A coalition of non-profit organizations, technology developers, designers, marketers and others has unveiled the alpha version of a new Web service dubbed All for Good in an effort to build some sort of ‘Craigslist for volunteer services’. The metaphor stands, and not only because Craig Newmark from the popular free classifieds service is one of the backers of the project (Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post is also said to be on board).
All for Good basically lets you browse volunteer activities and find related events based on your geographical location and/or interests. The site brings together listings from organizations and local groups to help you find volunteer activities that fit your time and talent. If you ‘like’ a certain item, you can share it with your friends across various social networking services, hopefully spawning more attention and the possibility for the activity or event to spread virally within your network.
According to the about page, All for Good was “inspired by the call of President Obama to engage more Americans in service”. The link to the White House is notable: according to a report by MSNBC, the seeds for All for Good were planted by people who advised Barack Obama during the transition period. Two names that circulate: Jonathan Greenblatt, a faculty member at the Anderson School of Management at the University of California at LA, and Sonal Shah, former head of global development at Google.org who currently leads the new White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation. The report also cites Kate Bedingfield, a White House spokeswoman, who apparently said she felt All for Good is “an exciting and innovative idea” and added that the White House is working with the corporation to explore ways to use the tool.
The site is in the process of being transferred to a new non-profit organization called Our Good Works, formed by some of the people who initiated the project. For the moment, the project is hosted and managed by Google, and several of the search and advertising giant’s engineers developed All for Good as a 20-percent project (as widely known, Google lets engineers spend a day a week on projects that interest them).
In the spirit of openness, All for Good is completely open source and lets people log in with a slew of digital identity providers, including Facebook Connect, Google Friend Connect, Yahoo and OpenID. The service also comes with an extensive API that makes it possible for third-party developers to create applications based on data generated by the All for Good community.