I am no stranger to philanthropy, in fact it’s my day job! All day I write grants and raise money to fund a literacy non-profit. Being in such a front line role I have learned about all kinds of community based organizations who work tirelessly daily to help others in need. I also know and understand how difficult it is to get funding to run an organization. This past fall I undertook a small project to bring some comforts to orphans in Morocco. As a family we also donate regularly to charity and make it a point to talk to our children about the gifts we have been given and how important it is to help others in need in our community and around the world.
The internet has made it a lot easier for small non-profits and service organizations to find financial support. Members Unite is a website that does just that. A description of what Members Unite is about;
“Members Unite is an easy and interactive way to make a difference in the areas that matter to you. Each month, we propose 9 potential projects and then let you decide which one gets funded via member contributions. There’s a saying we love…One person giving $20 is a drop in the ocean. One thousand people giving $20 brings clean water to a village for a lifetime. Members Unite empowers individuals to make a bigger impact, by pooling resources to bring significant, measurable change.
It is very easy to sign up and get involved. Last night I sat down with my boys and went through the registration and voting process – here’s how it works.
First, you’ll want to sign up as a member—giving your email and a password, or you can connect via your Facebook or Twitter account. Then, you’ll be able to get involved. As a basic (free) member, you’ll be able to endorse projects during their first week, and will be able to add your two cents on projects throughout the month via project comments.
Want more? Then become a full member—for as little as $5 a month, you’ll be able to take an active role in deciding which projects get funding, and how much funding they get. And 100% of your monthly contribution will go toward the winning projects…that’s right 100%!!!
There are nine projects up each month with descriptions of each project and an image. The projects are a mix of domestic and international projects in all areas of interest, such as animals, the environment, hunger, education, homelessness, etc. The boys and I read through each of the nine projects together. Their top choices were to help plant 5,000 Trees in the Amazon (we just saw the Lorax this weekend..I think trees were on their brain) and Casa Jackson Center to provide infants in Guatemala with milk. They were really shocked to learn about babies without milk to drink. For my 8 year old this exercise was really thought provoking. He has a heart for learning and serving the world (what can I say he takes after his mom!). I think that as the voting goes on he’ll really enjoy watching the projects advance. My younger son while interested liked clicking the hearts to vote on the bottom! I don’t think the concept was totally lost on him. Last fall when I voted in a state supreme court race he went with and helped me “pick the bosses”. I likened this to that experience so it was fun for him to be able to “vote” for something. Pint-size democracy in action!
If you like the idea of micro-giving and giving in a unique way, I suggest trying this out! You can join Members Unite for free. To upgrade to a voting membership there is a $25 yearly fee and $5 a month fee which is small peanuts! Consider one less latte a month or lunch out. You’ll really be making a measurable impact. Speaking from someone who is in the trenches everyday – a little does go a long way.
If you do decide to sign up (paid or free) please leave me a comment and let me know! I would love to know your experience.