Over the last few years we've become accustomed to being able to click to give. We've gotten used to searching for things on the internet and having some of the revenue we generate for the search engines redirected to a nonprofit. We've gotten used to being asked to support prostate research, diabetes research, or cancer services when we checkout at the grocery store. Heck, we'll even turn loose or inner word nerds in order to support the World Food Programme.
But how do you know which site to use for your $50 gift?
- If you want to give globally you can try GlobalGiving or give2asia.
- Want to support microfinance? Try MicroPlace or Kiva.
- Local interests in the USA? NetworkForGood, Case Foundation, or the Catalogue for Philanthropy.
- Public schools and teachers matter to you? Use DonorsChoose.
- Want to put every one of your dollars to work as both a gift and an investment? Try RSF Social Finance or Calvert Giving Fund.
It is clear to me that the "disintermediation" that the Internet promised way back in the 20th Century is now an assumed part of the philanthropic landscape. I'm predicting it will soon be building its own industry supports (infrastructure).
BTW, one thing I noticed as I compiled the bullets above is the absence of two key sectors - the arts and the environment. Scanning my memory bank I came up blank on online giving sites/communities/intermediaries focused broadly on environmental or arts/cultural giving. Help me out - send me the sites I'm missing. Or better yet - start the directory and build the new infrastructure.
Full Disclosure: I've worked with or know individuals involved in running the sites listed above. I've used some of these services but am not formally affiliated with any of them at this moment.