. Always be prepared to learn. Have big dreams. Remember that the worst thing that could happen is to end up mediocre. Rather fail than be middle of the road.
  • Sharpen the sword. Keep learning new skills. Take care of yourself. Strive for balance. If you burn yourself out, you’ll never be able to do “this social entrepreneurship thing” for 50 years - which is what it realistically takes to change the WORLD.
  • Think long term. Great change doesn’t happen over the short term. Great social entrepreneurs are extremely resilient and extra-ordinarily patient.
  • Everything starts from silence. Take time to be silent - our greatest ideas and thoughts come in silence. If you’re always talking - you’ll never hear. Silence gives your head the space to let those little intangible thoughts and seeds of ideas come to life.
  • Act. Millions of people have billions of ideas every day. Most don’t act. Don’t be scared to fail. Choose the great ideas and do something about them.
  • There is something bigger than all of us. Understand that sometimes, a little piece of the required magic is out of our hands. We can work hard, act on the big ideas, grow our people and do our numbers as much as we like… But what you need to wait for, is the magic. It’s what turns small ideas into world changing businesses. Some call it luck, others call it timing, even others, God… You have to surrender to it, because you won’t always have it, but when you do, you need to make it count.

27 January 2016

INTERVIEW: forgood, the social giving site and employee volunteering platform

This was an interview Katherine Robertson and I did with the Tech4Africa team. I didn't see it get published - and it was quite a cool interview to do, interesting set of questions. Thought I'd publish it here for prosterity - it gives some insight into our thinking behind the forgood platform. Enjoy!

--- snip ---

Interview questions answered by Andy Hadfield (AH) – CEO of www.forgood.co.za and Katherine Robertson (KR), Head of Corporate Programmes.

OCTOBER 2015 



What problem does your business solve? Or, what problem do you solve?

AH: Forgood connects people and businesses to Causes.

On the consumer side, we’re seeing a groundswell in “activist” behavior. Not only the protest kind, but people generally wanting to be more socially involved in their communities. With a lack of technology (especially technology at scale) in our social sector, there hasn’t always been an easy channel for these people to mobilise through. How can I get started? Where can I get involved? Can I trust the organisations I work with? Where can my skills make the most impact?

KR: We also solve a corporate headache that is the tracking and monitoring of employee volunteering. CSI departments often use Excel as a way to manage who is doing what and who is giving to who. Corporates want to enable their employees to ‘do good’ (the research is all there that it makes business sense to do so) but they don’t have the resources or structure in place to make that happen. Forgood enables corporates to efficiently and effectively engage staff, while providing cool reports on every aspect of employee volunteering.


What's your progress / traction like in the last 6 months?

AH: 497 Causes (growing at almost 10 a week). 988 specific “Needs” captured by those Causes (when we know what they need, we can facilitate a much more meaningful connection) - and 963 real connections between People and Causes. And by the time you print this, those numbers will be out of date. It’s been a good ride – and we haven’t even touched on the current #foodforgood campaign or the previous knock out #uberforgood campaign.

KH: Our traffic spikes nicely when we do campaigns or activations. For example, we worked with Uber on a Spring Clean (#uberforgood) activation. People were able to put together stuff they no longer wanted and request an Uber to collect it, for free. Forgood then received the donations and matched them out to relevant Causes using the platform. The activation trended on Twitter in South Africa, resulted in over 10 million opportunities to see and the Joburg Drop Off Depot alone saw more than 175 cubic metres of stuff! Next up – our integration with the Tshwane Free Wifi Project, where users on their network will be able to use forgood without affecting their daily browsing limit. Zero-rated activism!


What do you look back at and feel is the most rewarding so far in your journey?

AH: Personally? For once in my life, it feels like the timing might be right for this tech business. While CSI and community involvement platforms aren’t unfortunately a “must have” purchase decision for businesses – there is enough evidence flowing in about how actively involving your staff in relevant volunteering and community projects results in high retention and higher morale. That war of talent thing needs some ammo – we could just be it.

KR: The most rewarding part of this journey is seeing people benefit from forgood. There are so many great moments that give you faith in humanity and hope for this country. One example is meeting someone who had travelled from Pretoria to collect a printer that had been donated during the #uberforgood activation. He had travelled far by taxi and was so excited about getting one printer for the NGO he worked for (Trendsetters.) He was a quiet guy who you wouldn’t ordinarily notice except for the fact that he dedicates his entire life to helping teenagers. To see such a small thing make such a big difference…


What would you say has been toughest so far in your journey?

AH: Cost of and time commitment to do development properly. Slow nature of enterprise / B2B sales.

KH: I agree!


What are the 3 biggest opportunities you see in South Africa right now?

AH: Building African solutions for African problems. Scaling into developing markets, not developed markets. Katherine, you want to take the 3rd?

KR: Living in a country where there is so much need, and such an opportunity (with forgood) to change the landscape of that need.


What are the 3 things frustrating you most about the tech ecosystem in SA at the moment?

AH: I think there’s still a lot of ego. At the moment, we’re brutally trying to carve out our own little portion of not much. There is a collaborative spirit in more developed tech ecosystems that is still in its infancy here. I spoke about this 2 Tech4Africa’s ago – how few people even bother to share stats? It doesn’t appear to have got much better.

KH: I would add (a bit of a lateral answer) that a many in the social sector have not cottoned on to the tech ecosystem. Many people doing great work just don’t have access to the Internet or don’t know how to use technology. This disjunct is frustrating.


When did you last have a huge amount of fun at work?

AH: Today! Putting together the #foodforgood campaign for World Food Day. And testing the campaigns module that our product and dev team had just deployed. Check it out here: http://bit.do/foodforgood! It’s stressful, fast-paced, but we have a ton of fun.

It’s quite a different mental outlook when each conversion you do doesn’t result in a 5% margin eCommerce sale to a random stranger – but rather in the relevant connection between a citizen who wants to become more involved in the future of their country – and a Cause that can use that person’s skills.

KR: Also today! We have a great team. Ran a little campaign with one of our corporate clients, through the platform, for St Vincent’s School for the Deaf – the campaign will directly impact the kids there. For me, knowing my work makes a difference, is what makes my job fun.


What advice would you give to anyone who is sub-30?

AH: Take more risks, fail more – the older you get, the harder it gets because there’s more at stake. Have lots of conversations – accept advice and hard feedback, in fact, search out hard feedback, everything else is meaningless small talk.

KR: I think we can learn from the sub 30s as much as they can learn from us. I find that I think differently from a slightly younger generation. As a tech company, we need to be open to youthful minds and respond to the way they operate


Where would you like to be in 18 months from now? What do you think is going to be your biggest challenge in getting there?

AH: We’d like to have 10-15 active business clients using the forgood platform to run their employee volunteering programmes. We’d like to be getting a stream of social activity data, an understanding of the impact each connection is creating. And starting to really leverage the platform nature of what we’re building – all the new revenue streams, the new features and the new partnerships that an open, API-based platform at scale allows you to do.

I want to be able to say the word “scale” without a jealous, wistful tone in my voice!

KR: I would also like to be bridging the understanding gap between Corporates and Causes. The gap is wide - and its creates frustration and compassion fatigue (among other things). I want to be part of the solution to this problem in +/- 18 months!