The year: 2235. Zerbina, a successful interplanetary trader, and her holohusband Zork, are waking up to their first cup of Andromedan coffee. They have their central communications unit tuned to Intergalactic Public Radio, and host Robert Siegel-backslash-12 is relating the top news story of the day. An extended Martian drought has left tens of thousands of poor migrant settler families with diminishing supplies of food and water, he reports. One of their spokesmen urges legislators to pass the Emergency Relocation Bill that has been stalled in the World Senate for weeks.
Zerbina is moved to take action. “Computer,” she says softly, “Who’s helping the Martian settler families?” Instantly her hyperbrowser searches the iWeb for nonprofit organizations that are providing relief to the beleaguered families, displaying a list of names and profiles on the smartsurfaces of her apartment. She scrutinizes the list: there are 690 different organizations headquartered on six planets and three moons.
“Which of these organizations has the strongest advocacy record?” Zerbina asks thoughtfully.
Her hyperbrowser once again springs into action, instantly sorting through and interpreting tens of thousands of press releases that have been posted to the iWeb. The Intergalactic Immigration Forum jumps to the top of the list.
Zerbina smiles: she knows this organization well. Responding to a small donation she had made to them a while back, they had been sending her holographic newsletters for several months, keeping her apprised of their work. The Forum had long ago applied for and received iWeb Charity Accreditation, enabling the organization to accept secure subspace money transfers.
“Computer,” she says, “Transfer twenty gigacredits to the Intergalactic Immigration Forum. Mark the transfer ‘for support of the Martian migrant families.’”
“Transfer confirmed,” replies the machine, in a soothing, albeit somewhat metallic, voice.
We’re not quite there yet, but a number of initiatives are giving us glimpses of the future of web-based philanthropy. To paraphrase George Burns, we should look to the future because that’s where we’re going to spend the rest of our lives …
According to a press release I received from a company representative, PRODEGE is helping nonprofit organizations raise funds by giving them their own private-label search engines. A nonprofit simply signs up with PRODEGE and encourages its supporters to do web searches on its dedicated search engine. Each search generates revenues for the organization. PRODEGE automatically tracks, reports, and distributes proceeds to its nonprofit partners on a monthly basis. (If any WCT readers have used this product, please let me know.)
Our brilliant colleagues in the UK have dreamed up the One Million Masterpiece website. The site invites visitors to use their mouses to paint or draw pictures while onsite. Each visitor-artist is then asked to contribute £3.50 to have his or her masterpiece become part of a giant canvas that will be unveiled at a major London landmark (the birthplace of Jennifer Saunders?) in July 2007. The group hopes to raise £3.5 million for a number of UK-registered charities including Oxfam, Save the Children, and the World Wildlife Federation. Visitors can also use the site’s tools to create and post videos. Pneumatic!
TouchDC introduces the people of Greater Washington to outstanding charities they might otherwise never hear about. Powered by Network for Good, TouchDC enables donors to search for giving and volunteering opportunities by neighborhood and by program area. The site provides donors a safe and convenient way to donate funds online.