Saturday, January 27, 2007

More direct giving services, and some caveats

In addition to DonorsChoose which I wrote about on Wednesday, there are at least a couple other examples of new organizations using the web to let donors choose exactly what project their small checks go to.

Modest Needs does the same thing with individual families that DonorsChoose does with teachers or students: families describe their immediate needs and donors pick and choose. The mission aim is what used to be called the "working poor" as well as folks with specific disabilities, so the lead goal expressed is "to prevent otherwise financially self-sufficient individuals and families from entering the cycle of poverty."

(I wonder though if Modest Needs doesn't actually demonstrate the limitations of this philanthropic concept...how is a well-meaning individual donor supposed to tell which requests are truly authentic? Which donees are truly "willing to work but temporarily unable to do so"? The value-added of trained professional staffs to vet and prioritize needs might become more apparent to a donor who's tried Modest Needs.)

And then MissionFish is enabling charitable impulses on the part of eBay sellers. The challenge here might be how complex the process inherently is -- a program that requires a large flow chart to explain itself seems relatively unlikely to really catch on.

So neither of these two seems as likely to gain traction as DonorsChoose, for different reasons.

62 comments:

Tom @ GiveMeaning.com said...

The originator in the direct-giving (to specific charitable projects) is GiveMeaning.com which operates in both Canada and the US but often fails to get mentioned in the round-up of sites doing innovative work online (I suppose we need to look into a US publicist).

Cheers,

Tom

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