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Dollar a Day (dollaraday.co)
377 points by irollboozers on Oct 1, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 94 comments



I was hoping this would be implemented as:

- I sign up to donate at least a dollar a day.

- There is a growing list of non-profits supported.

- I get emails with newly added ones.

- For each non-profit I get to choose to either:

a) add a full additional dollar a day for that organization

or

b) add the new organization to a list of organizations that split my daily existing donation amount.

or

c) skip it.

I dislike this implementation for a number of reasons.

* From the non-profits perspective, re-occuring and emotionally invested donations are much more valuable than a one off big shot of money.

* From my perspective I will never donate to an unknown entity regardless of filtering criteria. I have limited resources and believe I can have the impact I want to have by chosen where to use those resources.

* If this system catches on I imagine it will result in many a controversy, which may just be the price dollaraday.co is willing to pay, but it sure seems like an unnecessary distraction.


I have to agree. If I don't know where my money is going, I simply can't countenance giving money to a nonprofit (or a company for that matter). I don't know what their selection process is. The one nonprofit they show on their site, Shelterbox, I've seen in action in the Philippines and I have a lot of issues with how they run their operation and the efficacy of their solution.

I've actually looked into that model. You wouldn't have to have partnerships with nonprofits, you can just mail them checks (they are already set up to receive donations and you don't need permission to donate!)

The wrinkle with that concept is with pass-through donations, the donor can't claim a tax exemption unless the pass-through entity is also classified as such. The way around it is to set up a clearinghouse with a bank that authorizes the pass-through entity to write checks on behalf of members. Then when you donate your $1 a day, it goes into your bank account, and checks are written from there every month to the charities of your choice. Then you have to figure out pricing and transaction fees with the extra overhead you're introducing across sending payments to multiple nonprofits.

Maybe it's not a big deal with $1 a day, but if you want to scale to supporting bigger recurring donations people are going to want a tax exemption.

It's a good start but I think it needs to be thought out more to become a viable product.


Hey. I work for Dollar a Day. Just a few quick facts:

• You can read about our selection process in our FAQ: https://dollaraday.co/faq#calendar

(We welcome feedback, if you have it.)

• You can always view a calendar of upcoming nonprofits on site: dollaraday.co/calendar

• All of our donations are anonymously processed by Network For Good,Inc. a registered nonprofit, and are US-tax deductible.


Do you know if there a legal/tax impediment to getting the pass-through classified as a not-for-profit? Or did you just mean it makes it harder to implement as a traditional startup?


The pass-through would have to set up as a foundation that then issues grants to other non-profits. That isn't an easy process. I won't donate anything unless there's a tax advantage. The reason is that non-profits that are registered 501 3(c)'s have certain reporting requirements. If they aren't registered, there's little accountability.


It appears that Network For Good largely operates this way as a "donor-advised fund":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donor_advised_fund


From their site:

We’re a nonprofit too! Dollar a Day makes no money, in any way, from donations on this site. Dollar a Day was built by a team of (almost entirely) volunteers.


Are they a 501 c3? Nope? Then no tax deduction. Calling yourself nonprofit and actually being a non profit are not one and the same under tax law.


> From my perspective I will never donate to an unknown entity regardless of filtering criteria. I have limited resources and believe I can have the impact I want to have by chosen where to use those resources.

That's your choice, of course, but then I think you're not their target audience. This service seems tailored for people who would gladly give some money to charity, but don't feel like researching effective non-profits on their own.

IMO, it is actually an excellent model. People who just want to buy warm fuzzy feelings of helping people can donate with almost zero hassle, having all thinking outsourced from them, Dollar a Day has a chance to distribute those funds in an effective way, and non-profits will likely know in advance that they're getting $ThisManyDollars in the next 4 weeks, which will give them some little chance for planning things.

> If this system catches on I imagine it will result in many a controversy, which may just be the price dollaraday.co is willing to pay, but it sure seems like an unnecessary distraction.

I think it will only be a distraction to people who like to participate in stupid controversies. Unless they start donating to ISIS or KKK, the only source of controversies will be trolls and "journalists" trying to make a quick buck.


> This service seems tailored for people who would gladly give some money to charity, but don't feel like researching effective non-profits on their own.

