Can Volunteerism And Service Become Profitable?

07/13/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

As noted in Arianna Huffington's recent blog post, All for Good: A New Craigslist for Service highlights the call for volunteerism.

'Cause-wired' online social activism is a reality, unleashing the potential of a golden age for causes. Innovative web tools, online story-telling and social media are coming of age. Gathering people online is easier and less costly than ever before, and the opportunity of digital citizen engagement to create social movements is unprecedented.

"There are two trend lines heading for a collision in philanthropy and social change movements - on one hand, people are ever more conscious of philanthropy and its role in commerce and society;
on the other, these people are talking to each other
more so than ever before."
Tom Watson, author, CauseWired.

But what if volunteerism and service could become a profitable business?
What if there were a hybrid investment model - a sort of stock market for charity, that combined:

• Investment
• Philanthropy
• And a Green FUND Offering

A proprietary search tool would aggregate companies, service organizations, non-profits, and goods and services, vet their authenticity, and offer them up as available investment choices -- an online green pages/equity exchange for social activism.

There would be searchable editorial content across basic pillars of social activism: Green Building, Mortgage Refugees, Non Profits, Education, Natural Lifestyles, Alternative Energy, Alternative Transportation, and Eco-Tourism.

Why now?

Search, specifically Google, the first language of the Web, translates intention and inquiry into outcome.

Social Networking (i.e., MySpace, Facebook, Twitter) the second language of the Web, enables social engagement and now rivals Google in impact.

Site Networking, (i.e. Facebook Connect) the most extensive iteration of Web language, promotes the integration of information and action among web users...and creates a 'socialization of presence.'

The amplification of all that social intention is spreading across the web...
The conversation is evolving, from short bursts of declared intent inside a query bar, to ongoing, ambient declaration of social actions."

John Battelle, CEO, Federated Media

The collapse of business-as-usual, consumer demand for accountability, increasing citizen engagement, and the Obama administration's focus on personal impact and transparency are reshaping markets and ushering in a new era for sustainable companies and good business by doing well.

" The greatest potential of social media lies in its ability
to enable and encourage people to do social good."
Joe Marchese, President, Social Vibe

If volunteerism and being of service become a profitable business - the web will truly have found its heartbeat.

Would you invest?