Craig Newmark launches, to connect and protect nonprofits

Craig Newmark, O.G. internet guy and founder of Craigslist, tells Boing Boing this morning:
Hey, I know I say "this is a big deal" a lot, but this really IS a big deal. I've decided what I want to do for the next 20 years, which is to help connect and protect organizations that are doing good through a program I'm calling craigconnects.

I need your help. Together, we can make a difference.

Today the new craigconnects website launched:

* Craigconnects is about calling attention to and connecting good, effective nonprofits and other organizations that get the job done.

* Craigconnects is also about protecting organizations, and the public, from fake organizations that have a good story, but actually end up hurting the people they profess to serve.

One way we'll CONNECT good, worthy organizations is on craigconnects' Home page . When you check it out, find the "Featured Nonprofit". Right now, it's

The great folks at DonorsChoose are really making a difference for kids, teachers and education by enabling small donations for classroom projects. Read more about it on the site. There's a link for more info about them. Then get in touch if it makes sense. Connect. We'll feature different organizations a lot. We might feature yours. Butfirst, connect with craigconnects by clicking "Like" on the site. And, Iwant people to use the "Connect with Craig" page to tell me aboutorganizations that are doing good stuff. Or ask me questions aboutcraigconnects. Or tell me what YOU think is important. Because I careand I know that many of you care too.

Help me make a difference.


  1. I was thinking of an idea the other day, which I actually think is pretty good. I am up for giving it away for free right here, right now.

    Imagine you had a charity portal, with the following features:

    – It provides a way to give and display your giving to all of your favorite charities for the last year.

    – If you give to a charity and are signed up with the portal, charities agree not to mail you solicitations. This is a critical factor to making the whole thing work.

    – Charities can create news content about what’s going on at the charity. You can opt to see these if you want. The idea is that you are usually interested to read about things your favorite charities are doing. It also keeps the portal sticky, a place to come back to to get a selection of news about things you care about. The only caveat is that charity news articles could only have a certain percentage of emergency action alerts. There needs to be real content, not just a bunch of petition pleas.

    Here’s why I think this would work:

    People who give regularly get an absurd amount of solicitation for more money. It starts to get to where one resents the folks one gives to. Giving feels good at first; then it feels tedious.

    Structuring this kind of portal would help givers feel good about the giving they have done, and to see the progress made by the organizations they have been giving to. People also love news – I usually *want* to see news about the issues important to me.

    We need a leap past the current email solicitation. It’s becoming messy and unmanageable. This kind of site provides a nexus for good choices, a promotion of the joy of giving, and a modest way to help the environment by getting rid of a few of the massive mailers and charity spam.

    I hereby release the idea into the world. I hope someone builds it and can get the charities to sign on. It could change how we give and how we stay connected to giving issues. Ideas welcome.

    1. imag, I LOVE your idea!

      I can only donate small amounts (usually less than $50) and I hate solicitations. I’m not able to give more and I feel like all the money I donate is being spent on mailings to me, rather than on the people I want to donate to.

      Guaranteeing small donors don’t become an administrative cost liability, or don’t get annoyed themselves, could really alter the way most people (who probably can’t give much) interact with non-profits!

      That is so brilliant, I hope some one takes you up on it!

  2. Are you sure that’s the right URL? The domain name is owned by a crisis management company.

    Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc.
    180 South Mountain Trail
    Sierra Madre, California 91024
    United States
    Registered through:, Inc. (
    Created on: 30-Nov-10
    Expires on: 30-Nov-12
    Last Updated on: 04-Mar-11
    Administrative Contact:
    Bernstein, Jonathan
    Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc.
    180 South Mountain Trail
    Sierra Madre, California 91024
    United States
    +1.6268253838 Fax -- +1.8774711573
    Technical Contact:
    Bernstein, Jonathan
    Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc.
    180 South Mountain Trail
    Sierra Madre, California 91024
    United States
    +1.6268253838 Fax -- +1.8774711573
  3. LOL! Yes, that’s the right URL. I’ve done a lot of work for craigslist and got to know Craig well, so he asked me to help with this effort.

  4. I don’t understand the point of this site. A list of charities? That’s all? It seems like it would make more sense to have ways for registered users to give feedback about charities, and it would sort of fit under the Craig “brand”, i.e. a web 2.0 user-created content site.
    Also, why would they list AARP, a huge lobbying organization, under “community building”? Or Huffington Post under “journalistic integrity”? It’s the absolute opposite.

    It’s nice that he wants to support charities, but this doesn’t really make sense.

  5. I remember Darian Heyman talking about something like this in … 2009. So it’s finally ready? For presenting at the next New York City Nonprofit Bootcamp?

  6. Darn it! This wasn’t what I’d hoped it would be. I hoped from the first glance at the headline that it it might be a site that would help non-profits connect with each other and share their resources and ideas. It would be really helpful for charities to be able to connect with each other easily and pool their strengths and assets together to help each other get more done. Like say the Girl Scouts need a copy machine for cookie sales fliers and the Salvation Army has one or the food bank needs a big truck to pick up a whole pallet of food a warehouse received in error and would donate if someone could come pick it up and the Disable Veterans had one they use for pick ups for their thrift store that they could let the food bank borrow. Or if the March of Dimes was having a fundraiser banquet and needed more folding tables and table clothes and the Junior League had some, they could borrow them and save having to rent or buy them. Or if some organization had an issue or a client with a need they didn’t have the ability or know-how to fill, they could see if some other organizations might have an idea for a solution.

    1. That’s what I was hoping for too. I work at a nonprofit that survives mostly off government grants, and we have four staff whose entire job is to go to various communities and help different community groups link together. They get paid to go around five days a week, often in remote areas, and just make everybody aware of the other resources and helpful folk around them.

      Something like this would be hugely useful, not just for them but as a recognized hub for everybody to link together. It’d also be incredibly useful for finding a charity you’d be most effective volunteering for – I know there’s a few places around my city who accept old computer hardware donations and look for IT geeks to set up cheap linux machines for those who need them, but they’re damn hard to find.

  7. I agree: I was hoping it would be more like a mix of what durfsmurf and redstarr were envisioning.

    Which *would* be a wonderful thing.

  8. I’m anxious to see what becomes of I could be a major step forward for the nonprofit space. Once you get past the high level orgs, there are thousands who need assistance with basic marketing and social media just to get the word out. I agree with @imag that it can’t just be about constant email reminders to donate. There has to be engagement (sorry to use a buzzword ;-) in order to really make people care about a cause.

    I’ve been working on something that has elements of what @imag and @redstarr are suggesting, focused on a single industry – Love to hear anyone’s thoughts on it…

  9. Am I missing something? It looks like a blog where Craig makes personal recommendations about organizations he likes.

    That’s cool and all. I’m glad he’s helping out some worthy causes. But I don’t see what the big deal is.

    There are already a bunch of sites dedicated to connecting people with non-profits. Newer ones include Jumo and My Good Deed. Care2 (social network, lots of online activism) and (volunteering and jobs) are more established.

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