Knowledge Leadership Weekly Insights

Betting, clicking, searching, recycling. A diverse set of actions, yes, but increasingly with one key thing in common: they are each providing people with opportunities to make a difference. In the news this week are a number of innovative, albeit small, ways in which individuals are employing everyday actions to support nonprofits and causes. 

From politics to pop culture, Bet2give lets users make a wager on anything (Clinton vs. Obama?  Brangelina’s impending demise?), but with one caveat- all winnings go to the user’s charity of choice.  A growing number of websites allow users to donate to charities simply by clicking on banner ads or performing everyday searches.  And, a group in Japan is demonstrating its philanthropic prowess in a rather unusual way- by recycling used dentures.  It turns out dentures are veritable treasure troves of precious metals (a typical set is about 30 percent gold, silver and palladium).  Since late 2006, the Japan Denture Recycling Association has recycled 30,000 dentures, generating more than $176,000 for charity.  More striking, though, is that the project leader estimates that if all 3.6 million dentures containing precious metals were reprocessed for their valuable parts, it would represent more than $68 million.

In today’s slowing economy, and as nonprofits struggle to meet the needs of their beneficiaries in the midst of increasing food and fuel costs, infusing diverse opportunities to give into everyday activities will help keep potential donors engaged and attuned to the issues around them.  Though they will never supplant more traditional, long-term fundraising approaches, these simple, yet savvy fundraising efforts may help generate buzz and engage new donors who are used to being courted by brands via sophisticated and innovative technologies.