Gimme 5: Best of the web for the week of 19th May

Morning all. It’s that time again – you’re frantically trying to get your work for the week done so that you can clear the decks ready to read my recommendations for the rest of the day. I know how it is.


Well, I hope you’ve saved that Excel spreadsheet and made a coffee, because the round-up for the week is now here. Enjoy!



1) At number one this week is this great article from The Atlantic which asks whether cause-related marketing is in danger of replacing traditional charitable giving. The article highlights a number of instances of major initiatives that have been launched as for-profit enterprises rather than philanthropic ones, and the reasons their founders gave for doing this and asks whether the easy appeal of selling people things instead of asking them to give poses a real threat to philanthropy and the causes that rely on it. Thought-provoking stuff.



2) At two this week is an interesting innovation story, with news that a new charity crowdfunding system has found an intriguing way to harness the power of cryptocurrencies. In this case, the currency is not the high-profile BitCoin, but the lesser known, charity-specific GiveCoin. The new intermediary, called “Do a Bit of Good” allows those who register to download a personalised screensaver that also acts as cryptocurrency mining software, and then give their mined currency away to the charity of their choice. (If that makes no sense to you, check out this blog I did about BitCoin and giving a little while back as a starting point).



3) At three is another article from The Atlantic (it’s not my fault – they been publishing loads of good stuff on philanthropy recently!) looking at new foundation transparency website “Philamplify”. This combines crowd-sourced reviews with expert analysis and evaluation – a potentially interesting approach that could harness the strengths of both whilst avoiding their weaknesses.



4) At four is an article from the FT claiming that impact investing is going mainstream“, which I saw retweeted many times this week. Although I feel like I’ve read this article before, it’s interesting to see how much momentum there is behind the idea that mainstream financial services firms (both institutional and retail) are keen to get involved in social investment. As ever with these things, the more it is written, the more likely it is to come true!



5) And Finally… two, that’s right TWO, “and finally” stories for you this week, since it’s a Bank Holiday:

  1. The first is news of a clever campaign by Remember A Charity to promote giving through wills. They have launched a competition called Live Forever, which gives entrants the chance to win the right to be cryogenically frozen, but uses this as a hook to point out that “this isn’t the only way to live forever” and that giving in your will is a great way to be remembered after you are gone. I thought this was a really clever idea to promote something which is often very difficult to talk about in a way that people want to hear.
  2. Second is news that the makers of the new Star Wars film have launched a charity appeal designed to spark innovative ideas to improve the lives of children worldwide. Donors who give $10 or more to the slightly cornily-named “Star Wars: Force for Change” appeal (which will support UNICEF innovation labs) will be entered in a prize draw, with the opportunity to win a chance to be the guest of director JJ Abrahams for a day’s filming, and to star in a scene in the new film. I find his lack of cynicism disturbing



Rhodri Davies

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