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Stay informed. Platform Sold And To Be Shutdown

By Patrick Sullivan - June 11, 2014, the Facebook inspired campaign platform for advocacy and fundraising, will soon be no more.

Brigade Media has acquired a controlling stake in Philotic, Inc., the company that owns the Causes. The creation of Brigade, a new effort by Silicon Valley wunderkind Sean Parker, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and others, was announced earlier this year with a $9.5 million investment from Benioff, Parker and angel investor Ron Conway.

Causes, which began life as a Facebook app in 2007, split off from the social network in 2012. It was one of the original 10 Facebook apps and the longest-lasting. According to a blog post on, the platform has 186 million users and has helped to raise more than $48 million for nonprofits since its inception.

“ and campaigns built on the platform will continue to function for now, however the Causes brand and technology will eventually be retired,” according to an announcement by Brigade. A Brigade spokesperson said there is no timeline for the retiring of Causes, but said, “For now, people will still be able to interact with existing campaigns and create new ones.”

“Acquiring Causes, which was focused on the nonprofit space, adds the unique expertise needed to build an infrastructure powerful enough to elevate the voices of citizens and improve the relationship between elected officials and their constituents,” wrote the Brigade team on a blog.

Also included under the Philotic banner is Votizen, a political advocacy platform that Causes acquired last year. Votizen co-founder Jason Putorti will be Brigade’s vice president of design. Votizen, a social network centered around voters, was rolled into Causes upon its acquisition.

Causes CEO Matt Mahan will become CEO of Brigade, and vice president of revenue James Windon will be Brigade’s president. Parker, a co-founder of Causes and Napster and Facebook’s founding president, will step down as Brigade’s interim CEO but remain as chairman.

“The Causes and Votizen executives who are joining the Brigade team bring a unique understanding of the opportunities and challenges associated with civic engagement and advocacy,” said Parker. “Their technical experience and expertise gives us a massive head start in tackling a tremendous challenge.”

Votizen seems to track with Brigade’s mission to “serve as a tool to empower people civically, enabling any person to engage with their representatives in a way that is easy, social and enjoyable,” according to Brigade’s post. Brigade has reportedly been tight-lipped about the nature of its product, but news reports speculate that it could attempt to connect constituents and elected officials on a social network. The product is expected to launch in 2015.

Terms of the deal have not been made public. Some Philotic employees will be laid off. “Because Brigade has a different mission than Philotic, not all employees will be joining Brigade,” said the spokesperson. “As we ramp up, we’re looking for the right mix of engineers, product designers and political strategists who share our vision to build an easy, effective and enjoyable platform that brings political power back to the people.”

“The kind of problems we have — poverty, childhood hunger, violence against women — only get solved when a community of people band together,” said Marnie Webb, CEO at Caravan Studios, a division of TechSoup Global in San Francisco, Calif. “We’re eager to see what Brigade Media has planned and think the integration of Causes can help them start off with the critical mass required to truly make an impact.”


Sponsored Podcasts

Welcome to the Raise & Engage podcast, a filters-off series for nonprofit professionals hosted by Blackbaud's straight-shooting expert Danielle Johnson Vermenton. During this open-mic session, you’ll hear honest advice to help YOU do more for your cause.

Episode 6: The Power of ‘No’ at Work|| daniellejohnson-76

You have a job description, but on any given day, you're probably doing dozens of things outside the scope of that description. Combine that with the challenge of a fast-paced environment and the shifting priorities of funders, colleagues, and board members and it’s easy to fall short of doing your best. By being mindful of your limitations and capacity—and saying “no” when your plate is full—you can actually do more for your cause. In the sixth installment of the Raise and Engage podcast Danielle Johnson and Robin Anderson discuss the power of saying “no” at work.

Episode 5: Professional Development: Getting Un-Stuck|| daniellejohnson-76

In the most recent episode of Raise + Engage, Danielle is back with Brian Reich from little m media to discuss how nonprofit professionals can stay motivated and energized in their day-to-day roles. Brian shares his experience working with nonprofits and the lessons and tips he's learn from and shared with them over the years, including tips for avoiding a professional rut, creating forward momentum in your career and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. If you're considering making a career move or want to ensure you're on the right path, you won't want to miss this inspo-packed episode!

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Episode 4: Apps and Hacks to Stay (Mostly) Sane, is all about tips, tricks and tools for sanity. Blackbaud’s own interactive product marketer, Julia Lenz, joins host Danielle Johnson to share some high tech. (and no tech.) productivity tips to help nonprofit professionals stay sane in the crazy world of philanthropy.

Tune in to hear:

  • Tips for how to spend the first 30 minutes of your day
  • The benefits of 15 minute meetings
  • Why notebooks are still relevant to a successful organization
  • Ideas for better managing your inbox
  • Why you should take lunch outside the box
  • ...and much more!
Don’t forget to visit the #NoFilterNonprofit Hub afterwards to download our newest tip sheet10 Productivity Hacks for Nonprofits.

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff || daniellejohnson-76

Episode 3: Tech. Connection: Solutions, Strategy, and Staff In episode 3 of the Raise + Engage podcast, Danielle Johnson is joined by Chris Geady and William DaSilva, two IT experts in the nonprofit space, to talk technology integration for NPOs: when you need it, when you don’t, and how to do it successfully.

Tune in to hear:

  • When to say NO to integration
  • How to set your strategic plan before even looking at technologies
  • Ways to get your entire team on board
  • The importance of identifying a project lead
  • The RFP process - how it should and should not go
And William shares a story about a nonprofit that may or may not have still been using a typewriter. You don't want to miss this one!

Episode 2: From Socially Awkward to Socially Awesome! || daniellejohnson-76

According to Danielle Johnson, straight-shooting host of the Raise + Engage podcast series, if your staff members aren’t the number one advocates for your cause on social media, you’re failing. In the most recent episode, Danielle is joined by Blackbaud’s own social media guru Madeline Turner to discuss overcoming social struggles and creating a social ambassador program at your organization. This entertaining and insightful duo dishes on the importance of making your social media presence human, making the case for a formal social program to leadership, how University of Michigan turned a one time social media campaign into a long term social program, and how Madeline's mom unknowingly became a social ambassador on #GivingTuesday.

Episode 1: Corporate Culture & Development: Shake It Up! || daniellejohnson-76

In the premiere episode of Raise & Engage, Danielle is joined by three straight-shooting nonprofit rock-stars: Jodi Smith of Sanford Health Systems, Veronica Brown of Chicago Public Library Foundation and Ali Burke of Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation. The group talks organizational culture, problem employees, why its important to celebrate and how to shake things up this year and build a better more authentic team that gets stuff done!


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