That's really the problem. If you would gladly give money to charity, but don't care enough to even research who you're giving to, the chance that you help create lasting change and a shift in thinking about yourself versus others is unlikely. Don't get me wrong, being able to raise money for charities (assuming it's a good cause) is undoubtably a good thing, and will have a positive impact, but this is the kind of shallow giving that doesn't create lasting change. I believe true impact comes not just from dollars but people having their hearts invested in causes they believe in.

If you're willing to trust Dollar A Day to spread your money to charities, why not just cut out the middle-man and find one charity you trust and believe in to give to?


I am not going to argue that it isn't BETTER to have your heart invested in a cause you believe in, there are going to be a lot of people who just don't want to spend that time or effort, for whatever reason. In addition, even if a person has the time and effort available, not everyone in the world is capable of effectively researching and vetting a charity; in fact, I think most people will probably not have that ability. It makes sense to choose to place that decision making responsibility to a group who has the proper training, time, and access to vet a charity properly.


Yeah, it's basically outsourcing effective giving. Makes economical sense for everyone involved.


> If you would gladly give money to charity, but don't care enough to even research who you're giving to, the chance that you help create lasting change and a shift in thinking about yourself versus others is unlikely.

1) I think it might be less, but unlikely? That's a pretty strong statement.

2) Rational assessments of charities, like stock picking, can go horribly awry if you put all your resources in one pot. This is more like a 'managed fund'.

3) mindlessly giving money away could be a gateway to mindfully giving money away. Creating zero or low-barrier modes of entry to beneficial habits is a good idea. Ultimately, a user of this service could see, hey $360/year isn't that bad for my bottom line, and begin regularly donating $360 to a charity of choice.


> this is the kind of shallow giving that doesn't create lasting change. I believe true impact comes not just from dollars but people having their hearts invested in causes they believe in.

I don't really agree with this. Whether or not this "shallow giving" creates a lasting change depends on what DaD does with the money.

It's true that "people having their hearts invested in causes they believe in" can have an enormous impact when they act on their feelings. E.g. I care deeply about the current spread of Ebola, or the war that is raging 350 kilometers from my home, but since I'm doing exactly nothing about any of this, my state of heart has absolutely zero impact on anything.

You said "the chance that you help create lasting change and a shift in thinking about yourself versus others is unlikely", but I believe it is important to explicitly separate those two concerns. When one considers donating to charity, one can have multiple reasons for that (usually at the same timie) - like a) "creating lasting change", and b) "shift in thinking about yourself". And maybe c) "positive emotions from helping people". All those reasons are good, but I endorse the idea that one should consider and maximize them separately, or in other words "purchase fuzzies and utilons separately"[0]. The post I linked is a very good take on this topic.

Dollar a Day is not a good way to optimize for a). There are definitely more effective charities out there. It can be an decent way to c) purchase fuzzy feelings cheaply, especially for those who don't have much experience donating or helping people in general. As for b), I think it might have a good enough effect given how strong the human need to stay internally consistent is. You find yourself spending money on charity, therefore you start thinking about yourself as a kind of person that donates to good causes.

> If you're willing to trust Dollar A Day to spread your money to charities, why not just cut out the middle-man and find one charity you trust and believe in to give to?

That was the point of my comment. Between people who don't give to charity at all and people who are willing to "cut out the middle-man" there will always be a group who would give if someone handled the cognitive burden for them. By reducing the process to just subscribing somewhere, Dollar a Day has an opportunity to capture this group, and thus increase amount of money that is given to charities.

So TL;DR: if you think this idea is too cheap a charity for your taste, you're probably not the target audience - you already are willing to be more effective at donating. So give to whom you think you should, and let DaD guys help capture people who otherwise wouldn't donate at all.

[0] - http://lesswrong.com/lw/6z/purchase_fuzzies_and_utilons_sepa...


> Unless they start donating to ISIS or KKK

Or an organization that provides family planning support, or that funds stem cell research.


At first I thought you were joking, then realised you likely live in the US. I guess each country has it's share of things that other countries don't understand!


I don't know about whether they were joking or serious, but I think their point was that for any person, there are probably some charities they'd object to funding. I know people who won't donate to Habitat for Humanity (US charity that builds houses for poor people) because of their religious proselytizing. There are Catholic charities; there are charities that distribute birth control; there are even white supremacist charities. Aside from religious considerations, while charities in the US generally can't directly engage in political activity, there are lots of charities that are connected to political organizations, all across the political spectrum. Pick any controversy (climate change, gun control, religious freedom, reproductive rights, etc.) and I bet you could find charities aligned with either side of the question.


