Whether Christmas means you’re excited for food, presents or both; you know the drill. It’s better to give than to receive, but have you heard about some of the cool new ways you can do it? Just like everything else, charity, the arts and community support has innovated with the help of the internet and some very bright minds.
Here’s a look at some of the neat new ways you can support the stuff you care about and make some good habits to give back.
Patronage hits the 21st century
You may already be familiar with crowd funding websites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo – someone pitches a project and sets a target for funds, then people choose how much they’d like to pledge in return for certain rewards or perks. If the funding target is reached within the timeframe, the project goes ahead; if not, the pledges are cancelled. It’s become a great platform for people to raise capital for new businesses, products, and publications like books and video games, but what about people who need support on an ongoing basis in order to keep creating content?
You might think creators make a lot of money from the advertising revenue they get when they share their content online, but that’s not always the case. Some types of content are more affected than others – Australian animator Ross O’Donovan explains here how Youtube’s new rules have inadvertently devalued animations on their platform. Anyone else who’s grown up with the joy of short cartoons online would be saddened to see the art form abandoned just because the creators had to do something different to support themselves.
Patreon sets itself apart from other crowd funding websites by giving creators the ability to collect pledges from their fans so they have a reliable monthly income. Alternatively, pages can also be set up so patrons donate a certain amount for each piece produced, such as an animation, video, web comic, painting or short story.
This model is important for the creative industry because being independent from a major corporation (who would support them but also dictate or at least influence their work) means that artists are free to produce what they want without worrying about starving. This brings us more interesting and diverse content that consumers are clearly more than happy to pay for, so if you find something you like, consider chipping in.
Taking the rarity out of charity
Hopefully it’s not just entertainment that we care about – we should always spare a thought for the less fortunate. There’s no shortage of worthy causes you could support, from homelessness and poverty through to mental and medical health, but sadly they don’t always get the visibility they deserve. After all, they need their funds for the support and services they provide, they can’t always afford to blow it on advertising. Chances are the volunteers you do see taking collections are few and far between.
The old-fashioned coin bucket drive has gone digital with an app called Shout for Good. Available on iOS and Android, Shout puts a plethora of credible Australian charities at your fingertips anywhere, anytime as long as you have an internet connection. If you’re an online shopping junkie like me, you’ll understand that the browsing experience is a big part of agreeing to spend your money, and this app has got it down pat.
Shout for Good is designed to bring the same level to charity donations that you’d experience when shouting your mate a drink at the pub. One simple transaction, and you’re done – there’s no lengthy forms and you’ll still get receipts and End of Financial Year summaries of your donations for your tax return.
Something more than money
Of course, there are other ways to support the community than just money. A single whole blood donation can save 3 lives and plasma (the original “liquid gold”) is always in demand to treat patients with blood diseases, burns and other trauma.
Australians need 27,000 blood donations each week and while demand doesn’t slow down over the holidays, donations do. If you’re not abroad this summer and you’ve got some spare time, why not set aside some time for an appointment at your local donation centre? If you’ve never donated before, you can get started with the Australian Red Cross Blood Service’s eligibility quiz.
If there’s anything you’re not sure about or you just want to say hi, the team have gone digital through popular social media platforms Facebook and Twitter. As well as keeping in touch, they also keep the public up to date with all the good they’re doing by donating.
The iiNet team has been keen to roll up their sleeves at locations all across Australia as part of the Red25 program, where groups and organisations can donate together in an attempt to make up 25% of Australia’s required donations each year. If your workplace has been looking for a way to get involved with the community, it’s a great way to get started on a New Year’s resolution early. You can find out how to join here.
How do you like to make a difference? Let us know in the comments.