Monday, October 27, 2014

100 Days of Gratitude, Day 37 - Sally Osberg

Sally Osberg
"This is just something we have to take a chance on."

That was Sally Osberg, president of the Skoll Foundation, in early 2002, months after we launched GlobalGiving. Mari and I had a great idea, but little track record in making markets for good on the new-ish World Wide Web.

Our site was extremely crude, with none of the polish and few of the features it has now. Still, we had launched what would currently be called our minimum viable product - a platform that had already intermediated a few donations to organizations overseas. We had at least taken the first step, gone from zero to one.  The promise of what it could unleash was tremendous, if still uncertain.

The Skoll Foundation thus became one of our earliest backers, and injected critical resources at a crucial period of our early life. Without that money, we might well not be in existence today. And since we were the first global crowdfunding and crowdsourcing site "for good" on the web, I like to think we played at least a small role in encouraging the emergence of so many other great "crowd-x" sites such as KivaKickStarter, and Indiegogo. (The pathbreaking, education-focused DonorsChoose started around the same time we did, and we learned a huge amount from them along the way.)

Since that initial investment from Skoll Foundation, GlobalGiving has helped mobilized over $150 million from hundreds of thousands of donors and companies to more than 10,000 projects in 160+ countries. We have made it possible, for the first time in history, for nearly every socially oriented group in the world to have their ideas heard and compete in the global marketplace for funding.  As we now embark on phase two of our vision, which is to create a virtuous cycle between quality and quantity, it is time to take a moment and say:

"Sally (and Jeff!) - your foresight and willingness to take a risk at an early stage helped put a dent on history.  Thank you."