Last week I blogged about an Ipod/Toilet paper holder over at Netsquared. So, somehow I'm stuck on the theme of toilet paper holders as gifts. This one records a message or music. I learned about it from the site Changing the Present, a donation portal that also lets you set up a wish list of causes to support in lieu of gifts for the holidays or other occassions. I received a press release from a marketing agency on behalf of this effort, so take it with a grain of salt. Not sure I'm understanding it, but it looks like other donation portals with some glossy marketing.
Nonetheless, I wholeheartedly agree with the concept and philosophy that giving donations to causes is better than giving stuff -- and we've been doing this for years on our own directing people to give gifts to charities we care about. When people ask about holiday gifts - we direct them to the Sharing Foundation, When give gifts, we give to the Sharing Foundation (and a few other causes), and make "in honor of" gifts. The Sharing Foundation sends a personalized, made in Cambodia, thank you card designed by one of the talented orphans we're supporting for high school and art lessons no less!
So, what I wonder is how many people go "cause shopping.?"
Changing the Present has a clever section on their site called The Stupid Gifts Hall of Shame where you can vote or share a picture of a stupid gift you've received. They are still building out the content on the site and there is a growing list of nonprofit recipients.
Peter Dietz has written another article on his micro-philthantrophy site, First-of-Its-Kind, about a service called GiveMeaning, as described by Peter, "another online community that provide a platform for group fundraising over the internet. The website helps networks of small-scale philanthropists develop and fund solutions to pressing social problems."
Peter gives us analysis of the landscape:
Building a community of small-scale philanthropists sounds like a novel idea. The reality is that GiveMeaning faces a crowded marketplace for its concept.
The world of group fundraising websites has already witnessed its first round of consolidation. In November 2006, WhatGoesAround.org announced that it would merge with NetworkforGood, the online giving portal that AOL, Yahoo, and Cisco Systems launched together in 2001.
And then goes on describe the features.
I've come across two personal fundraising campaigns that use the
metaphor of wishes, pay it forward, or gift economy and are
aggressively incorporating social media techniques into their
8 Wishes is a personal fundraising campaign launched by Paul Sanchez who is riding his bike around around the entire United States on behalf of kids with dyslexia (learning disabilities). Paul has 8wishes - he hopes to earn $1 million so that he can give 100 kids each $10,000 to use to go to college. According to Liz Strauss, of the Successful Blog, in the week since his launch, he has received 15,000 hits and raised over $3,000 towards his goal from 123 contributors. His deadline is Jan 10th, so check it out! His campaign video is here.
If you could make one wish for the world, what would it be? That's question the "Gifter Site, a series of experiments in social giving to change the world, is asking. So, here is how it works.
You can post your wish as a comment over The Million Dollar Blog - the Internet Wishing Well, and for each comment they donate $1 to charity. They are challenging people to make it a million dollar blog post, with 1 million comments. Here's a few of the wishes:
I wish that everyone can plant one tree. Big or small..it doesn’t matter…just plant one tree.
Stop the genocide in Darfur, that’d be foremost.
A better world for my children, and the children of everyone around the world.
What's your wish this holiday season?