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How a Company Aiding Nonprofits Secured Venture Capital A new way for small nonprofits to tap into big audiences and raise awareness and exposure online.

By Gwen Moran Edited by Frances Dodds

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If there is an ideal pedigree for building a philanthropic social networking platform, Ed Messman's fits the bill. Before joining the team that grew and sold enterprise social network platform-builder HiveLive for a reported $6 million, Messman worked in venture capital for Hercules Technology Growth Capital. When he and colleague J.P. Lind were looking for their next venture in 2008, they noticed that the philanthropic community was testing social networking in the same preliminary way that corporations had been when HiveLive was founded in 2007.

"The new donor that's coming up and filling my database doesn't respond the same way," Messman says. "They don't give the same way."

The 2009 market for charitable contributions was more than $300 billion, but that total was down 2 percent from the previous year--and less than 6 percent of that giving was happening online, Messman says. He decided the formula of grants, events and big checks from high-net-worth donors isn't the way of the future. So in January 2009, he and Lind launched Giveo as an easy-to-use solution, marrying social media with the fundraising and communication needs of charitable organizations.

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