That's why they explicitly stated that they are excluding charities with religious and political affiliations. But there is only so much you can do to avoid controversies - there will always be someone who want to earn a quick buck on a scandal, or sometimes someone who just wants to watch you burn. Controvery is something people manufacture. At some point you have to stop caring.


There are issues that are inherently controversial.

For example (don't hate): if you believe human life begins and has value at conception, then abortion is in the same category as murder. If you believe it begins some time later, then any restriction on abortion is a violation of a woman's control over her own body and is in the same category as rape. Those positions are fundamentally at odds, and fundamentally do not lend themselves well to compromise. An organization with activities that touch on either side of that issue is going to be controversial, not because of religion or politics or making a quick buck, but because neither side is even remotely acceptable to the other side.

There are a handful of issues that are like that. There are a handful of issues where people are unwilling to compromise even a little bit. If you casually insert an organization that even remotely touches on that type of issue into a list of 30 organizations to support this month, with no ability to skip, you lose a certain category of sponsors.


I'm quite serious.

http://www.salon.com/2014/08/21/cincinnati_archdiocese_to_ca...

The article quotes a vatican directive about stem cell that uses the phrase "cooperation in evil".

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/06/28/protesters-gathe...

The article mentions a 1994 incident in which a gunman murdered two people and injured five more in attacks at three different clinics that provided family planning services.


> I think it will only be a distraction to people who like to participate in stupid controversies. Unless they start donating to ISIS or KKK, the only source of controversies will be trolls and "journalists" trying to make a quick buck.

There have been plenty of stories over the years of non-profits that do shady things with donations or engage in activities against parts of the population, should this site ever accidentally pick one up, that is where the problem will be.


Well, this sounds like something that people will ignore unless someone purposefully blows it out of proportion. It falls under "journalists trying to make quick buck" and people being generally stupid in their reactions.


This seems like it could work as a simple expansion of the idea. Everyone donates to the daily non-profit, but the email has a "Support Continuously" button that adds them to a list of "your" non-profits that you chose. Then you'd start donating $1 a day to that organization on top of the $1 random donation.


This seems the way my brain wants to donate. I want to pick and choose instead of giving $1 every day to a random charity I have no idea how I feel about.


Exactly, not every charity is worthy. Some charity wasting my money on CO2 mitigation has a different value to me than a charity helping battered women escape abuse. ..as an example.


Now think for a minute which one of these actually matters more for continous well-being of mankind, and you'll see why effective charity is a hard problem.


Diversifying your donations increases the chances that you will be funding a worthy cause / charity.


Depends if the average charity is actually good or is net negative.


> From the non-profits perspective, re-occuring and emotionally invested donations are much more valuable than a one off big shot of money.

That's the big one, IMO. Would definitely like to see b) implemented. It would work similarly to Flattr, but specifically for curated lists of non-profits with good track records.


You could do what these volunteers did with their free time and build out your idea.


Great point.

I'm not at all trying to detract from what they have chosen to spend their time building. I'm simply giving my perspective which can be taken as feedback for the builders or alternatively just sideline commentary on the problem space they are addressing and is interesting to a number of us who care about using our money to impact the world.

There is a fine balance in communities like HN between giving honest feedback/having honest discussions about a topic vs. everyone just being a negative critic and armchair quarterbacking anything anyone builds. I think it's often best to sandwich real feedback in some positive encouragement to avoid the negative critic spiral. On the other hand, sometimes I think that's the same sugar coating as "no offense but..." in which case I skip it.


I was hoping the same thing :(


I _love_ the idea of getting a daily email that tells you about a worthy nonprofit that you might not otherwise hear about, and this system makes it dead-simple to make micro-donations to each charity.

However, I _hate_ the idea of donating to a black box. True, Dollar a Day publishes its criteria for selecting nonprofits, but those criteria are highly subjective. And, according to the FAQ, there's no way to opt out of donating to a particular featured nonprofit that you don't want to support. Heck, even if you cancel your monthly "subscription," your money will still go to all of the nonprofits that are in the queue for the rest of the month.

I understand the organization's decision to make things simple to start out, but I hope that it soon offers a way to opt out on a charity-by-charity basis (it could be as simple as a link in the daily email), and pro-rated refunds so that if you decide to stop donating on Day 1 of the month, you're not on the hook for days 2-30.


An interesting take on this would be each day having to say "nope" to the nonprofit if you wanted to skip it. Make it an opt-out donation each morning (or a chosen time).

