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Charity Match

MFG Archive, Profiles

Jeff Zias at Intuit showcases the development of a new app to promote great giving.


Collaboration often drives the best of outcomes, and a recent partnership across three diverse sectors — nonprofit, industry and government — has resulted in the new prototype “Charity Match.”


Here at Intuit, one of our core products is Mint, an online tool to manage your money, pay your bills and track your credit score. When we sat down with Victoria Vrana, Greg Amrofell and Michael Diederich from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Intentional Futures, this collaboration lead to innovation, and Charity Match was conceived.


As a prototype app, Charity Match gives Mint users a list of recommended charities, based on their past spending habits and budgeting behaviors. Building on our initial collaboration, Intuit invited the Gates Foundation, Intentional Futures and GuideStar to an Incubator Jam in Menlo Park California to prototype the idea.


Here’s the hypothesis our combined team worked to address:

Corporate Incubators, using their tools, methodologies, support structures and employees’ unstructured time, can help organizations focus on social innovation and help people in a measurable way.


Our combined team focused on building a prototype for this mobile application called Mint Charity Match. Connecting a user’s Mint data to the Charity Match mobile app, users see a list of recommended charities (including charity’s star ratings) that match the user’s taste for charitable donation.




The idea for this app came from Intentional Futures, a Seattle-based innovation studio focusing on data and technology for social good. Based on user insights many people wish that giving to the best and most impactful charities were as easy as selecting a new coffee maker (for example).

“We kept our mind on the people making more informed, more personalized decisions about charitable giving.”

After discussing the opportunity and finding that a couple of Intuit Mint-division employees were excited about the idea, the cross-sector team inlcuding Elangovan Shanmugam from Intuit, and Jeremy Beasley, Matthew Giuliari, and Michael Diederich, from Intentional Futures, got together to focus on testing the hypothesis and enabling users to make a better informed donation choice.


Some of the design principles we were able to apply that proved most advantageous were:


  1. Start with the end in mind. We kept our mind on the people making more informed, more personalized decisions about charitable giving. Additionally, with the vision of more-informed giving in mind, we were able to imagine an improved overall “giving eco-system” where the better-run, higher-impact nonprofits get more donations. This possible shift to a results-based meritocracy was motivational for the team.
  2. It’s all about the passion. Innovators who are tapping into their passion and pursuing goals that resonate with their own life get the BEST results! The commitment, dedication and energy is often contagious. Working on Charity Match during our Incubation Jam was no exception. Pursuing this new and possibly helpful idea, while paying close attention to the design and details that will make the application usable, fun and easy to use, was an amazing experience.


Please check out the video below to see the key players and the approach we’ve taken so far:



With the big vision in mind, and an energized team, we expect our next stage of progress to accelerate now in the New Year.


Moving forward, we will further develop the prototype to the point where we can give it to cohorts of active Mint users and see what happens. With a focus on measuring actual behavior, and all the analytics built into the app, we except to learn fast, iterate and improve the app to the point that it moves the needle for charitable giving. We look forward to seeing the progress and keeping you updated.

Many thanks to Jeff Zias for this example of cross-sector collaboration to promote and enhance great giving. We look forward to further updates on Charity Match in the future, but for now, you can follow their innovation team, the Intuit Labs site, Intuit Labs on Twitter, or check our their blog.


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