I plan to participate in "Buy Nothing Day," on November 23. Mostly because I tend to simply give donations in honor of friends and family to my favorite causes, the Sharing Foundation and Creative Commons. And I've also used the "Changing the Present" to make a donation to a charity and have received "virtual gifts" via Changing the Present on Facebook.
But there are times when I do need go shopping and purchase a real life gift. I try to follow Nick Booth 's advice: "Shop for A Cause." And, if I still had dogs, I might consider buying them a little doggy treat in support of Humane Society.
Shopping for charity isn't new. Some malls and stores organize events during the holidays and there have been online shopping for charity sites. A new site called MAATIAM, where "every consumer is a philanthropist and every purchase creates a donation," has recently launched. Maatiam (pronounced MAT-tee-em) derives its name from the ancient Egyptian symbol, Maat, that represented truth, balance, justice and
On the site, you can support your favorite charity when you shop online at no cost. It is free to sign up and you select the online sites where you shop and designate a charity from the GuideStar database. What's nice is that isn't limited to holiday shopping, it is year round. And, all of your travel expenses that you purchase online are eligible (from their partners.)
They have a donation estimator online so you can see how much of your purchasing power gets contributed to charity. So, let's say that you spend $3,000 on work and vacation travel expenses and maybe $1,500 for other online purchases (like office supplies, books, flowers, etc). A total of $105 would be contributed to your charity. Now, that doesn't seem like month, but if you told all your friends or you promoted this to your supporters, every little bit could add up. The donation estimator also tells you what your donation will purchase for an organization.
If you are a nonprofit, you need to register to receive your funds. Other questions you might have about signing up and fees are answered in the nonprofit FAQ.
I suspect this site is targeting donors who do not frequent social networking sites because I don't see a social media connection here. If you follow Nick Booth's advice, where do you shop online for a cause? If you're a nonprofit, what are the secrets to getting your supporters to use services like this?