25 March 2009

Easy Giving

I was contacted late last week by a couple of women who work for an effort called replyforall.com. I've spared you all the Google AdSense module that is available here on Blogger, but this is a little different. Basically, if you use a GMail, Hotmail or Yahoo e-mail account, you can do this.

Replyforall is actually a for-profit company that partners with non-profits at no cost to provide donor engagement and on-going donations through your e-mail signature. When you sign up for this, you can choose a cause and generate a little signature box that gets attached to all of your outgoing e-mails through that account. The box shows a small ad from a sponsor that they've already secured on one side, the cause that you've designated on the other (which you can change from time to time - there are currently eight to choose from), and in between is your own contact info and a little snippet indicating how much your participation has provided in charitable contributions. When the e-mail recipient sees that ad and clicks on it, a donation from that company is accrued on your behalf, and then replyforall tallies it all up and distributes the donations on a quarterly basis. An example of one of the signature boxes, from one of the women who contacted me, looks like this:


Pretty smart! If you don't want to use that space in the middle for your own contact info, you can have it show a factoid about the cause you've selected. One of the reasons that I received information about this is that replyforall is exclusively featuring clean water efforts this month (though you are still welcome to select the cause of your choice when signing up). As their press release states, "every new replyforall user that adds the signature for one month can provide clean water to 12 people in countries like Haiti and Kenya where these non-profits work." Yeah, I had a question about the "hour of clean water" that is listed there in the signature snippet about Ms. Core's support. As she explained it to me,
"If we can get 275 more users we will be able to build a well with Partners In Health and Student Movement for Real Change. Water is measured by hour because of our algorithm which feeds back to our users how much of an impact they make by being an active user. These micro units best reflect that activity. Basically, for every 275 new users we can build a spring capped well that serves 2,500 people over 15 years. We measure our impact by the dollars it takes to provide access to clean water, per person, over the life of the well rather than by liter of water used."
In case you're wondering, Partners in Health was designated a four-star organization by Charity Navigator, and Student Movement for Real Change is an international non-profit organization fighting global poverty through health and education efforts. Not too long ago, SMRC received an Empowers Grant for assistance in online advocacy from the non-profit DemocracyInAction organization.

Good for you with a minimum of effort, good for the companies who donate in exchange for their ad exposure, and great for the people who get that new well.

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