Brad Newman

Speaker Update: GiveLocally’s Brad Newman

Since talking at CIW in 2012 about his online charity, Brad Newman has continued to grow the online charity he founded, GiveLocally, which lets users donate directly to local families in need of clothing, electricity and food.  Ever the creative innovator, he’s also launched another app—one that’s “180 degrees” from GiveLocally—Prongg!, a mobile social media platform that lets you vent anonymously to a network of friends.  We caught up with Newman about how GiveLocally has grown since 2012, his plans for Giv Galaxy and whether he’s been using Prongg! himself.

GiveLocally Founder Brad Newman spoke with CEO
Andrew Young about GiveLocally’s roots and mission at CIW 2012.
One thing you’ve talked about—in our CIW Talk and elsewhere—is the importance of flipping giving on its head, so that it’s not about you giving but about who you are giving to.  How do you think GiveLocally does that?
We’ve continued to achieve what we feel are successful results.  We’ve continued to help more and more families.  We’ve grown our presence on Facebook with our international audience.  Our giving is getting more robust every month, and our brand is getting stronger, which means that we are able to help more families—quicker, better, faster.  We’re not stopping.  We’re expanding, we’re helping more people and we’re here to stay. 
What are your numbers now?  How much have people given locally?
We’ve helped several thousand families so far.  We probably help around 100 families per month. The average give is getting larger, approaching approximately $75.  The $10 give is our basic fuel, but the average gives are getting larger and larger.
How does your new app Giv Galaxy fit into this?
Giv Galaxy is a stand-alone, free social game about a space traveler named Nuxx, whose planet, Planet Narru, is deteriorating.  There are 9 different mini-games to help Nuxx save his planet.  If you purchase virtual goods, a percentage—25 cents on the dollar—goes to a family on GiveLocally that needs food, shelter or medical bills.  It’s a stand-alone, very compelling, addictive game.  It’s being downloaded every day around the world.
What other organizations do you see fitting into this same space?  Have you seen a more general change to charities who approach giving in the way that Give Locally does?
The answer is no, and we know why.  It takes a lot of work to do what we do.  Screening these families, staying with them and then distributing gives.  We know how to scale it, but it’s taken a long time for us to figure it out.  It’s very hard work.  We’re not seeing a proliferation of sites who have the desire to do this.  The online giving industry continues to grow, and a lot of people want to make money off of it.  As far as doing the work we do, we’re not seeing a lot of sites doing this.  It’s hard work, but it’s a lot of fun and we’re up for it.
Let’s talk Prongg!  This seems like an entirely different space to go into.  Why did you choose an app that gives people a space to vent as your next project?
Prongg! is 180 degrees from Give Locally.  So many of these sites are take a photo of a food you had for lunch or a photo of your kids.  There’s not any app dedicated to just venting.  I put it out recently, and the thing is going gangbusters.  It’s completely free, totally fun and people are loving it.  I think people have Facebook fatigue.  Twitter has too much information.  All Prongg! is is to get on there and complain with your friends.  It’s something you do to vent and then move on.
And do you get on there and complain with your friends?
I will neither confirm nor deny. 
How have people reacted to it?
It’s just a funky little thing designed for pure fun and enjoyment.  There are a lot of younger users who are fatigued with more established social media, and they’re just having fun.
Q&As are edited for clarity and length.

Erin Robertson is managing editor at Chicago Ideas.

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