We wrote about Project Agape, a new startup that is applying viral principles to altruism and social causes, in late March (“Project Agape” is a working name for the service, it is yet to be formally named). Today, the service is launching as one of the initial Facebook Platform partners.
The company was founded by Sean Parker and Joe Green and is designed to help social causes – charities, religions, political parties and candidates, etc.
Integration with Facebook is very, very deep, which isn’t surprising given the founders connections to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and CEO. Parker was Facebook’s founding President, and Green was Zuckerberg’s college roomate.
Facebook already has a popular “groups” application, and many social causes are represented as a group. Groups, however, don’t let users do much more than join. With Agape, users can create causes, take donations, and recruit members. Whenever someone creates a cause or joins one, it shows up in their news feed for their friends to see. Information about the cause is also included in the profile itself, including total amount raised by that user and new users recruited.
There’s a multi level marketing approach, too. Any money donated by other users you’ve recruited is also included in your “money raised” total (see top image). Gaining status by recruiting members and getting donations will be a big incentive for users to not only join a cause that they feel strongly about, but will also get them to participate on an ongoing basis.
I spoke with Green and Parker and asked them why they decided to show their service to the public for the first time via Facebook instead of launching on their own site. The answer: Facebook has a huge and active user base (20 million users, each viewing 50 pages daily on Facebook), and they are a demographic that is highly likely to want to become involved actively in causes they believe in. The hugh popularity of Facebook Groups is evidence of this, they say.