In this endless quest of mine to give more meaning to my life, I’ve come to realize how important it is to learn how to automate. Apps simplify our lives, smart banking makes it ridiculously easy to pay your bills, your friends, your kids’ classes and everyone in between so you end up with much more time on your hands to do what really matters.
And of course, giving your time, energy and money to a cause is instantly gratifying and adds ten folds value to your life.
Luckily for us all modern creatures, there are many new ways of automated giving that can be engrained in our every-day lives.
I remember first being aware of this new business model with the Red American Express Card, where partnering brands would give a percentage for every dollar or pound you spent on them. It was at the initiative of Bono and Product Red to raise funds for AIDS (hence red color).
I recall the Gap Inspi(red) collections, I even had a t-shirt because I thought it was so cool to create this easy way to raise funds by simply purchasing a t-shirt. This is pre One-for-One model a la Feed Projects or Toms, surely an inspiration for Lauren Bush and Blake Mycoskie in their endeavor to change the world and corporate mindset.
All these avant-garde methods have gained momentum and finally Systematic Donating is becoming common. So here are some awesome ways you can automate your giving with little effort and daily impact your chosen charity and your ego.
. Epic Foundation: For small businesses (and everybody else wanting an easy, clear way of donating)
I will have the pleasure of meeting the incomparable and fellow frenchman Alexandre Mars tomorrow. He is a philanthropist who created Epic in 2015 with the simple goal to help people give more, in a more impactful manner. Epic brings trust and transparency to philanthropy by identifying outstanding nonprofits through an in-depth selection model, but they also make it easier to donate with giving solutions. For instance, Epic enables businesses and individuals to automatically donate either a % of their revenue or a sum to chosen charities.
For example, if you’re a restaurant in the heart of Brooklyn in New York, you can sign your business up on Epic with their Transactional Giving program and decide to round up the decimal value of a dinner bill, and match it. That difference will automatically go to your chosen charity(ies). Meaning if your patron's dinner bill is $32.46, he or she’ll automatically pay $33 (or more if the restaurant chooses to) and the $.54c will be going to Epic, adding on the bill the info on the charity and a sprinkle of shared pride with the patron. It sounds like nothing but imagine if millions of us going out for dinner in one night would pay .54c, that's a lot of money, just like that. It creates a sense of community, knowing that the tacos dinner is rewarding for the mind and the belly (not the butt i'm afraid..).
That's business micro-giving at its best.
. Smile Amazon: For individuals with no donating budget.
Another cool way of micro donating is through Amazon. Yes, who knew, they do give back! Simply use www.smile.amazon.com instead of the usual www.amazon.com web address, link your smile.amazon account to a charity of your choice or choose from the many many they offer and voila, every time you shop, a few cents are being donated by Amazon to that said charity.
I’ve talked about this a couple times before in my Birthday Giving month of March blogs. It’s super easy to change your regular Amazon account to a Smile Amazon account. So every time I go on Amazon, which is waaaaayyyy too often, I make sure to go onto www.smile.amazon.com so my purchases count.
Ok, granted, it’s painstakingly slow. For instance, my Smile Amazon US account has ‘only’ been donating around $10 since I made the switch early this year and my new UK account around $3. But wrap your head around the notion that if every Amazon user donated $10 year to a charity, that'd be a s**t load of money at no extra cost to you. The items remain the same price.
My US account is linked to Charity:Water which I wrote about in my Birthday Month blog of giving. My UK account is linked to Sea Life Trust which was an automated suggestion by Amazon UK, based on my data I suppose.
So go ahead, give that easy transition a try. No excuses.
. Charity Miles: For individuals donating their bodies for charity:-)
Don't fret, nothing salacious here... This is an amazing platform that let's you link your moving efforts to charities of your choice. Let me explain.
You download their app which starts tracking your every step, dance move, kicks in the air or step ups, just like your Health app in your Iphone. For every mile you move you help earn money for your charity of choice thanks to their corporate sponsorship pool. Charity Miles is supported by corporate sponsors like Johnson & Johnson, Del Monte Fresh, Brooks Running, Blueprint for Athletes and others. These companies are repurposing their media budgets for social good. [Their explanation: "Our sponsors want to do good with their advertising budgets, but they need advertising results to be able to re-allocate those larger (non-charity) budgets. Therefore, we deliver premium advertising that’s a higher quality than ordinary banner ads. We enable them to measure a high-quality return on investment (ROI) from their investment and thereby reallocate larger portions of their advertising budgets for social good."]
You can also get sponsored by your friends for a specific race that you're doing, similar to a CrowdFund effort, or simply tracking your day. It's a super simple app, quite fun to use actually. My charity of choice for this app is ASPCA and I've made everyone around me sign up. I've only recently joined so I will let you know soon how it all goes. I've also joined a team in the app, Team Athleta Fit Pro if anyone wants to find me there:-)
There you have it. These are super easy changes you can make to apps and actions you already use and do.
Remember that December is a time to reflect on the year that's passed. How can we become better in all that we do and give back? If you're reading this, that means you are a fortunate one, able to access the internet, use a device, prepare for holidays with loved ones and probably able to create heart warming memories. Let's not forget about others less fortunate than us, to take a pause and breathe so we feel the moment and not let it just pass by because we make ourselves too busy.