Non-Governmental Imagination

Kevin Bacon’s Six Degrees of Celebrity-Backed Charities vs. ChipIn
January 19, 2007, 8:31 am
Filed under: Big vs. Small, Donations, Imagination, Resources, Web 2.0

Kevin Bacon, famous for the well-known (and really hard) drinking game Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon, has teamed up with Network For Good to create Six Degrees, a charity badge sharing site that lets you give money to the favorite charities of your favorite celebrities or to the charity of your choice. The badges that you or people like Seth Green and Ricky Gervais created can be put on any webpage, and you and your crew can keep track of the donations. The donations are processed through Network For Good, which takes a hefty cut of 4.75% that the donor can choose to absorb or pass on to the charity.

ChipIn is a flash widget that you can also put on any website that allows you to accept and track donations through others’ badges. Unlike the Network For Good badges, the ChipIn widget has a handy-dandy little thermometer that shows you how close you are to your goal, and the donations go through PayPal, which takes only 2.9%. The downside is that you can’t customize the buttons at all, and let’s face it, celebrities’ faces tend to be more attractive than the ChipIn logo.

I think ChipIn is clearly the better project, but Six Degrees has the Network For Good marketing muscle behind it. This is one of those unfortunate instances where the better marketed product is not as good as its lesser-known competitor. Bummer.

The difference in fees is something that really can’t be overstated. And ChipIn supports a clear trend in online philanthropy: the preference of people to support individual projects rather than organizations. You can give to a particular project within an organization, which might annoy many orgs but please the new breed of online donors who abhor overhead costs and worship at the altar of efficiency.

Plus, there are plenty of worthy causes that are not charities registered with the IRS that ChipIn can support. If your kid’s soccer team needs new uniforms or your neighborhood wants to buy the local homeless guy a sleeping bag, ChipIn is flexible enough to accomadate you, while Network For Good will only deal with nonprofits that have been blessed by the IRS.

I gotta admit, Six Degrees is clever and slick. Good site design, a brilliant jiu-jitsu style transformation of a drinking game into a charitable endeavor, and famous celebrities. Not the washed up, B grade ones, either.  It certainly has a bright future, and I hope they can steer the absurd cult of celebrity in this country to support worthy causes instead of fragrance lines and shampoo companies.

But I hope people don’t lose sight of ChipIn, a less glitzy but ultimately more solid offering.

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8 Comments so far
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Dear Sirs:
I’m the president of “ORATORIO DON BOSCO SOR MARIA ROMERO” a Costa Rican non profit organization.
We work with “street kids” (boys and grils from 7-18 years old) and give them education, food, cloth. But we also work with their families because the kids go to their homes after being the whole day at the institution.
Right now, we are in a very difficult economic situation and we will appreciate any help. For more information visit our website. You will find there the differents programs that we have with the kids, all of them sponsored by the government institutions of the country.
Cecilia Esquivel de Arias

Comment by Cecilia Esuivel de Arias


Greetings. Chipin widgets today have a very limited customization feature set. We have been working the past several months on a completely revamped Chipin product that should be ready soon. We will have multiple levels of widget customization along with very robust reporting for each widget based on where they are located. The current Chipin site has been frozen while we are in development. We are also in talks with partners to provide a payment option for funds to go directly to NPO’s (via guidestar’s list) More soon!

Comment by carnet

Yep very true. Guys have you looked in to . Because its a very new site projects get automatically promoted by the site marketing team. Charities who don’t have much much

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