Philanthroper, a Chicago startup that is focusing on improving the world of charity, is a wonderful mixture of Groupon, Woot, and the spirit of giving.
Every day Philanthroper works with one charity, and spurs as many people as it can to give a single dollar to that group. However, to avoid losing all of that money in transaction expenses, the company has teamed up with a second Chicago company, called mPayy, to handle their payments.
mPayy takes one penny per dollar donated, and Philanthroper takes none, meaning that 99% of donated money reaches the charity directly. PayPal and other solutions at the $1 dollar level would extract 30 cents or more. Philanthroper hopes to sell ads on their site to cover their expenses.
We have covered mPayy in the past. The company, while also working with new companies like Philanthroper, is currently bidding to run the payments for the entire Chicago public transit system.
Philanthroper vets potential charities in the following way:
[W]e’re interested in nonprofits that make $1 million or less in revenue a year who are doing something really exceptional—bringing tangible change. [...] We look at their 990s (tax returns), read whatever information is out there and actually talk to these groups to really understand their mission from their perspective.”
I signed up for Philanthroper and mPayy, and found the system to be simple, if a bit step-intensive. Still, I cannot recall a place where I can give small amounts of my money to a large number of different groups so simply and quickly.
Of course, living in Chicago I am somewhat biased, but daily crowd-sourced fundraisers that everyone can take part in for the best charities sounds like a good idea to me.