When the PR person for benefacting.org first contacted me, I thought the whole concept sounded a little strange. At first, honestly, I thought it was a telemarketer of some kind.
But I asked her to email me the information anyway, and, once I read it, I was fascinated. What a concept! A website that lets people post goods and services that they either love to do or want to get rid of anyway--all to benefit a nonprofit.
It's a win-win situation. So the way it works is a person, referred to as an actor, posts a good or service on the site, similar to Craigslist. It can be an item such as a dresser you want to get rid of or some books you don't need anymore. It can also be a service; some I have seen are mowing the lawn, babysitting, painting a portrait or working as a job coach.
The actor assigns a value to whatever they're selling--say $25 to mow your lawn and picks a nonprofit to benefit. And that's where a sponsor comes in. Sponsors are the ones who purchase the good or service.
The bonus here is you can browse Benefacting's website for things that you already need so that money you've already budgeted for X, Y or Z not only gets your bike fixed or that kitchen table you wanted but also helps a charity--maybe something you couldn't have afforded to do otherwise.
Also, the sponsor pays online through a secure site that sends the money directly to the nonprofit; the actor never has to deal with any funds.
So the actor wins: She can help out a nonprofit doing something she loves, donating time (especially nice if money is limited) in a convenient and efficient way for her. The sponsor wins: He gets something he either wants or needs while also donating money to a charity--money that goes twice as far. And the nonprofit wins: It taps into a revenue stream previously unavailable to it AND has unlimited volunteer opportunities.
Check it out at benefacting.org. To read the full story about how it began and how it has helped nonprofits in Orange County, see the Wednesday, Aug. 1, edition of the News of Orange.