Charitytube started at the Harvard Faculty Club in 2011 as a group of alumni from the Harvard Law School, Harvard School of Education, Harvard Business School, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School and Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government had a brainstorming session about a better, easier way for Harvard alumni to find their dream charities to which to donate--and to make this process fun and enjoyable.
Out of these discussions at the Harvard Faculty Club grew CharityTube, a potentially revolutionary concept of allowing Harvard alumni to "CharityShop" by viewing videos of charities based on donor area of interest, selecting the desired dream charity, and making a donation online, directly to the selected charity.
CharityTube launched in January 2014 as a "CharityShopping" web site for our 325,000 Harvard alumni (with a combined net worth of over $3 trillion, including 69 billionaires, 7,300 centimillionaires, and 78,000 multimillionaires--and don't forget the 23,000 CEO's who help direct corporate donations).
CharityTube is a virtual organization with our staff located throughout the U.S., often working in their home offices. Our symbolic office is the Harvard Faculty Club, where we started and where we still meet on occasion, but CharityTube fits the mold of the typical virtual company that is so common today. And the virtual approach allows us to totally avoid the fixed "brick and mortar" overhead that would otherwise consume so much of our limited resources.
Note also that although CharityTube is comprised of Harvard alumni, we do not work with or coordinate our activities with the Harvard Alumni Association. The reason is that our entire purpose is to facilitate Harvard (and now other university) alumni to "CharityShop" to find their dream charity and make donations--and that dream charity may or may not be Harvard. Since the Harvard Alumni Association is dedicated to getting donations strictly for Harvard, and not the hundreds of other charities we feature on CharityTube, we felt it best to operate as a separate, independent organization from the Harvard Alumni Association and Harvard University. Our purpose is to increase donations to all of our listed charities, not just Harvard.
Although our beginning at the Harvard Faculty Club was a combined effort of many Harvard alumni, the driving force behind CharityTube is Ken Shellan who is our president and CEO. Ken (Harvard Law, J.D., 1980; Stanford Phi Beta Kappa, B.A., 1977) volunteers his time to teach a class on social entrepreneurship to Harvard undergraduate and graduate students, a topic about which Ken is very familiar as he has started twenty-three social entrepreneurial ventures since his graduation from Harvard Law.
Ken is former Chairman of the United Nations Internet Committee for NGOs/Nonprofits, with Ken coordinating UN activities with 10,000 NGOS/Nonprofits around the world--with a focus on helping the nonprofits increase their donations. This UN Chairmanship got Ken thinking about fundraising approaches for charities, and this eventually turned into CharityTube.
Ken also started an On-Demand TV network for Time Warner called "Democracy on Demand," allowing citizens to quickly and easily obtain voting information via the On-Demand TV network. (And the creation of this On-Demand TV network also got Ken thinking about creating an On-Demand TV Network for CharityTube, allowing millions of citizens to easily "CharityShop.")
CharityTube has proved so popular with our Harvard alumni that we have now expanded to more than 100 university alumni groups.
We Currently employ a four-pronged promotional program to get word out about CharityTube to Harvard University alumni:
Promotional Prong 1: targeted email to the biggest Harvard alumni charity donors
Our primary marketing tool to get word out to Harvard University alumni about CharityTube is targeted email, with our sending 5,000 emails each month via our proprietary opt-in email lists to alumni who have been the biggest donors to charities over the past three years.
Our proprietary email lists allows us to precisely target the biggest alumni donors and link them to CharityTube.
We plan to increase this targeted emailing to the biggest alumni donors in the future to 10,000 emails per month.
Promotional Prong 2: Harvard alumni print and online publications
CharityTube runs announcements in Harvard print and online publications inviting Harvard alumni to view our web site so as to find their Dream Charity.
Harvard has a plethora of alumni publications from its many departments and schools so as to provide us with a broad array of advertising options each month.
Promotional Prong 3: Harvard alumni email newsletters
A superb method of contacting Harvard alumni is with the email newsletters that Harvard sends to thousands of alumni each month.
CharityTube runs our promotional announcements in these email newsletters on an ongoing basis.
Promotional Prong 4: Alumni Clubs & Shared Interest Groups
Harvard has over 250 alumni clubs and shared interest groups. Our third promotional prong consists of working with these groups to encourage their members and their families to use CharityTube.