Bruno Barroso, cofounder of Prosas, explains how the digital platform is improving the availability of diverse and qualified data about the social sector.
In March of 2013, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launched a global challenge called “Increasing Interoperability of Social Good Data.” The main goal was to improve the availability of diverse and qualified data about the social sector and to generate knowledge from different data islands.
By that time we had an idea sketched on paper and lots of hours spent on the prototype of a platform that we believed could transform the relationship between philanthropists, social entrepreneurs/NGOs and community members, while generating amazing data about the social sector.
Turning ideas into reality
In June 2015, we launched Prosas. Currently focused on the Brazilian market, the platform combines scalable managerial tools with social network features.
Our main goal is to connect social investors, nonprofits/social entrepreneurs and citizens, offering specific value and tools for each of those stakeholders. In other words, we want to be a Market network for the Social sector.
We connect to these stakeholders through different tools and features:
Social investors (Philanthropists / Grantmakers / Governments): tools for launching personalized grant calls, browsing projects in a structured, centralized database and getting reports from their funded initiatives.
Social Entrepreneurs / NGOs: tools for searching fundraising opportunities, applying for grant calls and generating open reports about their projects.
Citizens: functionalities for searching, following and endorsing projects and organizations in Prosas database.
Our contribution for generating Social Good Data
Historically, the social sector has raised a huge amount of resources from public and private organizations. Each of those funders has its own methods for selecting and monitoring the results of their funded projects and organizations – which includes the usage of their own systems and platforms. By doing that, funders generate thousands of data islands that – if shared – could generate valuable information about project outcomes, community needs and social entrepreneurs (such as location, areas of interest, organization profile).
Imagine a world where all those data islands were available and centralized in one single place. That is what we want to achieve with Prosas! We are talking about transparency, sharing practices and efficiency for the social area. Instead of projects and organizations generating data in their specific systems, our goal is to be a hub where private funders and government agencies can interoperate and generate a common database for Social Good.
In Prosas, each funder can customize their own processes for social investment through a private interface, but generate data that will feed a single, public database. For example: if an NGO applies for a grant call through Prosas or is selected by a funder, the organization is automatically subscribed to the network and will be able to send proposals to other funders that eventually join the platform. Even if a funder does not select that NGO in a grant call, the information submitted to the system is kept in the database.
Beyond the creation of a robust and structured database, funders and nonprofits/social organizations have additional benefits including increased access to their projects, to investments policies, and to grant calls. Every new grant call in Prosas contributes to the database’s growth – which makes it scalable.
Citizens have free access to Prosas and play a strategic role in the platform. By endorsing the most impactful projects and organizations, they create a ranking of the best profiles in the database. In the future, we intend to promote the interaction between funders, organizations and citizens in order to provide feedback from those who have received the service.
By bringing stakeholders together in a single online community, we have the power to generate fantastic – and currently nonexistent – data for Social Good (initially in Brazil followed by a subsequent global rollout). Prosas allows us to understand:
- Where NGOs and social businesses are located.
- Where new organizations can be created or strengthened in order to respond to specific social needs.
- How resources for the social area are distributed.
- Where the gaps between community needs and funding exist.
- What are the most endorsed initiatives by the community.
Our potential to generate social good data will continuously grow as the community expands. Today we are already making an impact in Brazil’s Third Sector, Prosas is the first structured database in Brazil for local and international fundraising opportunities in all social segments. We have collected and published over 800 grant calls since June 2015 and there are currently 120 active calls available to users. We will reach over 100K page views in April 2016.
Where are we now?
Brazil is a country of great proportions, geographically and in the Social Sector: there are over 290,000 NGOs,130 major investors, including national companies and foundations and multinationals such as IBM, Accenture and Nestlé, invest more than US$ 750 million every year in Brazil. Federal and State Governments provide tax benefits for companies to invest in Culture, Sports and Health-related projects. The Brazilian Federal Government transfers more than US$ 2.5 billion to NGOs every year.
Prosas was launched in June 2015 and accomplished the following results:
- More than US$ 2.5 million distributed to NGOs through four grant calls in Prosas (and an additional 24 grant calls expected to be available in 2016).
- Grant calls launched by major Brazilian companies from the Insurance, Healthcare and Mining industries.
- More than 3,000 user subscriptions.
- More than 700 NGOs / social business subscriptions, which can be searched in the platform by different criteria (location, type, area of interest).
- More than 16,000 followers on Prosas’ Facebook Page – a known reference for Brazilian NGOs for finding fundraising opportunities.
Furthermore Prosas was selected as one of Cubo Coworking’s resident startups – a pioneer initiative in Brazil to promote digital entrepreneurship headed by Itaú, a major Brazilian bank, and Redpoint eVentures, an early stage internet based Venture Capital firm originally from the Silicon Valley.
What do we want to achieve?
We are aware that Brazil, our pilot market, brings great challenges to our business. Commercially we face the difficulties of the B2B Market – especially being a startup trying to pitch an innovative product to major companies in the country. An even harder task is to expand Prosas to government agencies that could use our platform as a management and transparency tool for social investments.
When it comes to product development, we still have a lot to evolve and new features to release – such as modules for crowdfunding, project management, volunteering and suppliers to the social area.
The Brazilian market is a great passport to the world, and we understand that there are gaps in the relationships between private funders, government, social entrepreneurs and citizens all over the world. We are excited to build a global community for the social sector and continue to draw inspiration from the Markets For Good community.
We are only in Portuguese so far, but we plan to launch our English version in 2017. We encourage you to explore our website and invite any feedback.
Thank you to Bruno Barroso, cofounder of Prosas, for sharing his insight and knowledge on creating data for social good through Prosas. Be sure follow Prosas on Facebook. Prosas will be launching an updated site this month (previewed in the above photos) and keep an eye out for their English site in 2017.
To stay up to date with the latest Markets For Good articles and news, sign up to our newsletter here. Make sure that you are also following us on Twitter.