Jun 29, 2009

Making Philanthropy More Personal: your thoughts?

Did you see this article in the Seattle Times today? What are your thoughts?

Microsoft veterans aim to make philanthropy more personal

Microsoft veterans are launching two Seattle nonprofits aimed at encouraging a new generation of philanthropists by using mobile phones, social networking and online connections between donors and people in need.

Each started by asking the same question: How could they involve more people, particularly the younger and less affluent, in philanthropy?

They eventually came to the same conclusion: More people would donate if they saw the difference even a small amount of money could make in another person's life.

"If they can actually see the impact of a $17 gift on a human life somewhere around the world, I believe that will open up the floodgates of hundreds of millions of micro-donors impacting the hundreds of millions of needy people around the world," said Scott Oki, a retired Microsoft executive and philanthropist for nearly two decades.

Oki and software entrepreneur Digvijay Chauhan started SeeYourImpact, a micro-charity portal that connects donors to causes and uses mobile phones to capture photos and videos from the field, showing how the donation is working.

Adnan Mahmud, a program manager at Microsoft Research, started the Jolkona Foundation with his wife, Nadia Khawaja, a University of Washington graduate student.

In the Bengali language, Jolkona means a drop of water. The site offers ways to invest in projects around the world, share with friends and see "proof of their impact."

Both SeeYourImpact and Jolkona are tapping into a generation that demands more control of their philanthropy. A generation accustomed to connecting around the world through Facebook now wants a face and a direct connection to someone they're helping.

Technology is "democratizing" philanthropy by giving people quick access to information about the issues and tools to take action, said Trevor Neilson, president of the Seattle advisory firm Global Philanthropy Group.

Click here to read the full article!

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