Social Networking to ChipIn to a Good Cause
I have another great example of "social networking" and the way of the future web to share with you. How many times have you or some group you're part of tried to pool resources for a joint gift, planned fund raiser or just collect a contribution from each member? We've all done it - and it usually involves chasing people around, reminding them, accounting for the funds and so on.
Of course, someone found a way to harness the web to take care of these issues and make it incredibly easy to manage via technology with a serviced called ChipIn. It makes use of your Plaxo or Outlook address book, and lets you send out invitations and instructions to each person in the group, telling them what is being collected, for whom and how to go about contributing. You can set up automatic notifications and event pages, and contributions can be made via PayPal or major credit or credit enabled debit cards. A recently added feature is the ability to generate and embed a gizmo in your web site, blog, Myspace page, etc, that people can click on and instantly contribute. It doesn't get much easier than that!
ChipIn takes the "nagging" aspect of collecting money away from the poor organizer (hey Mom, I know you're reading this) and automates the process. The fund collection is secure and safe, so no one need worry about the transaction.
Gone are the days of super cool wiz bang web applications without a business model (thank goodness). All of this convenience will come with what is called a "nominal tiered fee" after the initial introduction period which is still going on.
If you're collecting money for an office gift, a birthday party or shower, or fundraising any good cause, ChipIn is smartly thought out and well worth a look. It is currently designed to work with groups as small as 3 and as large as 200 (more than 200, you can contact them to discuss). I liked the fact that a single organizer can set up multiple events, customize the page for the event and set options like whether contributions can be higher than suggested amount. Participants in a collection don't have to register in order to make a contribution -- but if they do, they can see the history of past contributions.
It's definitely another one to add to the "oh, I wish I thought of that" pile!