Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Give a Little, Help a Lot

By Courtney Carey

In hopes of bringing out the altruistic side of people, the online e-commerce business, PayPal, has recently partnered with a site similar to Groupon called Philanthroper. Like Groupon, Philanthroper sends out daily emails to their database notifying the public, not about a discount or sale, but instead about a new or relevant non-profit organization.

Every day, a new non-profit is highlighted and Philanthroper users are asked to donate exactly $1 – no more and no less. The theory behind the act of giving only a dollar is that when a large group of people do a small act of goodness, there is potential for a huge impact. More than just collecting money for charity, the site hopes to inspire people to take on an attitude of giving and make charity a habit instead of a random occasion. If the site can inspire even a portion of the 98 million PayPal users, it would be a huge success.

Philanthroper does not collect any fees, nor does it charge the non-profit organizations to be featured. Due to having to process international credit card fees, PayPal gets 10% of every transaction. Even though 10% seems to be a lot, they make the donating process extremely simple and also heavily assist in matching a large portion of donations.

In my opinion, micro-donations can be extremely effective. While websites such as Philanthroper might not change the mindset of people right away, it serves as a constant reminder to make charitable acts a part of everyday life. Just think – one dollar today will buy you about 1/3 of a tall Starbucks Latte. If people made it a regular habit to give up that sip of coffee and donate that dollar to charity instead, the impact could be huge.

Courtney Carey is Manager of Social Media at Maroon PR. Contact her at

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