In 2002, Grassroots.org was formed by a small group of internet entrepreneurs who realized that they could use the knowledge and experience that had made them successful for charitable efforts. Their idea was simple: Give away $10,000 of free technology tools and services to ten thousand nonprofits every year, for a total savings to charities of $100 million per year. This was an ambitious goal for a start-up organization!
In 2003, Grassroots.org began offering its first service: free web hosting, to qualified 501c-3 nonprofit organizations throughout the United States. Approximately 100 new nonprofits joined in its first year.
In 2006, our organization surpassed 500 members, adding volunteer web design and search engine optimization to our free tools. A survey of our members showed they needed specialized business expertise and knowledge but could not afford the costs of business consultants, so we launched a “Social Venture Consulting Program” in partnership with The Smith School of Business, University of Maryland. This program offers free MBA consulting services from graduate students to our member nonprofit organizations. (To date, 300 MBA students have assisted more than 80 charitable organizations with business consulting, strategic planning, etc. and six additional universities have joined our partnership to help nonprofits across the country.)
In 2008, our membership grew to 2000 organizations and we added a website builder, graphic design, language translation and virtual office to our free tools. Our annual survey of our members told us that the economic crisis made it hard to keep staff on board to handle program demand and that volunteers were needed. In response, we started interns.org and volunteercenter.com to recruit willing individuals who would donate their time and expertise to our member charities.
By 2012, we had more than doubled our membership, passing the “halfway to GOAL mark” with over 5,700 nonprofit organizations, 5,400 volunteers and 18 business sponsors providing time, technology and services to our nationwide membership. Grassroots.org adds approximately 120 nonprofit organizations and 100 new volunteers every month and has most recently added an online marketplace for charity and fundraising tools to help nonprofits cultivate new donors.
Our ten-year history of service and growth put us in a unique position to provide useful solutions in this sector. We practice what we preach and operate at a minimal cost using technology to manage our growing nonprofit membership and free technology solutions. We focus on nonprofit organizations, offering free technology and business services available through our Grassroots Online Community and Nonprofit Toolbox. We currently serve over 5,700 nonprofits in the United States! (Note: Our membership is 100% free and is necessary to verify IRS status and to match organizations with tools, business resources and volunteers.)