Since launching GoodCrowds, a number of people have asked: What is ‘crowdsourcing for good’? Like many other questions about crowdsourcing, there is no simple answer because the “good” in crowdsourcing for good can be so many different things.
Certainly “good” can be a social good, which itself has all sorts of meanings. Investopedia defines it as ”A good or service that benefits the largest number of people in the largest possible way”, but I’m not enamored with that. There are lots of small social goods that make a difference. Even Wikipedia doesn’t have much clarity to offer in terms of a definition (it redirects to “common good”) But I do like the definition offered by a student at Stanford business school who participated in a class guest-taught by MC Hammer about social media and social good. His thought is simply “how we help others”.
Now that may be a bit too broad, but I don’t think so. That’s how I look at both “GoodCrowds” and “Crowdsourcing for Good”. The “good” can apply to many different audiences. It can be good for society, good for a targeted group of people, good for an organization and/or good for employees, members or citizens. But the bottom line is that people are always the focus of the good, and we get there by acting collaboratively, not individually. And as a result we can be more effective, do more good, and the sponsoring organization will almost always benefit.
So now my definition: Crowdsourcing for Good is how organizations can tap into the collective wisdom, experience and knowledge of their communities to help others, and themselves.