Websites Promote Click-and-Give Charity
As a young analyst at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Howard Bornstein witnessed the massive philanthropic impact of the Microsoft founder and his wife. Bornstein realized his best chance to have a remotely similar impact would be to sharpen the philanthropy of others.
The idea of using the Internet to help people not necessarily give more, but give better, was a goal that Bornstein developed at Stanford's Graduate School of Business with a fellow student — now business partner — Deyan Vitanov. Given the roughly $300 billion in annual charitable giving in the U.S., "you'd only have to change 1 percent to replicate, in theory, the impact of the entire Gates foundation," said Bornstein.
The Internet has transformed whole sectors of society, but it has had a more limited impact on the world of philanthropy. A recent survey by the Chronicle of Philanthropy found that among the top 400 U.S. charitable groups in 2009, the median share of giving that came through the Internet was just 1 percent. Now, two Silicon Valley websites, Bornstein's myphilanthropedia.org, and allthis.com, have ambitious plans to change that.