Many of us feel like we’d like to make the world a better place but the prospect is so huge that we don’t know where to start, or where to best donate our resources. Trevor Little, co-founder of Benefacting, says that though people’s hearts are in the right place, “sometimes charitable giving can be inefficient and even counterproductive.”
Let’s say you’d like to donate some of your time to your favorite charity. You show up at its door and the organizer puts you to work painting a fence. The trouble is, you’re terrible at painting and it takes you three times as long to complete the job as someone else who knows what he or she is doing. Not only is this an inefficient use of your resources, it may prevent you from volunteering in the future for fear of being given a job for which you’re terribly unqualified.
Instead, with Benefacting you can donate something that you’re really good at, like tax preparation. You designate a value for your service and a charity to receive the benefit. A sponsor who needs tax preparation purchases it on the site, and your favorite charity receives much-needed cash for its cause. If you’re not a service provider but you have some spare items kicking around your home or office, you can also list these items for sale through Benefacting — with the proceeds going to your designated charity.
Benefacting creates a barter-like marketplace where your resources net other people’s cash in support of your favorite charity. Or as Mr. Little puts it, “we take the random, unorganized and inefficient act of charitable giving and put direct control in the hands of all the stake holders — including the donor, the sponsor and the recipient of the charitable donation.”
How You Can Leverage Benefacting
If you’re an individual, donate a benefaction on the site. If you’re a qualifying nonprofit, register with Benefacting. And if you’re a sponsor, peruse the site for goods and services that you need, make a purchase, and do some good in the process.
To spread the word about Benefacting, and to provide an incentive for people to take part, the organization is currently offering a limited-time “Give Back Giveaway” promotion. Active participants of Benefacting can win a Nook Color eReader tablet. Mr. Little says that Benefacting is open to sponsors who’d like to donate prizes for this, and other promotions on the site, going forward.
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[Image credits: Benefacting]