Interesting people tend to hang out with interesting people. While at the recent Net Impact conference in Chicago, I met a ton of interesting people including an MBA student who previously had worked with environmentally conscious business woman Allison Koch. He suggested Allison and I should talk and a few days later, she gave me a call. Following a marketing oriented career path that included stops at Mossimo, Netflix and Stone Yamashita Partners, she founded Vibrant Planet, which provides strategy and communications for companies and non-profits focused on environmental and social innovation.
I sensed we could have dug in deep on a variety of topics, but our conversation quickly turned to one of Allison’s clients, GlobalGiving. It’s true that the internet has revolutionized many aspects of our lives ” the way we learn, the way we communicate, the way we conduct business, the way we engage in social activism ” but I wasn’t aware of the way Global Giving is using the internet to revolutionize the way international philanthropy is conducted. Global Giving creates an online marketplace, enabling large numbers of people to have direct and transparent access to grass roots projects around the world.
Prior to Founding Global Giving, Mari Kuraishi and Dennis Whittle were heads of strategy and innovation at the World Bank, so they presumably know a thing or two about making economic investments in the developing world. What intrigues me is that their model of giving disintermediates the middleman, draws on the power of competitive markets and creates a very efficient model of giving. It will be interesting to see how traditional philanthropic organizations respond.