Participatory Philanthropy

With economic woes causing many charities to worry about a fall-off in donations, Western Union is helping cash-strapped consumers support one of eight leading non-profits without spending a dime.

This week, the company launched a Facebook campaign dubbed Our World Gives, inviting users of the popular social networking site to vote for the non-profit to receive a $50,000 contribution. Contenders include Accion USA , American Red Cross, CARE , Mercy Corps, Room to Read, US Fund for UNICEF, Opportunity International, and World Vision. Our World Gives’ is part of Western Union’s Our World, Our FamilySM program, a five-year, $50 million commitment to facilitating global economic opportunity. (In the interest of full disclosure, Western Union not only is a fascinating company, but also a Cone client.)

Users have approximately 35 days to rally friends and family on behalf of their favorite cause. This effort is part of a broader trend toward participatory or democratic philanthropy, which engages the public in corporate and foundation decision-making around giving priorities. Read the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s coverage and share your thoughts.

-Talya Bosch, Former Account Director, Cause Branding


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