The most important question that we should ask ourselves is “what are we doing for other people?” Some of life’s greatest satisfaction comes from helping others as one of our strongest traits as humans is our capacity for compassion. This is where Alberta based startup GozAround comes in, a social network that connects those in need of help and those willing to lend a hand.
“We are often most fulfilled when we forget ourselves and focus on others,” says GozAround founder Ben Block. “When we come to look back on all that we have done in life, we will get more satisfaction from the joys that we have brought into other people’s lives than we will from the times that we out-did or defeated them.”
GozAround is centered around the idea that “what GozAround, comes around.” GozAround allows individuals and volunteer organizations to post and respond to help requests and formal volunteer opportunities, making it quicker and easier to get involved in your community. These connections include both “peer-to-peer” assistance directly between individuals or participation in formal volunteer opportunities with non-profits and community groups.
HOW IT WORKS
Upon registration users receive their first GozAround points. They can begin by posting a request for help themselves, offering those points as a thank you, or instead start by helping others, earning additional points for themselves.
Alongside these “peer-to-peer” acts of service (directly between individuals) are formal volunteer opportunities posted by organizations including non-profits and community groups. For these organizations the site will serve a means of volunteer recruitment as well as a low-cost recognition and reward program.
Accumulating points targets various psychological motivators for our users. First, the points, and the completed tasks that generate them, serve as a form of social capital. As users earn more points their ranking increases, tracked by city, state/province, and the world. This leaderboard model encourages friendly competition and repeated use. Alternatively, if users are more reward oriented, points can be saved and redeemed for a variety of items ranging from simple gift cards to once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.
GozAround can be thought of as a loyalty program for making the world a better place.
HOW CAN VOLUNTEER ORGANIZATIONS BENEFIT?
GozAround offers organizations the ability to advertise volunteer opportunities to a community uniquely interested in getting involved. However, unlike many other volunteer sites, GozAround is completely free to join and post with no “premium” or restricted features.
In addition to our no-cost recruitment model, what makes GozAround unique is the ability to recognize and reward volunteers. Recognition may be provided simply by verifying individual’s involvement on GozAround which may be tracked by the volunteer, viewed by others on their profile and shared on the volunteer’s Facebook page (optional). This process provides recognition of the volunteer both on GozAround and within their own personal social network, encouraging on-going involvement and increasing awareness of your volunteer opportunities.
Volunteer organizations are often challenged to create affordable yet meaningful reward programs to encourage and thank volunteers. Gift cards may be valued by the volunteers, but are costly in any significant amount. Alternatives such as branded merchandise can be cost effective (depending on the chosen item) but may be of inferior perceived value. To address this GozAround offers a program where organizations may purchase reward points to be distributed to volunteers. By accumulating points users increase their ranking on the site, save up and redeem their points for rewards in the GozAround store, or offer them to other users as a thank you for peer-to-peer volunteer assistance. This can be thought of as a “frequent flyer” program for volunteerism.
The cost of the point program can be quite minimal as it is entirely at your discretion how many points to award to each volunteer and how often. In this way, the program can be adapted to differing levels of involvement and to accommodate any budget. With the added non-monetary social capital our points will carry, your organization will be able to offer a valuable “thank you” beyond that of a small gift card, branded item or thank you card. The cost of participation is entirely variable, starting at as little as $0.40 per reward.
COMPANY & FOUNDER
GozAround Inc. was founded in Edmonton, Alberta by Ben Block, an attorney with a heart, who set out in 2013 to build a central hub for community service. Believing it needed to be easier to find ways to give back to your community, or to find someone to lend a hand if you are in need, the GozAround concept was born.
Ben has over 10 years of entrepreneurial experience gained in a number of industries including web design and marketing. Following the sale of his multimedia design business in 2009 Ben practiced as a lawyer in Edmonton, Alberta, while still fostering his passion for business and community. Ben was once praised as an award winning “behind the scenes” contributor to community service, and has since participated as a volunteer ranging from a local soup kitchen to an overseas housing project in Kyrgyzstan. His day-to-day passion for helping others served him well in his legal practice, and is something Ben hopes to encourage the same on a bigger scale through the GozAround community.
Founder – Ben Block