You could defer all the "no" dollars into a pile so the user could add a bonus dollar in the same way for another day.

Edit: I think you added this to your reply already! I love the idea, though.


Hey! founder of goodst.org here...

To solve this exact problem our model is a bit different. Our daily email features one cause and outlines two charities addressing the problem in a different way.

(Ex Cause: breast cancer Charity 1: Research Charity 2: Support for survivors. You can choose to donate to either of those or if you don't like the cause of the day you can rollover your donation to the next day.

Rollover as much as you like :) We have a few users rolling over 10 days in a row until they hit a cause that resonates with them.


I like your idea of being able to defer a dollar and then donate it to another charity you like more. That way, you're still donating a fixed $30/month, but you can distribute it more to your liking.


I think what he was more talking about was having an invisible balance. Every month you have $30, and if you choose to opt out of a payment one day, that just means you'll have $31 for the next 30 days. And now that I've actually thought about that, it doesn't make much sense - since you're only donating 1 dollar a day. Maybe you could choose to "add my credit to today's payment", or maybe they just allow you to run your account for longer after you choose to discontinue your subscription (but that is sort of a disincentive to continue subscribing for people who commonly choose to skip payments.)


I both agree and disagree.

On one hand I agree that it would be nice to opt out of charities you disagree with. However I think in doing so it would destroy "Dollar a Day's" USP.

To me the USP of "Dollar a Day" is: Completely hassle free donating at an affordable cost ($30/month) which gives you almost endless positive feedback (i.e. every day you're reminding of why you're a "good person").

As soon as you start adding complexity then the USP changes from "completely hassle free" to "something I have to check every single day." Plus people will have to grasp how the whole skip system works (e.g. if I skip a day, is it still $30/month? If it is then where does that $1 go? What if I skip tons of days? What if I don't redistribute that $1 by the end of the month, where does it go, etc).

So I agree with your point, but I disagree that "Dollar a Day" should implement it. Instead they should stick to their USP and make very sure they don't mis-fire on the charity selection front (e.g. "Today is a $1 donation to the Republican Party," "Today is a $1 donation to Susan G. Komen," etc).


People read countless mailing list digests, site updates, etc. every day. On the spectrum of "hassle-free," even if something's not all the way over at "no action needed," it's still a vast improvement for it to be at "action only needed when I really disagree with today's charity choice."


on the UI front, you could make it as simple as a 'swipe left/swipe right'.


Hot or Not for Charities! Awesome idea!


Why not give the person several choices each day - but default to the main choice if they don't modify it? then rotate between the choices (yesterday's #2 is today's #1)


This seems like a great solution. It deals with the dollar that day so you don't end up with a backlog or an inconsistent amount of donations.


A halfway point for them might be to allow donations only for the categories you select. Right now they have "Education, Health, Economic Development, Arts & Culture, Environment, and Human Rights." Opt in/out of categories and then somehow distribute your monthly contribution equally across that month's charities that match your selected categories. I'm not sure if a charity is exclusive to a category, though, so maybe it doesn't focus quite that well.


I would subscribe to an app that sends you a daily push notification of the charity of the day, with an option in the app to donate your dollar or not. Automatically donating my dollar isn't something I would sign up for.


Completely agreed. I don't want to have to opt out of a full month just because the charity featured on day 27 is objectionable. I'd much rather be able to say "send my dollar for thus-and-such charity to thus-and-such other charity instead."

A useful feature might be the ability to opt out by category or keyword. Maybe I'm not interested in animal charities, or maybe abortion is against my religion, or maybe I don't trust any charity with the word "global" in its name for some petty reason. Whatever it is, I need to be able to opt in to funding the 29 charities I'm cool with and opt out of the one I don't like.


Since they're a nonprofit, they could simply offer the option to have that days dollar go to them instead.


That sets up a perverse incentive for their organization however.


Might not be a problem, if they are in it for the long run.


Not saying this isn't valuable, but I believe that Google did this a year or two ago: https://onetoday.google.com/

What's the differentiation?


Google has a bunch of non-profits, and you are suggested one each day, and can choose to donate to it (or any other). It doesn't pool all One Today users into a single donation recipient per day, and there's no pre-commitment.

Dollar a Day looks great, but it basically boils down to you donating to a non-profit that grants to other non-profits and sends you a daily report: they direct the funds and curate the recipients.

