January 8, 2013
YourCauseOrMine combines your passion with your passion. It’s a dating site that matches people based on the causes they support, like the environment or women’s rights. “Get involved and maybe…get involved,” it proclaims.
The site has all the trimmings of a normal dating site, with boxes to check for body type, religion, and whether you want children. But adding the cause component makes a big difference: instead of letting you connect over an awkward coffee, YourCauseOrMine suggests local volunteer events to attend together.
Besides minimizing the awkwardness, this kind of interaction can make for a more genuine “getting to know you.” When your date says “I’m very passionate about animal rights,” you might wonder if they’re trying to impress you; when they spend three hours at a dog shelter, that’s less likely.
In other words, your date gets to see your true, vibrant self in action. Hence the double entendres above; you put your heart and soul into the causes you support, and the same passion and emotions are tied up with love.
“If you’re out volunteering and interacting with people, it’s hard to be as guarded and as shielded,” says cofounder and CEO Fred Roby. He coaches youth sports, and actually connected with his wife (and cofounder) partly because of their shared interest in volunteering.
YourCauseOrMine matches you based on your stated interests, as well as your activity on the site: what profiles you view, whom you message, and what events you attend. Roby, a former senior manager at MySpace, helped develop the algorithms behind MySpace’s newsfeed, and he’s using some of the same principles with YourCauseOrMine.
The other side effect of focusing on causes is that the people who sign up tend to be serious, weeding out those just looking for casual dating or hookups.
But gaining critical mass is always a challenge for dating sites. Roby hopes to partner with nonprofits, who can encourage their members to participate. Because YourCauseorMine has such specific cause categories – from gay rights to farming to social justice – it can target specific groups of people and market to them directly.
And the marketing should be straightforward: Find passionate people. Skip the awkward small talk. And if worst comes to worst, instead of wasting $50, you just did some extra volunteer work.
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