Any organization, be it not-for-profit or for-profit, faces several challenges when it comes to fundraising. Engaging donors and volunteers is an uphill task, and as a result, so is making a social impact. Many organizations use social media in an attempt to engage with their audience, but in the end what good does a photo on a Facebook page do? What can it really tell you about the impact the organization has in the communities it is targeting? Suppose an organization that aims to provide food to underprivileged children posts a photo of a hungry child being fed. It is an emotionally charged photographic moment, sure, but what does it convey in terms of numbers, in terms of the impact they are creating? This is the question that bothered Scott Roehrick, Rich Dullaghan and Terri Harel, co founders of Impactflo. They saw that organizations had very few ways to quickly and efficiently show their audience an overview of the activities they are involved in and the volume of work they are doing.
Motivated by the desire to do some good
The trio had always been motivated by the desire to do some good in this world. They worked with several ideas and ultimately, after pivoting several times, realized that they wanted to solve the problem of how organizations represent data to the public. There are millions of organizations, both for-profit and nonprofit, which make huge changes in the world on a daily basis. After talking to several of them, Roehrick, Dullaghan and Harel saw that most of them lacked effective means to collect, visualize and share data.
They also didn’t have workflows that allowed them to prove their impact or share the tangible results of their laborious efforts. In a world where donors and supporters increasingly demand to know the data driven components of operations, organizations which can’t prove or improve upon their impact are left behind to bite the dust, adversely affecting the millions of people who rely on them for survival. When the three co-founders saw the tragic results of charitable organizations failing, they decided to provide them with a means to showcase their impact and engage supporters to help them achieve their goals.
Displaying data geospatially
The Santiago-based startup was accelerated by Startup Chile, which is where they worked on their ideas, changing directions several times before landing at the current iteration. Their focus is on encouraging a shift in the way organizations reach out to people. Most of them use the traditional blog format, but the problem with that is old posts get pushed to the bottom of the page, and then to the next page with time, and site visitors only look through the latest projects. They then exit the page, feeling completely uninspired. Impactflo’s solution to this is their very own Impactmap which helps organizations manage and display their projects in a geospatial manner.
Seeing what they are doing on a global, or even local, scale on a visual medium such as a map helps visitors grasp the reach and depth of an organization’s impact in one go. Organizations using the Impactmap can also add to it crucial information like pictures, project details, people impacted, location and most importantly, budget. With lists like the list of top 50 worst charities in America being released by The Tampa Bay Times and The Center for Investigative Reporting, it is of the utmost importance that organizations, especially organizations people give their money to, should be transparent.
The maps can be hosted on the organizations’ own sites, and also used in media campaigns to help interested folks find projects they can get involved in. The map is entirely filterable by location, type of initiative and time – an incredibly useful feature since most of us want to support local organizations that work towards the causes in which we believe. The “call to action” feature in the form of buttons that you can click on to volunteer, donate, or even sign a petition, depending on what requirements the organization has, helps people get directly involved with just a click. The social sharing features integrated with Twitter and Facebook also make the maps and the projects actionable, as well as allowing for widespread reach of the cause.
An amplifier for Big Data
In the end, what Impactflo is, is an amplifier – it increases the impact of data that would otherwise have been meaningless by visualizing it creatively. Big Data is currently one of the buzzwords of the business world as people look for new and better ways to quantify and represent massive volumes of data. What Impactflo is doing is wonderfully creative in the world of data representation; it is no mystery why they were selected by Startup Chile. Impactflo runs on a pricing model that starts at an affordable $19 a month; however, they offer customized solutions as well. You can sign up for the beta if you want an Impact Map, so if you are an organization that wants to draw in more people, give it a spin!
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