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5 Ways You Can Become A Blogging Philanthropist

This guest post is by Stephen Pepper of Youth Workin’ It

Why should Bill Gates have all the fun?—Al Andrews

There are all sorts of reasons you may own a blog—to enhance your business site, to share ideas, to earn an income, or perhaps you just enjoy writing.

Imagine the impact you could have, though, if you harnessed the power of your blog to make an even bigger difference to mankind by becoming a philanthropist.

This may sound far-fetched, but it’s not at all. Here are five ways you can become a blogging philanthropist.

1. Write a book

“How can I be a philanthropist if I have no money?”

This is the question Al Andrews asked himself. Instead of just giving up, he came up with a plan to make money. He’d write a book and donate the profits to projects around the world.

And thus, Improbable Philanthropy was born. His first book, The Boy, The Kite And The Wind, has already raised tens of thousands of dollars that he’s been able to donate to projects that benefit others.

What can you do?

You don’t have to write an illustrated children’s book. Many blogs sell ebooks, so why not write one whose profits you can donate to a charity that’s close to your heart? The readers of your blog will be more likely to buy the book if they know it’s going towards a good cause. And it means you’ll get your ideas out to more people, even if you’re not benefiting monetarily yourself.

2. Microfinance

Adam McLane and Rachel Rodgers are both bloggers who also own their own businesses. Adam owns McLane Creative, a web development and design company, while Rachel owns Rachel Rodgers Law, a virtual law office.

Both Adam and Rachel offer microfinance loans through Kiva. These loans are used to help alleviate poverty and to enable entrepreneurs around the world to start up their own businesses.

Adam also makes a new loan for every new client he receives—check out some of the beneficiarieshere.

What can you do?

Although Adam and Rachel offer these loans as an extension of their businesses rather than their blogs, that doesn’t have to be the case. How about making a loan every time you receive x number of new email subscribers, or when you hit a benchmark of y extra monthly visitors?

3. Invest in others

At the 2012 World Domination Summit, Chris Guillebeau gave $100 to every single paid conference attendee.

Why? He was investing the money in the attendees so that they could in turn invest the money themselves, whether that was through community, adventure, or service.

As Chris said, “Freely receive, freely give.”

What can you do?

Don’t worry, I’m not saying you have to give $100 to each of your readers! Instead, you could set aside some money and have your readers decide on how it should be used.

Similarly, you could allocate a certain percentage of each ebook you sell to be donated to different charities. When selling the book, offer the buyers different purchasing links depending on which project they’d like to support.

4. Leverage your readership

You may not have any money, but chances are some of your readers do. On his Stuff Christians Like blog, Jon Acuff set out to leverage his readership by raising $30,000 to build a kindergarten in Vietnam. The only thing is, he didn’t raise $30,000.

He raised $60,000. So his readers were able to build two kindergartens!

What can you do?

Set up a fundraiser, ideally for a project that has some kind of link to your blogging niche. This will encourage your readers to support the initiative.

Also, be ambitious! Jon’s readers raised the original $30,000 in just 18 hours, which is why he set a second target that doubled the original amount. Even if you don’t meet your fundraising target, you’ll hopefully raise far more than if you’d set the bar too low.

5. Advertising and affiliate schemes

In addition to Youth Workin’ It, we own a number of other (non-blog) websites. These earn a somewhat modest income of a few hundred dollars a month through AdSense, Amazon Associates and similar affiliate schemes.

As my wife and I both have full-time jobs, this income is a bonus. It therefore means we’re able to use some of this extra money to bless individuals and organizations that we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.

What can you do?

Do you earn any revenue through your blog via advertising or affiliate schemes? If so, why not use some or all of this income to make a difference in the lives of others?

How will you become a blogging philanthropist?

There are five ideas on this list. What others can you think of that can help other bloggers become philanthropists? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Stephen Pepper is insurance administrator by day, youth worker & blogger by night. He and his wife run Youth Workin’ It which includes a youth work and youth ministry blog. They also produce their own youth work resources, the most recent of which is 52 Scavenger Hunt Ideas.

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Comments

  1. Jon Stolpe says:

    Following Acuff’s lead, I raised over $9,000 through my blog last summer to pay for a house in Guatemala and my trip to build it. I’m looking forward to trying this again for this coming summer. If it keeps up, there could be a village thanks to my blog and the generous readers of my blog.

  2. I love this idea, and I’ve always deeply believed in the importance of giving back to a community that has given me so much over the years.

    That said, I struggle with how to share my personal desire to good in professional settings in a way that doesn’t come across as self-promotional (as in, buy more of my products because I’m doing helping out by donating some of my profits to charity). I’m hoping that the stigma attached to this type of philanthropy is diminishing, as more people seem to be making charitable giving a part of their business endeavors – it’s just frustrating to have run into backlash like this before.

    Any thoughts on how to handle this?

    • Hmmm…..tricky. I guess one option would be to not advertise your charitable giving before you win some business, but after instead.

      For example, if you were to lend $25 on Kiva for every client you win, you could send the client a handwritten card afterwards saying “Mrs …… in …… thanks you”, explaining that this kind of charitable giving is something you do with every client/sale.

      This would remove any up-front icky factor and will mean clients don’t feel guilted into choosing your services. It would also hopefully mean that they’d tell others about what you’d done – hleping you get a better reputation without having to spread the word yourself.

    • adam mclane says:

      @sarah – It was nice of Stephen to mention my site on his post. (Didn’t know he was doing that!) I feel that tension as we definitely cost the $25 against our marketing budget. That said, I’ve never had a client come to me because I do that nor have I had a client do much more than say “that’s really cool, thanks.”

      All we do is support a person on Kiva for each new client, send them a link to the person we’ve backed, and invite them to consider investing in someone.

      Where it helps is 2-fold.

      1. I’d like to believe it helps the people we’re able to invest in.
      2. It TOTALLY is a motivator for my team. We love to take on and finish projects so we can support more people.

      My encouragement would be to forget about that tension you are feeling. If you think you should go for it… do it.

  3. Tom says:

    Nice post Stephen! I think the most viable option for most webmasters and bloggers is raising money through their communities. Of course, if they don’t make enough money to donate themselves.

    • adam mclane says:

      It seems like there is a tipping point. Maybe 1000-1500 daily readers? As soon as I got past that… DANG. I was able to do some cool stuff with the economy of scale.

  4. Roman Soluk says:

    I like the idea of helping people. I try to do it on my blog. But here you’ve provided great tips on how to make this help bigger and more important. Thanks a lot for posting this!

  5. Nice Tips Stephen. Giving money to a noble cause always draws a lot of attention and I would love to do that when I start earning enough to support my blog and have left-overs :-)

    Currently I am planning on investing my earnings on my blog itself, thinking of paying guest writers on my tech-blog so that they take up the exercise more seriously and come back with genuine articles. Let us see how that pays out.

    Thanks for sharing.

  6. These are great tips. No blog is ever too small to be used for philanthropy. I also suggest, if donating money isn’t an option, that we offer free space on our blogs to promote the charities we really care about and include links for people to simply donate directly to that charity themselves, etc.

  7. Santosh says:

    You bring up a great point that we really ought to donate better whole grain foods. My church community also runs food drives so I’ll definitely make that a point next time. Although I’m sure they’d be happy with any food we provide, it’d just be more nutritious if we could provide them with healthier alternatives.

  8. These are some really great ideas here; thank you for sharing! I’m just starting out with blogging, but I would love to use it for more philanthropic activities. You’ve given me something to think about here. Again, thank you!