Today’s Good Sponsored by:
Ever used your skills or talents to help a friend out? This natural urge and the need for charities to raise funds gave Trevor Little a brilliant idea – and he knew just the guy to help him execute it, Brad Lindsay.
The website www.benefacting.org, a nonprofit in itself, was created by the two Durham, North Carolina, residents who are strong in their faith and wanted to find a way to make it easier for community members to give back.
“I am a web developer and I like to work on projects that I can get excited about. So I wanted a project that I had skills and passion for that could actually help people,” said Little. “It is exciting because it not only solves the ‘how do I use what I am good at to better the world’ question, but it is right now helping other charities.”
The site www.benefacting.org is very young. With a successful launch in April, North Carolina charities are signing up with a smile and residents are getting creative about how to contribute and how to shop for goods and services.
“People go on the site and offer goods and services in exchange for a donation to one of the participating charities,” said Little. It’s like a high-tech church bake sale. “Someone can offer to bake cookies, and the donor can get a batch of homemade cookies, with proceeds benefiting a cause of the church’s choice.”
“The goal, of course, is for www.benefacting.org to conquer the world. We have a paradigm shift; 20 years ago if you wanted to buy something you would go to the brick and mortar store and buy it. Now you check out Craigslist, and shop online. The web is your first stop. It is ingrained in us. It’s how we shop and we want to add a layer to that. ‘Hey, I am going to spend money; I should see if anyone on www.benefacting.org is offering this good or service so my money can go to charity’.”
Little believes that www.benefacting.org is a way for volunteering to be less scary. “It can be intimidating. People know it is a good thing and they want a way to help. But figuring out how it fits into a schedule and where they are going to be comfortable is difficult,” said Little. “We want to break down those walls and make it incredibly comfortable.”
Comfortable, so that a plumber can spend a couple of hours on a job on a Saturday morning as a way to benefit his favorite charity or a mom can use her passion of building scrap books in her spare time to support her favorite charity. “Benefacting.org is a way to engage people who don’t see themselves as able to make a difference,” said Little. “We want everyone to see their skills, hobbies and resources as a way to make a difference, and to be able to do that a times that fit their schedule and in environments where they are comfortable.”
For now, the niche is local North Carolina charities. “We have started out locally and we would like to expand from here to nationwide and then international once it takes off,” said Lindsay. “It has been scary navigating the waters of starting a business. We are a non-for-profit organization, and have applied for a tax exemption status.”
Lindsay is offering Mac software lessons. His contribution is helping House of Hope of NC. “They take female teens that are having issues and they offer counseling. It is a great organization and I can use my tech skills to help it provide that much more support.”
The donation is an altruistic act. “The world is messed up. There is a lot of stuff going on that people don’t like. People want to change that,” said Little. “Benefacting.org is a way to help those charities we all care about be more successful and enjoy doing it at the same time.”
How www.benefacting.org works: Transactions, called “Benefactions,” involve two people and a charity. The first person, known as the “Actor,” posts details on www.benefacting.org of a service or good he or she is willing to perform or give in exchange for a donation to a charity. The second person contacts the Actor through www.benefacting.org to express his or her interest in the good or service. The two people set up the specific details and the recipient of the good or service becomes the “Sponsor” and makes a secure donation through PayPal directly to the charity. The Actor can see when the Sponsor makes the donation so that all are confident the money reaches the specified charity. It’s a model where everyone wins: the Actor gives back, the Sponsor receives what he or she is looking for, and the charity receives the funds.
The innovation of this website, which is unlike anything else out there, has the potential to change North Carolina volunteer ranking. Currently, North Carolina ranks 44th in the nation in regards to the number of people who volunteer.
www.benefacting.org did GOOD today. Learn more and get involved at www.benefacting.org