In 2016, when the world felt like an entirely different place, Jordan Hewson launched a platform called Speakable. It was meant to let news readers take action on a cause or issue in the very moment they cared most: while reading a news article about it. The company partnered with publishers and NGOs to deliver an action button, right on the publisher’s website.
Skip forward to today, and people have become far more proactive about the causes they care about. That’s why Hewson is launching a new product called actionable, a library of actions mapped across dozens of causes, giving the user a clear view into how they can do something about the things they care about most.
Though donations are an option across the platform, there are other methods by which users can take action, including volunteering, contacting your representatives, and signing petitions.
“We were founded before the 2016 election,” said Hewson. “And Speakable was based on the hypothesis that if we didn’t make action easy, people wouldn’t do it. But so much has changed, politically and socially, that people are really breaking down the doors to find out ways that they can help in this moment that we’re in. So we really wanted to be able to provide our users with a platform where they can proactively seek out things that they want to do and deepen their community experience.”
Issues on the platform include Education, Equal Rights, Environment, Health, Migration, Politics, Poverty, Racial Justice and more. When a user clicks on an issue, actionable breaks the results down into the type of action the user might take, from donating to volunteering to signing petitions. The platform also drills down into the specific mission of the organization to give users a clear look at how they’re spending their resources.
When Speakable launched, it offered its services for free in the hopes of scaling up rapidly. Today, the platform charges a 3 percent service fee for donations made through the platform, but Hewson doesn’t see that as the company’s primary revenue generator.
Rather, Speakable is partnering with brands to sponsor action buttons for their own purpose-based initiatives. Hewson explains that might take the form of a matching campaign or sponsoring the ability for you to reach out to your legislator on a certain issue, giving the publishers another way to generate revenue, as well as Speakable, while scaling campaigns and initiatives on behalf of the brand partners.
The company is currently partnered with about 90 publishers and, via an API, aims to list all the non-profits that exist in the States.
Interestingly, actionable doesn’t necessarily rank or curate the NGOs on its platform in an effort to maintain neutrality among non-profits, according to Hewson.
Speakable has raised $2.5 million since inception. It has also powered 10 million actions, with the majority of those actions coming in 2020, with 5.2 million actions taken this year. Just this past week, in fact, Speakable facilitated more than $1.3 million in donations in a single day to Feeding America in partnership with the TODAY show.
The team is about 15 people. Sixty percent identify as women at the female-founded company, with 20 percent identifying as BIPOC and 10 percent identifying as LGBTQI+.