The Power of Collective Giving


There are a lot of problems in the world.

Big ones.

Poverty.

Hunger.

Disease.

Inequality.

Dilemmas that are so monumental it seems that only people like Bill and Melinda Gates could ever hope to even put a dent in them. And in fact, I think this intimidation factor is one of the biggest deterrents that keeps people from involving themselves with causes in the first place. When a problem seems so insurmountable, it can cause discouragement that ultimately leads to inaction. We as solitary individuals look at these major ills of the world and feel like any difference we might attempt to make is simply futile.

But the truth is that you don’t have to be a billionaire to affect real change in the world. You just have to be a small part of a larger whole.

The resources do exist to make major headway toward addressing the globe’s greatest issues…it’s just that those resources are spread out among billions of individuals and channeling them in any one direction has historically been next to impossible. But in this age of GoFundMe and Kickstarter, the internet has empowered efficient and effective giving on a scale we’ve never seen before. The crowdsourcing phenomenon has changed the game when it comes to empowering individuals to contribute to something much larger than themselves. The will to give is there. It’s just needed the right mechanism to express itself.

An example that has always stood out to me is the annual fundraising email I get from Wikipedia. Its pitch is that if everyone who uses their service would just pay $3 per year, they could keep Wikipedia free for everyone forever. This plea illustrates just how powerful the collective can be when it works in unison. For the average user, a $3 annual expenditure is more than affordable, especially for a service they use regularly. Funding an organization as large a Wikipedia might seem like a tall order until you realize the power the collective user base can have if everyone worked together.

Seeds is another example of how efficient avenues for giving can be engineered into people’s everyday experience. By harnessing the untapped potential of the digital purchases they already make, we’re able to effectively channel capital into microloans that fund needy entrepreneurs, ultimately generating a lasting and sustainable form of social good. And as we continue to expand, exposing more and more users to an opportunity for giving, the greater impact we’ll have.

The opportunity the digital realm has created for each one of us to do good is immense, and as we engineer better and better ways to organize and collectively transfer our resources to areas of the planet most in need, the greater chance we’ll have to truly alleviate some of the greatest troubles of our time.