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Craigslist Founder Launches a New Site to Connect Nonprofits

Craig Newmark's new site is designed to bring together a world's worth of helping hands.
Launched March 2011

Based in San Francisco

The team Newmark and seven independent contractors

127,593 page views, 79,059 unique visitors, and 1,200 user-submitted philanthropic ideas in the first two weeks

What It Is
Self-proclaimed "geek" Craig Newmark turned an e-mail list among friends into Craigslist, one of the top 20 most highly trafficked sites on the web. Now he's devoted to Craigconnects, an online community where people committed to various causes can meet, share information and work together to create positive change.

How It Started
Newmark had been providing advice, social media assistance and donations to a number of nonprofits. By 2010, he had lost track of how many organizations he was working with, so he and one of his team members tallied them. "I thought there were about 20 or 30. Turns out there were more than 100," he says. "I spoke to some people who are much smarter about nonprofits and communications and they suggested I create an anchor page."

Why You Should Watch
While the concept is somewhat vague and the site's survival depends on his continued interest and funding, Newmark--one of social media's most active and effective participants--says he's committed to sticking with it for the next 20 years. And when someone with his track record is that committed, it's worth paying attention.

The Business Case
That's a work in progress, too. But Newmark is prepared to support the site out of his own pocket. And he's adamant that Craigconnects is not a funding entity. For now, it's his personal money pit until an appropriate revenue model is found.

What's Next
Newmark has already connected several groups that provide veterans and homeless people with job-search tools. He believes that the site will one day be a force in getting "almost everyone on the planet to connect for their own individual idea of what goodwill is."

This story appears in the June 2011 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

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