One Today also has a nice challenge-match feature.


I use this EVERY DAY. I get a notification at 9:30am (you can set your own time) telling me about a new organization. I donate about$1 a week and about every other week I will search for tech organizations (example: Helping bolivians connect to the internet) and do a "match" donation of $5. It is great.

The notifications display perfectly on my moto 360 too!


Haven't used the Google app, but it looks like Google may present you with an opportunity to donate once a day, whereas this plan donates by default?


That one appears to not work in the UK, for some reason. Unfortunate. Anyone know any alternatives I could use that let me choose which charities I donate to?


This looks much more like how I imagined this kind of service to work. Thanks for sharing, shame it's apparently incompatible on my Android device :(


Since it's the first time ever I saw this thing, apparently Google failed at visibility this time. So there's the differentiation.


This approach would make sense if most charities were similar in how much better they could make the world with your dollar. But instead there are huge differences! For example, if we look just at developing world health we see a power law distribution, where a few interventions are much better than the rest. [1] Instead of signing up to give small amounts to lots of different organizations, it's much better to find one working on one of these best approaches (givewell.org is helpful here) and fund that more.

[1] http://www.jefftk.com/daly-per-1000-usd.png


a chart with no labels on the axes communicates almost nothing


Sorry! I forgot that the axes were in the surrounding page not in the image.

Vertical is "$/DALY" which is basically the cost-benefit ratio of a medical treatment. $100/DALY would mean $100 to give someone an additional healthy year of life. The horizontal axis is a wide range of developing world medical interventions, lined up from worst cost-per-daly to best. You can see that the very best ones are much better than most of them, though even the "worst" ones are still excellent value for the money both in absolute terms and compared to what additional health spending gets you in rich countries.


As someone who has spent a lot of time in the non-profit and B-Corp space, I'm very interested to see how this plays out. It's an interesting idea and one that can definitely have a lot of value if it resonates with donors.

However, I do worry about that last point. One of the most important part of NPO fundraising is around building a relationship with the donor. Dollar a Day seems to take that piece out of the fundraising process, for better or worse.

Best case, outsourcing your donor outreach to Dollar a Day opens you up to thousands of new donors who get to learn more about you.

Worst case, it's Groupon for non-profit donations; taking away your ability to market your brand and spamming you into a few million inboxes who will likely unsubscribe after a 3-6 months of daily emails.


Isn't this essentially the same thing as One Today?

https://onetoday.google.com/


Yes, but that's no reason to not pursue it, right?

I personally like non-google options, and competition is a generally a good thing


Especially competition in facilitating charitable donations!


Really nice concept

I _DO_ wish you would display this information a little more prominently instead of burying it in the FAQ. There are many companies that fundraise for non-profits that take a cut of donations and are _not_ nonprofit themselves. You aren't doing this. Good!

Q: Is Dollar a Day a nonprofit?

A: Yes, we’re a nonprofit too! Dollar a Day was built by a team of (almost entirely) volunteers, and our minimal expenses are covered by a few direct donations. Dollar a Day makes no money, in any way, from donations on this site.


Keeping you anonymous to the charity to preventing them from spamming you with mail is maybe the best part of this pitch. Even well run charities send a tremendous amount of mail after you give a donation. It's one of the big turnoffs I have about the whole donation process.


Welcome to the world of marketing. They can do stuff that sucks hard, because apparently doing it brings more money that not doing it. Remember, they care about your money, not about your feelings.


I hate the whole credit processing fee bit -- Why are 2+% of all donations going towards VISA? There should be a direct deposit through your bank card or something!


They actually use a payment processor and the full charge is 4%.

It states they also disburse the donations, which may actually end up being a rather good deal. That is, collecting money via creditcard AND getting that money to a local NGO in Mali is not going to be cheap.

But regardless, 4% does sound like a lot, especially if they disburse to e.g. US based organisations that work abroad.

If the bitcoin ecosystem matures it'd be able to help a huge deal in this regard. Circle just launched offering free and instant purchase using bank or credit, and Bitpay offers 0% payment processing in 33 countries.

Anyway, I hope people consider checking out the give well foundation. Giving well is extremely important, and I'm concerned that getting a daily email with some organisations, without any data, analysis etc, we'll be giving very ineffectively to the guys with the most magical story, and perhaps, to the guys with the most money spent on marketing vs aid. Now I definitely am of the opinion that this is okay (great Ted talk on this), BUT if you could spend better, I'd encourage that.

