Categorized | Social Entrepreneur

Be the Change You Want to See: Two Entrepreneurs Revamp Volunteering with Online Tool

Be the Change You Want to See: Two Entrepreneurs Revamp Volunteering with Online ToolWhat if you could help people in need by leveraging your most valuable skills? What if you had full control of what you did when volunteering as well as the schedule for when you did it? Or, would you volunteer more if your hobbies could help you raise money for a cause you really care about?

Thanks to two entrepreneurs in North Carolina, all of that is now a possibility with www.Benefacting.org. The website is an online marketplace where people get together to offer goods and services in exchange for donations to charity. It was created from the joint efforts of Trevor Little and Brad Lindsay, both strong in their faith and eager to give back.

Be the Change You Want to See: Two Entrepreneurs Revamp Volunteering with Online ToolIt all started when Little was considering the phrases “love your neighbor,” and “do unto others as you would have them do to you.” He spent a lot of time thinking about these powerful expressions and what actually defines a neighbor. His conclusion was that it’s not just family, friends and the people who live on the same street. By some accounts, it doesn’t even exclude enemies. Before long, he realized a neighbor is anyone another person has the power to help.

Taking this realization one step further, Little began to think about not only who he could help, but how he could best help them. From there the idea of Benefacting was born – using one’s own talents, skills, resources and hobbies to ultimately help those in need. Introducing the idea to Lindsay, the two teamed up in the summer of 2011, excited to tackle a project in which their skills and passion could actually help people.

Like other startup founders, Little says the biggest transition was suddenly becoming his own boss. Instead of having someone tell him what to do next, Little and Lindsay began forming their own destiny by putting this unique vision and plan for Benefacting into action. When asked what was one thing he did right, Little said, “I was lucky and from day one I had a partner working with me. Through the process of starting up a new business, I found two heads are always better than one. Brad provides encouragement and silent accountability that keeps me motivated and innovative when exploring ways to spread awareness and improve Benefacting.”

So, by using their skills to build a website that would let others give back to charity, the two completed the first “Benefaction.” And now they’re inviting others to join in. Here’s how it works:

Be the Change You Want to See: Two Entrepreneurs Revamp Volunteering with Online ToolTransactions, called “Benefactions,” involve two people and a charity. The first person, known as the “Actor,” posts details on www.Benefacting.org of a service or good he or she is willing to perform or give in exchange for a donation to a charity. The second person contacts the Actor through Benefacting.org to express his or her interest in the good or service. The two people set up the specific details and the recipient of the good or service becomes the “Sponsor” and makes a secure donation through PayPal directly to the charity. The Actor can see when the Sponsor makes the donation so that all are confident the money reaches the specified charity.

It’s a model where everyone wins: the Actor gives back, the Sponsor receives what he or she is looking for, and the charity receives the funds.

Benefacting is also the first and only tool that inspires volunteering by putting control of the activity and outcome completely in the user’s hands, and all while raising money for that person’s charity of choice. Rather than volunteering for activities that may not align with an individual’s skills or schedule, the website helps people support charities by doing things they want to do, when they want to do them. It also lets cash-strapped individuals find a way to support a cause they care about by leveraging their other personal assets.

Little and Lindsay want the online resource to break down the barriers of volunteering. Now a student can tutor to raise money in support of her church’s charitable work, or an artist can paint a picture for a donation to his favorite charity. A contractor can use his skills to build a fence to support a nonprofit important to his family. Volunteering has no bounds. You can walk a dog, paint a house, weed a garden, sell a couch, or do anything else. Whatever you want, you can do it – and those in need can benefit.

It’s Little and Lindsay’s hope that Benefacting will not only drive considerable charitable giving, but that this tool will encourage a lifelong passion of giving for their community and beyond. To date, more than 30 North Carolina charities are signed up to benefit from transactions on www.Benefacting.org. Additional charities are invited to sign up, a process that is completely free and only takes a couple minutes and a Paypal account to complete.

Benefacting officially launched in April 2012 and is focusing its initial efforts on driving charity signups and community participation in the Triangle area of North Carolina (including Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding communities). They see it having potential to change the future of volunteering for their state, which currently ranks 44th in the nation in terms of time spent volunteering. Little and Lindsay want to raise that dismal ranking through use of www.Benefacting.org.

The two also hope to eventually make Benefacting a global phenomenon. As our nation has become more reliant on the internet for shopping, the two want Benefacting to become a main resource for charitable transactions.

“Finding the place where what you love doing meets the change you want to see in the world is the sweet spot, and now anyone can do that,” said Little.

To learn more about Benefacting, sign up a charity or use your personal skills and hobbies to give back, follow the links below:

 

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One Response to “Be the Change You Want to See: Two Entrepreneurs Revamp Volunteering with Online Tool”

  1. Robinsh says:

    Not every entrepreneur should become social entrepreneurs but their business model should always be beneficial for society and hence they would become itself a social entrepreneur as well a better earner in the mean time.

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