Google enters crowded donation platform market

One Today joins other donation organizations like Causes, Crowdwise and DonorsChoose

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
August 10, 2013
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Love it or hate it, Google is nothing if not a charitable organization. This is a company that has given out awards to nonprofit tech innovators, and donated 15,000 Raspberry Pi Model Bs for school kids around the United Kingdom, among other things.

And now, once again, Google is showing its philanthropic side with the release of its One Today app, "that brings together people and nonprofits through the act of giving $1," the company announced Friday. 

The app works by connecting users with causes that they are likely to be interested in. The app highlights these projects, which are from nonprofits, and users are then able to donate $1 to them. These users are then encouraged to invite their friends to donate as well.

"The more people who donate, the faster your project gets funded. Each month, nonprofits on One Today receive project donations through our partner Network for Good," said Maya Amoils, of the team, wrote.

Launched in April in limited pilot mode, the app now available for free to all Android users in the United States.

"We’re amazed by the great work nonprofits do on a daily basis to make the world a better place, and we’re thrilled to provide a new platform which helps you to tell your story to users who care about the same important things that you do," said Amoils.

Other donation platforms

One Today is far from the only fundraising platform for donors and non-profits.

Its most notable competition will probably be Causes, which provide free tools for people to spread the word, find supporters, raise money, and build momentum.  Users can create a petition, pledge, or fundraiser or support another person's cause.

So far, over 170 million people have taken action for over 500,000 unique campaigns.

Causes has raised over $16 million, including $9 million in a Series C round led by New Enterprise Associates, with help from Founders Fund, Marc Benioff, Ron Conway, Karl Jacob, Keith Rabois, and Dustin Moscovitz

There is also Crowdrise, which provides a secure donation system that powers the online fundraising efforts of numerous non-profits. Users can start their own fundraisers or simply donate to others., an organization committed to improving public education at the local level by encouraging people to donate materials and resources, such as microscopes, musical instruments, and basic school supplies, is also a competitor.  The organization works with public schools in a wide range of communities, and the proceeds from shoppers’ purchases go directly to their own community schools. 

In December it was awarded $5 million as part of Google's Global Impact Award, so that it can work with the College Board in order to provide public schools with materials to create 500 AP math and science courses. It will also help teachers put money into their classrooms and students.

There is also FirstGiving, which is part of the Giving Group, was founded over a decade ago, which is dedicated to one empowering nonprofit supporters to raise money for the causes they care about. Over 8.000 non-profits, and over 13 million donors, have used the site to raise over $1 billion.

Othcer ompetitors include: Razoo, which has had more than 68,000 fundraising pages created, and over 1.3 million donations to causes, for a total of $160 million raised since 2006; JustGive, which received $1 million dollars of donated services in its first year in 2000, and now contains more than 1.8 million charities; and Givezooks!, which is used by nonprofits such as of Boys and Girls Clubs, Red Cross of Santa Barbara, Girls, Inc., Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, and multiple independent and private schools.

Google's other charitable causes

The Raspberry Pi Foundation grant is just another of a long line of charitable contributions made by Google.

In December, Google announced that it was launching the Global Impact Awards, in which it awarded money to nonprofit tech innovators. 

Google donated a total of $23 million to seven different nonprofits: charity: water, Consortium for the Barcode of Life,,  Equal Opportunity Schools, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, GiveDirectly, and World Wildlife Fund.

The Google Impact Awards are a part of the, the charitable wing of the company, which has donated money to relief organizations during natural disaster, including Hurrican Katrina in 2005.

Its major projects include Google Crisis Response, which issues Crisis Maps, Person Finder and Public Alerts; Google Flu & Dengue Trends, which indicates flu activity around the world in real time; and Google For Nonprofits, which offers discounted or free products for nonprofits in order to help them with their organization.

In January, Google donated 15,000 Raspberry Pi Model Bs for school kids around the United Kingdom, and also partnering with six U.K. educational partners, "to find the kids who we think will benefit from having their very own Raspberry Pi." These partners are CoderDojo, Code Club, Computing at Schools, Generating Genius, Teach First and OCR.

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