The best example for me was this. Millions of people worldwide are blind due to cataracts, often due to malnutrition. You can largely and often completely 'cure' these people from their blindness with a cheap $20 operation that commonly happens in countries like India. Alternatively, you have blind people who can't be cured, often born blind. We can improve their quality of life, but in say the US it'd cost $20k to completely raise, nurture and train a guide dog.

So we have a choice to either cure someone's blindness completely, or literally spend three orders of magnitude (1000x) more to improve a blind person's life.

As you can imagine, getting one million donors to drop $20 would be a hugely successful campaign. But if they all spent it on guide dogs, it'd have much less of an impact of merely 1000 people donating $20 to completely cure the blindness of a similar number of people.

That's why giving well is so important. I fear apps and services like these diminish that. I hope we all appreciate our influence and act accordingly by carefully considering who to give your money to.


The 4% also shocked me, since even PayPal has much better fees. There's a couple of posts on GiveWell about that payment processor (Network for Good):

http://blog.givewell.org/2007/02/10/network-for-what-now/

http://blog.givewell.org/2007/02/17/quick-update/


Thanks for posting that. I still wonder though whether NFG is able to deliver money to charities abroad, included with that 4%.

For example, an average remittance payment is about 9.3%. In some places it's 14%, because the financial infrastructure to get payments to some of the remote places on earth is really, really tricky. So if that's all included in the fee, it's a bargain.

If not (and it's just pure payment processing without subsequent delivery outside the US) it's really terrible. Paypal, Google, Stripe, they all beat it. Especially as there's often deals for non-profits, e.g. Bitpay/Coinbase will process charitable donations for free. Kiva's creditcard fees for example are waived if I remember correctly.


This is very similar to a feature I love about Watsi: https://watsi.org/monthly


Once or twice a year, I go to http://www.charitynavigator.org/ to do my own research and donate to a charity that I think will make good use of the money.

Lump sum method has two advantages:

1) Easier to keep track of for tax filing.

2) Your employer might have a donation match program. Again it is easier to file a form and tell them to make a matching donation.


Personally, I'd want an opt-out too...I don't mind a default of charitable, but for me to be on board, it'd be essential to be able to disable my contribution should I find the organization uncharitable.

More than that though, I think it'd be neat if this group hooked up with giv2giv.org and each day/dollar would create a new, well-funded endowment. And maybe give users a way to vote for their favorite reruns or something so there'd be a bit of a feedback loop.

Anyway, congrats to them for a basically good idea. I agree that there are some refinements that would make it a bit more palatable for me personally, but I dig it. I love innovation in this space.


I created a non-profit with a similar concept about 5 years ago called Vonate.org (now defunct). Our concept was $1/month and you would vote/donate (vonate) your dollar to one of the two featured organizations. I'm a big believer in the micro donation space, but execution is key.

My biggest lessons learned were:

1) Find and vetting 24 great organizations was difficult. 2) Getting people to spend $15/year (how we covered costs) was a challenge, so keep your expectations on audience engagement incredibly low. 3) Revenue through sponsorships won't keep the lights on.

Regardless - best of luck.


How is this any different than Google One Today (https://onetoday.google.com/)? At least with Google, I trust them with money, plus, the app has a lot more than just $1/day if you really care about a cause. It has the game mechanics, too, so, I'm sorry, but I'm sticking with Google.


This is an awesome idea. I like the idea of waking up and getting an email "this is who you helped without even knowing it!".

The detractors are missing two important points:

1) People like being part of a larger movement.

2) People like knowing their donation as impact. I would rather be part of a team donating $1,000 then just donating $1.

I signed up for the free email, but if I like what I see I'll be joining.


"all donations are 100% US tax-deductible."

The tax-deductability of charitable donations has always sat weirdly with me. It's not exactly charitable if you're not actually sacrificing anything; it's more a rearrangement of your tax allocation. That can be a good thing in and of itself, but if you're going to claim donations on tax, it's not really something you should get a warm, fuzzy feeling for (in my opinion). I have a regular payment to MSF happening every month, and it doesn't really sit right with me that I can claim it on tax (and I don't).

On the other hand, this is a good argument against the libertarian dot-point that private charity 'would happen if we weren't taxed so much'. Given that you can offset your tax by your charitable donations, it becomes a zero-sum game, so why aren't people currently donating at the levels libertarians say they theoretically would? In the US, you can deduct up to half your gross income from tax, and given that the tax load is less than 50%, you can at least convert your income tax to charitable donations, and then start this theoretical "extra charity" that would apparently spring into action.


