After handing over the reins at Kickstarter and assuming the role of chairman at the wildly successful crowdfunding company, Perry Chen’s next online act is launching Dollar A Day, a site aimed at educating the public on the wide world of non-profit giving and volunteering.
Dollar a Day began as a mostly volunteer project that Chen started with a few other friends from the tech industry and New York community to educate and finance non-profits. Everyone who signs up for the site commits to donate $30 a month to the non-profits that the site features every week.
The first month of non-profits that the site is featuring is up here, with non-profits ranging from the disaster relief supply and distribution organization ShelterBox to the technical wizards at D-Rev, which design high-tech solutions to the problems people face in developing nations, to One Acre Fund, which provides support to small tenant farmers to the education and tutoring organization launched by Dave Eggers’ 826 National.
“For us, Dollar a Day is an education platform,” Chen says. “It’s a way to get people to discover nonprofits that they might not have heard of. From there they can learn more about the non-profit and interact directly.”
People can subscribe to the group’s email newsletter for free, which gives a daily, one-paragraph description of the featured non-profit. From there, folks can decide whether they want to engage with that organization directly, or just contribute to the cause.
Chen and his merry band of volunteer do-gooders have a few requirements for any non-profit that would be featured on the site or in the newsletter. They must be 501(c)(3) organizations in good financial health, addressing one of six key areas. Dollar a Day will feature non-profits addressing problems in education, health, economic development, arts & culture, the environment, and human rights, according to Chen. A full list of criteria is available on the website.
The organization has a full-time staff of two, with Cassie Marketos running support and David Leeds handling non-profit research. The other members of the team are Zack Sears, Tieg Zaharia, and Ben Stone, who serve on the organization’s board.
“We built this to be very simple and very small, but to have a big impact. You want a sound structure and you want to solve the problems that exist,” Chen says. “We’re not trying to grow this as big as possible in terms of hiring a bunch of people… We’re trying to let people know that Dollar a Day is a discovery and education platform. People can learn about non-profits that they might not be familiar with and take it from there.”
Photo via Flickr user Howard Lake