Instead of just writing trite wall posts and playing FarmVille, what if Facebook users could be directed towards doing good deeds? That’s the thinking behind the Chase Community Giving Program, a new app that allows users to choose from over 500,000 charities to decide which get cash from Chase’s corporate philanthropy fund.
The charity receiving the most votes will receive $1 million, the top 5 runners up will get $100,000 each, and 100 finalists will get $25,000 each. It’s all money that Chase would give to charities anyway, but this is the first time that the bank is crowdsourcing its decisions.
Chase’s Community Giving Program will operate in two rounds. In round one, Facebook users can vote for their favorite charities, including those with budgets of $10 million or less. Eligible charities can be selected out of a number of categories, such as education, healthcare, housing, and the environment. The charities range from the big (Greenpeace Fund) to the tiny (Junction Elementary School). Chase will announce the winners on December 15, when the top 100 charities will each receive $25,000 and move to the next round. In round two, Facebook users choose their favorites out of the top 100.
If Chase’s crowdsourcing experiment attracts enough attention, it could trigger a change in the way corporations conduct philanthropy. Crowdsourced philanthropy isn’t new, but giving over 300 million Facebook users the power to direct Chase’s donations might just be the biggest charitable crowdsourcing experiment yet.