The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates nearly 65 million people volunteered through or for an organization in 2012. One social networking site is now focusing on the volunteer sector.
“I think most people don’t realize how important that volunteering and civic engagement is for a society. They’ve done study after study that has shown that areas where there are higher levels of volunteering recover from recessions much quicker,” said CEO of GiveGab Charlie Mulligan.
GiveGab is a social networking site that connects volunteers to volunteer opportunities. Mulligan says the idea for the site came to him when he was working on his MBA at Cornell University.
“It just occurred to me how difficult it was to find a place to volunteer. It also seemed obvious that volunteering is a very social thing and I could see people trying to accomplish the types of things we do on GiveGab on Facebook and other sites, but it was very difficult for them to do everything that they wanted to do,” said Mulligan.
Mulligan then brought classmate Aaron Godert in on the technical side, and now they run the year-old business out of Ithaca, New York.
“You can also build a real volunteer portfolio, so if you are college student you can use that to satisfy service learning, but for anyone else they can either use that to get a job or to just feel great about themselves,” said Mulligan.
The site has around 23,000 members and works with more than 200 universities and over 2,000 non-profit organizations in the country.
Mulligan says they recently received interest from non-profits in Denmark and New Zealand that want to showcase their opportunities for volunteering.
“So, we feel like we’ve really hit a real need. We also feel like our focus of really satisfying the needs of volunteers and why they volunteer is very powerful and that’s getting attention from all over,” said Mulligan.
Today, the social networking company employs 18 people and Mulligan says they’re aiming to triple their staff by the end of next year.
“All the talent we’ve needed so far we’ve found in Ithaca. The only reason we’ve expanded further away is for sales. It just makes more sense that they’re spread out across the country, because our goal is to gain users across the country,”
Mulligan says they’ll continue to invest in the US before they expand much more internationally.