What product/market fit might look like for charities

The concept of product/market fit was created by Andy Rachleff, from Benchmark Capital, and Don Valentine, from Sequoia Capital. And then popularized by venture capitalist Marc Andreessen. This means the concept has a very specific context and history, which makes it slightly problematic for other contexts.

With that said, let’s see how the concept might be applied to a charity context.

Product/market fit means being in a good market with a product that can satisfy that market

– Marc Andreessen

In a charity setting, the dynamics of product/market fit are very different.

The market isn’t made up of customers who are or aren’t willing to pay for the product, which means that willingness can’t be used as a signal of fit. For charities, the market is three-sided with the user, the funder and the charity. A good market would be one where the people are facing a significant problem that funders want to support solutions to.

Charities tackle wicked problems. Even the most successful products are only ever a small part of solving wicked problems, which means the product can’t provide clear signals of how well it is satisfying a market need.

Product/market fit is an important concept for charity product management, but it needs a lot more work to understand it properly.