Give InKind social platform can help people help others during the holidays

The website allows users to coordinate support for people enduring difficult life situations, including medical crises, natural disasters, and loss of loved ones.

Video: The apps you need to survive in a natural disaster Now is your chance to add these smartphone apps to your device before Irma hits.

Upon receiving a preseed investment totaling at $1.5 million, Give InKind is ready to help people enduring difficult life events this holiday season and beyond. The beta version of the online site was released in September 2016, but the social platform opened to the public in January of this year. 

"Give InKind is a social platform for coordinating support through what we've been calling 'life disruptions,'" said Laura Malcolm, Give InKind CEO and founder. "That's everything from having a new baby, to an acute medical situation, cancer diagnosis, loss of a loved one, etc."
 
Many people feel helpless when watching loved ones go through a crisis, but Give InKind gives people a place to help at no cost. Users simply sign up, create a page, share, and receive help. 

Competing websites only solve parts of the issue, like Meal Train that helps coordinate meal delivery, but Give InKind addresses all mediums of help. 

 "Give InKind's core service is people creating a page—a campaign. You can think about the same way you see a GoFundMe page, except instead of just being for financial donations, a Give InKind page allows people to coordinate a care calendar. That's for getting things like signups from meal drop-offs, childcare, pet care, rides to the doctor—-all the things where people want to sign up to help," Malcolm said. 

SEE: 10 websites that can help you find your next job (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Along with a care calendar, the site also has a native wishlist where people can put things like gift cards or grocery deliveries. People can also connect their PayPal or GoFundMe account to coordinate fundraising, Malcolm said. 

"We saw a community in Appleton, Wisconsin, use Give InKind to coordinate 45 days of meals for a grieving fire department; three meals a day for 45 days, and they had about a hundred different people sign up to feed the fire department," Malcolm said. 

Within the site, Give InKind features specific editorial pieces catered to the cause that help people support their loved ones. "If you have set up a Give InKind page for a sick child, you get really specific content about how to [help] siblings of sick children, or how to support a mom with a baby in the NICU," Malcolm said. "And that's all very different from a family who has lost a teenager to suicide, or if you're supporting a military family through deployment. We think that it helps soften the conversation for people—-it's hard when you're in that position."

The inspiration behind Give InKind 

Malcolm said the idea for Give InKind came to her husband after enduring a tragedy of their own. 

"My husband and I lost our first baby when I was eight months' pregnant. It was very unexpected," Malcolm said. "We lived in L.A., my family was in Seattle, and his family was in New York. They all wanted to help, and they were trying to use one of these meal sign-up sites. Then they were trying to figure out, what restaurants did we want to take out from? How could they deliver us groceries? How could they get us a house cleaner?" 

Everyone wanted to help her, but no one knew how to from afar. Malcolm saw this disconnect and realized she could create a centralized place for people to do that. 

What started as a solution to a problem is now a website with 30,000 monthly users, a number that has increased by 20% since the site's release in January, Malcolm said. 

While tragedies occur year-round, Give InKind can be particularly useful during the holiday. As families and friends come together to celebrate the holidays, people have the opportunity to have much-needed conversations, Malcolm said. 

"Someone in our circle could probably use extra support at any given gathering," Malcolm said. "Someone's having a baby, someone's getting older, etc. It's the time that conversations are happening around with families about, 'How are we going to think about the next year? What are we going to do for the next until we're together again?'"

"I think that the time that we're together with family is a really great time to have the conversations that around the things that Give InKind is trying to solve for," Malcolm said. 

Give InKind is another example of the positive ways technology can be used, and will continue to be used.

For more, check out Traveling for the holidays? Avoid these 5 tech mistakes on TechRepublic. 

Also see 

care-inkind.jpg

Image: iStockphoto/Daisy-Daisy