Last week I wrote about an internet innovation promoting charities – the 404Not Found page used to publicise information about missing children – and now here’s another! A couple of altruistic young computer programmers in Silicon Valley have developed a way for cash-strapped people to help charities and donate money to causes they support by surfing the web.
Alex Groth and Kevin Jennison have created Tab for a Cause, an app for Firefox and Chrome internet browsers that will automatically donate fractions of a cent to charity each time someone opens a new tab. While the amounts of money are tiny on their own, when you consider how many tabs a person can open in an hour, let alone a day, then the numbers really add up, amounting to a significant contribution. The app is easy to download and the user is able to rank different causes – water, education, human rights, the environment, children and peace – according to their own preferences to decide which charities get their support.
The way it actually works is simple – the app replaces the blank pages that come up when you open new tabs to go to a website with special pages designed by the team at Tab for a Cause. Those tab pages include blogs with information about several causes as well as advertisements. Every time you open a tab and view the ads, Tab for a Cause gets money from the advertisers, and you don’t have to click the ads for the donation to be made. The proceeds from the ads are donated to the charity you choose. So far the app has 3,000 users and has donated $4,000 to charity. Not big numbers yet but hopefully, with some more publicity, this can change.
The motivation of its founders was to find ways for charities to connect with people better using the internet. At Cause4 this is something we feel really strongly about. In tough times where people want to feel better informed and better involved with the causes they are being asked to support, the internet is a hugely valuable resource that charities should be more proactive in exploiting. So far the innovations we’ve been highlighting have come from the USA, it would be great now to see similar technological developments coming from the UK. The challenge is there!
What do you think? Do you have any good ideas for using the internet to help charitable causes? We’d love to hear them!