> "It's not exactly charitable if you're not actually sacrificing anything"

Tax-deductible doesn't mean that the money comes straight out of taxes, it means that you don't pay taxes on the donation. So you give $1.00 to get out of your marginal rate, something like $0.28 or $0.35, in taxes.

In order to eliminate your entire tax burden (per your libertarian comment), you would have to donate considerably more than you pay in taxes. You'd have to donate everything you made above the 0% tax bracket (getting down to a net income of about $15,700 for a married couple.) There are actually people who do it -- pacifists who refuse to pay taxes that could fund wars, for example [0]. But even then it's only possible if your income starts low enough.

[0] http://www.nwtrcc.org/practical5.php


Ah, yes, my misreading of the IRS article [1]. It's still meaning that you're paying less tax, should you want to give to charity.

[1] http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Charitable-Organi...


> On the other hand, this is a good argument against the libertarian dot-point that private charity 'would happen if we weren't taxed so much'. Given that you can offset your tax by your charitable donations, it becomes a zero-sum game (...).

From what can I tell, the game theory itself is essentially one big argument about libertarian ideas.


Check out http://goodst.org/ to pay $0.25/day


Plus $2.50 a month of overhead.


They should run it like a city or country. Not everyone can be bothered to find these nonprofits. The community should be able to nominate nonprofits and and vote on which one gets the funding every day. Then they'll have to worry about sybil attacks, though.

Usually the way to avoid voting attacks is to take the hotornot approach and only present random startups for rating by users. But that doesn't prevent sybil attacks - in order to prevent those you need signup to be expensive. How do you do that? Requiring text to a mobile number used to work until Google Voice. Now what?


It would be great if the daily email included the amount being sent to today's charity. It would be a nice feeling to see this number go up over time.


It seems a good idea that can also be applied to open source projects who ask for donations. You could donate just to support the concept of open source.


I was hoping this would be: here is a non-profit for the day. Do you want to a.) donate one dollar, or b.) donate x amount every day.


Surely this is less effective than finding a few excellent charities and giving them a large sum.


I think this idea is great and have no issues with the way they've structured it.


Neat but your brand can be confused with: dollaraday.com, which I wonder what it is.


The NFL is 501(c)...


why aren't there any share tools on this site?


My attitude towards charity is kind of the opposite. If I am to donate to charity, I want to concentrate on one or a few things, so that I'm able to actually research them and see for myself whether I think that the money will come to good use.

This kind of thing is different from people going door to door, collecting money; instead of someone actively going to you in order to convince you to give to some "good" (according to them) cause, you are the active participant. There isn't much immediate social guilt of having to say "no", in this case. People who collect for charities in the usual, door to door or through other means of confronting people probably want to play on people's feeling of social dignity and that they don't want to appear to be stingy. So then the average person ends up giving to a lot of different charities - because they all ask for a little at a time - and knowing little about each one.

But why would I deliberately want to diversify my charity, if I'm the one who is actively subscribing to it? Isn't it better to research a few good ones, and actively pursue those? Why give up that choice to some other entity, and make it practically impossible for me to keep up with all the different causes (you can't and won't feel motivated to research where every dollar you give goes to, when it all goes to different things). Another user here has it right - it's a black box. And apparently for no good reason.


I must ask this question and someone please enlighten me but -- 1. Where does money come from to support these Organization ( e.g. dollaraday or Watsi ?

2. How do these Organizations pay for developer costs , website, office maintenance and employee salary ?

Do they take cut from donation and donate rest of the money ? If that's the case then its pretty much scam.

Susan Komen for women's breast cancer collect millions of dollar. Innocent people pay thinking money is going to cancer research. But they instead pay their CEO some $500k+ salary. What a shame !

I must ask this is starting a non-profit new legal scam in United States to collect money ?


Firstly the people running this are already incredibly wealthy by themselves. They more than likely funded the startup costs themselves, or through wealthy benefactors.

They pay operational expenses from a percentage of the money they raise.

Just because they pay operational expenses doesn't make them a scam - that's how any non-profit operates.

The best non-profits contribute the greatest percentage of their revenue to helping people. I believe this is the case here.

Do you want the best person running a company like this? Or would you prefer the cheapest person running a company like this?




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