A dollar a day: an experiment in giving

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Today marks the beginning of a very simple and potentially very interesting experiment. I'm going to donate a dollar a day to charity and your heart will thank you if you join in.

By Patrick, 20 September 2012

This simple idea hatched after watching Caine’s Arcade, a film by Nirvan Mullick that went viral back in the spring of 2012. 

I'd like to consider myself a generous person (most people would like to consider themselves to be generous people) but I don’t often make online donations. In fact I don’t think I had ever donated online before yesterday. However, yesterday was different. There was something about Craig’s perserverence and passion, Nirvan’s film and the integrity of their project that made me get out my credit card and donate a dollar. It felt good.

I promptly decided to make a one dollar donation every day for a month. Not so much as financial aid but rather as a vote of support: "Hey, I've taken more than a click of a moment to let you know I like what you are doing."

That got me thinking.

  • What if everybody (read an unknown large number of people) did that each day for a month?
  • Which websites would inspire donations?
  • Wouldn’t it be interesting to know which causes people care about and which organisations inspire contributions?

How cool would it be if others joined in? It would make it possible to collect a larger data set and learn about online donations and it is ridiculously easy to do! 

Here’s how to join in and look after your heart:

1. Get your credit card out. Parents please help your children with this one.
2. Think of a cause that you care about.
3. Do a quick search and find an organisation that accepts donations.
4. Donate a dollar, go to https://www.facebook.com/A.Dollar.A.Day.Experiment and post the following with gaps filled: I donated $1 to www.website.org because…  

Update about donations 2, 3 & 4

#2 went to Charity Water, one of the slickest cause sites out there. The process was easy and the follow up confirmed the these guys are on top of their game when it comes to raising funds. They give 100% of your donation to the project and tell the stories in great photographic detail.

#3 went to WikiLeaks. This donation process was nowhere near as smooth. PayPal and the major credit cards are actively trying to cut off the flow of donations. My $1 had to be sent to a "proxy" recipient!

#4 went to the Kalambi community outreach project, a small grassroots initiative in Uganda. They don't have a website but have been using Global Giving to collect an initial $4000 to give 200 orphans and vulnerable children a permanent home.

Comments are super welcome. Share this article and let's find out about what people care about. Come back for updates!

Update about donations 5, 6 & 7

#5 is in the process of going to Leedo Street Children an organisation from Bangladesh who help street children. It had to be sent by bank transfer and so BIC and IBAN numbers where needed which does add time and effort to the process. Nonetheless it is a great cause and they are very responsive on social media.

#6 went Avaaz who in addition to their incredible petition work are now fundraising to start a news service. I can't wait to see that start.

#7 went to Malaria No More UK and was a real pleasure! Their thank you page was fantastic - it feature a video of joyous children and really brought a smile to my face.

Update about donations 8, 9 & 10

#8 went to Volunteer Expeditions who can help you organise a trip to remember, doing anything from volunteering with the homeless to tutoring children in Jamaica. The process was super easy - they have a donate button on their Facebook page and I didn't need to sign up to PayPay. 

#9 was all about making an effective donation. I googled “effective donation” and found an article in The Ecologist by Caroline Fiennes. This led to Innovations for Poverty Action - I was struck by their great messaging and intelligent approach to understanding what works and what doesn't. Their focus is on scaling up the former and raising awareness about the latter.

#10 went to Amnesty International. I wanted to know that my donation was going to do some good and I couldn't think of any organisation with a better CV and AI. Their donation process was easy and I was encouraged to join their news letter, spread the word on social media and get involved with a local cause.

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