Sina makes a big deal out of its enterprise weibo accounts, but for-profit businesses aren’t the only organizations that can get access to their own special platform on Sina Weibo. Sina also runs Gongyi (the name means ‘public interest’), a platform for public interest and charity groups, and since the platform has just been given an update and overhaul, now seems like a good time to review it.
From a regular user perspective, the interface is really intuitive. Large buttons at the top of the homepage make it easy to do what you want to, whether that’s donating money, donating specific items, volunteering to help an organization, participating in charity auctions, or just re-tweeting messages from NGOs and other nonprofits in the hopes that it brings them more attention and donors. There are lots of organizations already signed up, so whether you want to help out poor children, feed tigers, or rescue cute puppies, there’s probably something on Gongyi for you. And it’s nice that the site gives users lots of options beyond just donating money. I’m not sure how valuable retweeting messages really is, but it’s better than nothing, and allowing users to volunteer their time to some organizations is also an excellent option.
The site also encourages generosity with a sort of leaderboard of giving. Angel investor Xue Manzi (also known as Charles Xue; you may remember him from our GMIC coverage) currently holds the number two spot right now, and while it might seem impossible to out-charity a generous millionaire, remember that Gongyi gives points for more than just donating cash.
From an NGO perspective things are also pretty smooth. The signup process is relatively simple, although at present only verified users (with the V next to their name) can sign up. Although I’m not generally a fan of that kind of restriction, it makes perfect sense here as it allows Sina to verify that organizations are who they say they are, and ensures that users aren’t being asked to donate their money to scams. For those legit NGOs that do get signed up, Sina has the same options users get — everything from financial donations to charity auctions — so that nonprofits can choose the kind of campaign that’s right for them.
All in all, I’m very impressed with the new Gongyi weibo platform. This is the sort of thing that I wish Sina would push harder. Enterprise weibo may bring in the big bucks, but it’s platforms like this that can really show people what weibo brings to the table that can benefit society.