Money & Business

Dollar a Day: New Startup Turns Nonprofit Donations Into Discovery

By / Oct 20, 2014 (iStock/Thinkstock)

The recently launched nonprofit platform Dollar a Day, which has the backing of Kickstarter’s former CEO and current chairman, hopes to make it easy for the public to discover new nonprofits worthy of help.

If Kickstarter cofounder Perry Chen has his way, the future of nonprofit fundraising will look a lot more like LivingSocial than Giving Tuesday.

That’s because his new project, Dollar a Day, makes it easy for people to automatically donate to a charitable nonprofit in need, as well as introduces it to a wider audience.

The idea is this: Donors agree to give a dollar each day for a full month, and every day of that month, a new recipient nonprofit is introduced to the audience through an email. Some of the organizations highlighted—the Wikimedia Foundation, It Gets Better Project, and StoryCorps—already have big profiles, but many of them don’t. (If you’re not familiar with the work of Baby Buggy, Dollar a Day would be happy to introduce you.)

It’s that balance of the familiar and the obscure that gives the site its appeal, along with a strategy that feels like the deal-a-day approach that works so well for Groupon and other daily-deal sites. It’s a struggle for charitable-minded people to find a nonprofit that’s worth their time and money, Chen explains, and that’s the problem his startup is tackling.

“It’s really about trying to find a way to support and shine a light on nonprofits already doing great work and getting people to directly engage with them,” the Kickstarter chairman told Business Insider.

The monthly $30 that donors are charged is 100 percent tax deductible, and donors receive emails each morning about where their money is going (although those who want to look ahead can check out the organization’s calendar page, which is filled out two months in advance).

That said, the startup is flexible and donor-friendly: It doesn’t share donor info with the nonprofits, and givers can drop out anytime. In fact, you don’t even need to donate at all to receive the emails, and those that stop donating can still continue to receive the message.

The site, which launched a few weeks ago, is nonetheless off to a good start, according to Chen.

“We’ve got over [800] people signed up as donors right now,” Chen told Business Insider. “We have probably double that signed up as subscribers. Both of those stats of people are awesome to us. We don’t really mind if you’re a donor or a subscriber.”

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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