New Tool Enables Influencers to Leverage Communities for Good
Glow's CEO Lucas Parry Explains the Power of Tech-Enabled Giving Circles
Devin: What is your superpower?
Lucas: I saw as a 17-year-old, I could do something. As a kid, I didn’t have money. I didn’t have anything else to give but my time. It changed me from the inside out. So, I think, “What is my superpower?” My superpower is that at 17, I began to have a worldview that I can make a difference.
What if Taylor Swift asked her 92 million Twitter followers and 241 million Instagram followers to join her in donating to a cause? That’s the sort of question that inspired Lucas Parry to launch Glow, a tech platform enabling influencers to lead giving circles.
Most people want to give to charity. Some don’t only because they don’t know where to give and lack time to figure it out. Many of us follow the lead of family, friends and influencers in choosing where and how to give.
To help influencers and other circle leaders choose effective nonprofits, Glow conducts “a 35-step check,” Lucas says. “We look at financials; we do a fraud check; we look into the DEI. We look at how they tell stories, how transparent they are in their social media. Then we spit out what we call a ‘Glow score.’”
Lucas wants to ensure that influencers are leading giving circles for the right reasons. “We don’t pay any influencers any money. They don’t get a cut of any of the donations, none of that. So when an influencer starts a circle on Glow, we are simply an extension of their social mission.”
Instead, the focus is on the circle leader’s passion. He says, “Are you passionate about foster care, animal rights? Whatever you’re passionate about, gather your community, give together, vote together.”
Lucas is thinking big. “If we use Matt Damon, for example, he does incredible work with his nonprofits, right? What if he could motivate 100 million people to give a dollar each [monthly]? Think about that for a second. That’s $1.2 billion a year that they could give away as a community.”
He’s also thinking small. “Glow is designed for anybody; anyone can start or join a giving circle. You can start one today and invite your family and friends. It doesn’t need to be big.”
“Just jump in, start a circle, join a circle,” Lucas says. “We’ve got leaderboards on the app. So we make it. We gamify everything. You win points, you join leaderboards, see who’s the most generous, and just have fun being generous.”
You can see the kernel of this business in Lucas’s superpower—learning as a teenager that he could make a difference.
How to Develop Confidence That You Can Make a Difference As a Superpower
Lucas shared the story that has come to define his life:
When I was 17, I ended up in Zambia. I grew up in Sydney, Australia, but I'm 17 years old, and I'm in Zambia for six weeks. I came face to face with the reality of poverty and the way most people live in the world. It was nothing like the way I grew up in middle-class Sydney, Australia.
When I reflect on that time, the first four weeks of my trip, I struggled greatly. Everywhere I turned and looked, my mind was assaulted by the reality of how most people live, and they're forced to live not by any choice of their own. It's just where they were born.
As I fell in love with the people and I saw the joy, and I saw the impact we were able to have as teenagers in building a school, I left that trip—as I flew out of the airport, I remember looking out the window. I made a commitment to myself. I said, “I will spend the rest of my life inspiring people to make a difference in the world.”
This experience influenced every step of Lucas’s career and led to the creation of Glow.
Lucas has an easy, action-based recommendation to help you quickly begin to believe in your ability to make a difference.
Start with this. It will take you 2 minutes. Pick up your phone. Think of somebody who you haven't spoken with for a little while. Just think of someone and be generous with your kindness for one minute. Pick up your phone, send them a text, and just let them know why you appreciate them. That's it. Hit that send.
Guarantee, if you ask yourself how much joy do you feel before the activity and rate yourself from one to ten and then after you hit send, rate yourself on a level of joy between one and ten, you're going to feel much more joy just sending the text.
Then wait. If that person responds, you're going to go through the roof because you're like, “Oh my gosh!” That little moment, that moment of you extending generosity with your kindness is very impactful.
As soon as you see proof that your actions make a difference, your life begins to change. With practice, you can become as convinced as Lucas that you matter and your actions change the world. You can make confidence in your ability to change the world, a superpower that enables you to do just that.