An experiment in Microfunding and new forms of giving

Late last week we kicked off a drive to raise $25,000 for — a non-profit that brings clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. We launched this over Twitter — in partnership with Pistachio and Tipjoy.

In the first 24 hrs we raised $944 from 144 people. As of today — Saturday — we have pledges of $1400 from 213 people, a total of about $2600. This is amazing, the money is going to have a very real impact on people’s lives. Unclean water is the cause of about 80% of disease. 43,000 people died last week from bad drinking water. $2600 in 48 hours is an amazing start, all raised over the Twitter platform. Of the $2600 about half of it was raised via Tipjoy. Here is a live update of the pledges to Charity: Water (@Wellwishes) via tipjoy, and the payment (vs. pledge) rate.

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You can add a $2 gift right here:


In terms the approach it feels like we are scratching on something radically new here. It intersects with a set of trends I am fascinated by: dynamic community formation and participation, the now web or real time cloud and micro-lending or in this case micro-giving. Laura Fitton (@Pistachio) has written about this before, as have others — its giving me a lot to think about as we head into the Christmas season and the snow falls here. A payment rate of 83% is astoundingly high.

We also put together a little video of the launch of this effort. Laura is testing, Chartbeat, an un-released product from betaworks — it can track the traffic surge from Twitter to Larura’s blog post. If anyone wonders the effects of Twitter this little video says a lot. Watch what happens 20 seconds in.

Laura had a technical reaction to the video:


chartbeat is going to be INSANELY valuable. that is SO cool.

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  • crustyadventures

    Hey john,

    it’s exciting to feel part of something radically new, hey? I’m the co-founder of, an online philanthropy project that collects micro-donations on the back of e-commerce transactions to raise funds for poverty alleviation projects. We’ve been going 4 years, raised $500K from over 190,000 people to fund 35 different projects globally. There is no doubt that we are all part of something new and (very, very) small 🙂

    I am also a big fan of charity: water… their message and marketing is beautiful and I think a lot of the traditional charities should pay attention there.

    Also worth a note is Tom Watson, who has just rocked my world with his new book CauseWired – the title says it all. You can connect with him on Twitter :

    I’m so excited to see all these new experiments in how to use this great technology I spend my life noodling around with. Keep it up..

    Christy McCarthy

  • John

    Thanks Christy, it sounds like you are doing wonderful things. And small world — I havent seen Tom for age’s — will follow and ping him on Twitter. Thank you

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  • Hampers

    This is a noble cause. The proceeds should be monitored so that the beneficiaries are sure to get their share.

  • Buy Boats Online

    Great cause, cool experiment!

  • Traveller_Adventure

    Very very interesting post..I like this one. gotta bookmark this one.

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  • Oakley Goggles

    Great experiment..
    I will come back for more..

  • grapeapester

    Good Luck

  • grapeapester

    Go Chartbeat

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    Hell yea! go chartbeat!
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    great article

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  • mlisa57

    Hope dis experiment works out for you people..

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  • Ann Flowers

    Nice blog with a nice title “An experiment in Microfunding and new forms of giving” The cause behind the blog is appreciated.

  • Ann Flowers

    I must appreciate the blogger for bring the cause to notice for the visitors.