Good Street: It’s Just Pocket Change…
Quarters can quickly turn to thousands of dollars when enough people contribute. Good Street, a grassroots, online-based charity organization--founded by Yeshiva University student Joe Teplow, NYU student Ariel Sterman, Queens student Jeff Dobrinsky, and Princeton student Joe Benun--is attempting to amass these quarters on a daily basis, and send them to those who truly need them.
The genius of Good St.’s strategy can be found in its simplicity: Users, known as ‘Streeters,’ sign up to give as little as a quarter a day to charity. Good St. then sends one email every day featuring a ‘Cause of the Day,’ which includes a brief explanation of an important issue, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Streeters are then given a choice of two charities working within that cause in different ways. For example, one can choose between supporting Alzheimer’s research or home care. With one click of a button donations are processed. And not to worry, if you forget to select which charity you would like to allocate your donation, it will be split between the two organizations based on the percentage of streeters that donated to each organization.
In it’s short career of four months, the Good St. community has grown to over 200 users, and is already giving over 61 dollars a day--over $22,000 a year--to charities devoted to fighting disease and poverty, and to promoting education.
But Good St. hopes to be far more than an online piggy bank. According to CEO Joe Teplow, “we see good street as not just a website used to give charity, but as a thriving community of good people creating a hub from which to spread Good throughout the world.” On a practical level, to help create this community, Good St. will be incorporating a username system where Streeters can view all their past donations, keep track of the amount of money going to charity from their referrals, create forums to select upcoming causes and charities on Good St., and share and collaborate on their own non-profit organizations.
More generally, Good St. hopes to actualize this mission by seeking initiatives that reshape the way people relate to doing good for others. During the Chanukkah holiday season, the Good St. community aimed to transcend traditional gift-giving by adding charity-giving to the list of Chanukah presents for friends, coworkers, family, and loved ones. The campaign allowed anyone to buy a Good St. subscription for others, granting them the ability to take part in the Good things happening on the street. The message was simple: the capacity to give is the greatest gift we have, and the most profound gift we can offer others.
Additionally, Good St. will be launching a program targeting companies, called Good St. for Teams, which enables corporations to sign up their employees to Good St. en masse. The companies will receive special quarterly reports, analytical data on how their employees gave, and social responsibility information that will create a culture of good-doing and charitable-giving amongst the employees.
But Good St. faces some challenges. According to Ariel Sterman, “The daily emails must maintain unique, informative, and educational content, and this can be quite labor intensive.” Good St. also tries to keep things ‘fresh’ and exciting for its users, which is difficult because daily emails can easily become stale. Another concern Good St. has is the flexibility in choosing different causes that some Streeters may not connect with as much. To address these concerns, Good St. hopes to create a ‘rollover’ feature, which enables Streeters to push off their donation to the next day.
Despite challenges, Good St. has demonstrated quite an impressive retention rate. Out of 205 people to sign up for Good street, only 4 people have unsubscribed. Additionally, as a daily email, it is expected that Good Street would have very low percentages of individuals on the listserv actually opening the emails let alone clicking the ‘donate’ button. However, according to Ariel sterman, “over 70 percent of good streeters open the emails on a daily basis, and roughly 65 percent actually click ‘donate.’ “
So what is the key to Good Street’s success? According to Joe Teplow, “Small change leads to big change. It’s the power of a committed collective.”
As a proud member of the street, I personally endorse Good St. as a community that has the power to spread incredible goodness with little more than pocket change. So get on the street by joining at www.goodst.org.