About a year ago, Mark Wilson launched Philanthroper, a site that has been dubbed the “Groupon for Good.” Like other daily deal sites, Philanthroper sends out a daily email featuring a charity and their mission. But instead of asking you to buy something, they ask you to simply donate a dollar or more to the featured cause.
The founders say that people were initially skeptical toward this business model — how much difference could a dollar really make? A lot, it turns out. At the end of last year, Philanthroper reached $100K in donations and has featured over 100 charities.
Here are some ways these donations have helped make an impact so far:
- Fed people 54,347 meals (2800 were sent to Japan after the earthquake)
- 8925lbs of food rescued from the garbage
- $22,500 in medical supplies to Japan
- 14,460 trees planted
- 1770 diapers
- 2,461 people have a year of clean drinking water
- 2,294 hospital visits, 351 days of AIDS treatments and 7000 home visits for Ugandans with HIV
- 6900 minutes of talktime to troops calling home
- $21,900 in school supplies
- 526 endangered baby turtles rescued
- 2334 days of education for kids
- 200 pairs of pajamas and 607 pairs of socks
- 6900 minutes of art classes
- $2560 in books to children
- 11,385 immunizations (9650 children immunized against polio, 1675 other immunizations, 265 cats vaccinated against rabies, too)
- 569 sessions of therapy from women suffering from abuse
- 5775 women now have family planning options
- Offset the carbon of 598 iPhones
Philanthroper is turning out to be gamechanger in the future of online giving, attracting new small-scale Philanthropers every day and spreading awareness around a large variety of causes. What they are doing has never been done before, and figuring out how to make it possible for people to donate small amounts of money was not easy.
Founder Mark Wilson says: “For decades, groups like the Salvation Army have been able to leverage the power of tiny donations — just some pocket change here or there — that becomes incredibly powerful once all of those little red buckets are poured into a single pot. You’d think that, online, this idea would be even easier. But it’s actually far, far more challenging. Collecting small amounts of money is surprisingly expensive. And how do you make donating online feel just as impulsive as it is when you’re walking down the street? Make no mistake, it’s THE problem of our nonprofit generation. And I think that this first $100,000 proves that, yes, our system is a promising part of the solution. Giving on Philanthroper is incredibly addictive. And it scales.”
Philanthropy has traditionally been a pastime of the wealthiest 1%, but those tables seem to be turning. You don’t have to be rich to be a Philantropher.
“This isn’t about any one person,” says Wilson. “It’s not a celebrity’s charity (though plenty of celebrities have kindly tweeted about us). You don’t see our mugshots on the site, taking all the credit with a smug wink. Nothing about the site is about us; it’s about you and the groups you can discover who are doing extremely awesome things in the world, every single day.”
Perhaps living in such a hyper-connected society has made us more aware of the challenges faced by people all over the world. Helping others makes us feel good about ourselves and gives us an increased sense of purpose. Giving, it seems, is far more rewarding than taking.
Wilson agrees and is very excited of the feedback he receives from his army of Philanthropers. “I’ve received letters from people thanking us because they’re unemployed in this economy, and while they don’t have much money, they still want to give back. Isn’t that incredible? They love that they can donate $1 and know it’s helping someone else, often in a very tangible way, like giving them fresh water for a year or buying them a critical vaccine.”
Perhaps it’s time to embrace your inner Philanthroper. Every little bit counts.