Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Making it easier and easier to be charitable

The second edition of Giving Carnival (which is a periodic roundup of blog posts about a particular topic) added a couple of new entries to the growing list of new and interesting web-based services for would-be donors to non-profits, in addition to DonorsChoose.

For instance Changing the Present is working on several clever features aimed at encouraging charitable contributions in lieu of holiday or birthday gift-buying, such as a personal registry like a bridal registry. Network for Good is the leading "charity portal" online, where individuals can search for non-profits by keyword or name or type. Global Giving performs the same service, targeted at matching American donors with overseas causes.

iGive is I believe the oldest catalogue site that directs a portion of purchases to non-profits; they are a for-profit enterprise which collects commissions from the participating merchants. Their competition includes Greater Good and, in the United Kingdom, Shop2Give.

Give Meaning attempts to make it easy for individuals to band together, sort of create online giving circles around a specific cause or recipient non-profit. (An essay by the founder describing how he arrived at that notion is here.)

I'm curious what impact professional development directors are perceiving from all this. Are existing checkwriting donors going online, or is it bringing new ones -- has anyone done any hard datagathering yet around questions like that? For that matter does this sort of thing in the long term reduce the market value of salaried fundraising staffers (because it gets easier to fundraise without them) or increase it (because charitable impulses are more and more enabled thereby enlarging the pool of regular small givers from which to try to find future major donors)?

4 comments:

Robert Tolmach said...

It's worth comparing the transaction fees for the three donation portals you list. Of course, the higher the fee, the less of your money reaches the nonprofit you want to support:

ChangingThePresent 3% plus 30 cents;

NetworkForGood 4.75%;

GlobalGiving upwards of 15%

Philanthropist said...

With regard to the above, check out www.GoodBuying.org. It works on a similar principle but the transaction fees are nothing at all because it's run solely by volunteers (who pay the running costs too), so literally everything they make goes to good causes.

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