There are as many negative aspects of the internet as there are positive but I try to look on the bright side of things and one of those is that the internet has surely brought people together and it has made the world a slightly smaller place. Yes that is a good thing. Through the internet we have been able to share information, become active in causes and meet people we never otherwise would have ever had the chance to meet. The internet is what you make of it. It can be a bad experience or it can add to the quality of your life. It's up to you.
I was prompted to write this when I recently came across a tweet by a woman named Charlene who has a lovely dog named Bear who is undergoing chemotherapy for canine bone cancer. Charlene is a single mom on a fixed income and wanted to find a way to get her beloved dog the expensive cancer treatment. I read Bear's story here at http://www.giveforward.com/helpforbearf
It is wonderful how many people have donated to help this little guy. She's not begging, she simply put forth her case to the folks at GiveForward, they researched and validated it and posted it on their site. Nobody has to donate, people do it because they want to help. Millions in private donations has been raised via GiveForward for thousands of people and animal related causes. This money was donated to people like you and me by people like you and me who read a story that touched their hearts and wanted to help in whatever way they could.
According to BuzzRaid.com, a site which reviews startups and websites, GiveForward is a totally legitimate company which verifies requests before posting. Check out their review:
GiveForward located at giveforward.com is a startup that is focused on making it easy for people to have fundraisers to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses as well as pets medical expenses and other causes. The company has claimed to help raise over $3.5 million so far (since 08?) for families with out-of-pocket medical expenses. The company has investments from Tim Krauskopf, Ed Chandler, New World Ventures, David Cohen, Social Leverage and Excelerate Labs. GiveForward is located in Chicago, Illinois.
Why It Could Be Big:
There are plenty of people out there who are having trouble with outrageous medical expenses for life-saving surgeries that may not be covered by their insurance. If GiveForward can help people with these expenses during tough times it can help a large number of families and become a stable business at the same time. At this point they charge a 7% fee which may seem a little high but does include the credit card fees of 2.5%+ as well as SSL encryption and more. The amount they take is less than most traditional charities and having stable revenue will let the company expand with more options instead of having to scrape by and end up closing like many in this space have.
GiveForward looks to have a good plan in place to verify campaigns which would be one of my main concerns when donating money. They verify personal information as well as talk to references and do their own research. There is typically no fool-proof model to completely stop fraud but the process they have in place should weed out almost all. Overall GiveForward could be big if they can continue to make it a simple process to start and manage fundraisers while adding in social aspects to help it spread through Twitter and Facebook.
This is not just about the people who have helped others through GiveForward, more than that it's about the human spirit, about the fact that even when times are tough in more ways than one in this day and age, people still find the time to be nice and do good things for each other--and not just people they know but quite often for people they don't know and have never met. There are millions of wonderful people out there in this world who, whether they are rich or poor, want to try and help others as best they can, in whatever way they can. Some people give money, some donate goods, and yet others give of their time. These are no small numbers either. For the pessimists out there, understand me clearly....people do care. Right now a lot of people are going through tough times, facing some sort of stress or challenge in their lives yet despite that they still find a way to make a difference. I've noticed that at least for me, when I do something nice for someone else, even if it is something as simple as offering a smile or kind word, not only does it make them feel better, it makes me feel better too. I know I am not the only one who feels this way.
Ultimately, what you do to help others and how you do it are up to you. Even something as seemingly insignificant as a smile can brighten someone's day and who knows what that person will, in turn, do for someone else and so on and so on. It pays forward.
Think about that and let me know how it goes.