Launches, Breaks Down Social Barriers

Giving Anonymously A few years ago, a few friends of mine had a vision. Not the kind with hallucinogenic drugs involved. The kind with social good involved. The Martin Luther King Jr. kind.

As the story goes, Lionel and Misha Thompson have, for years, loved giving money to people anonymously. They’d often slip it under their doors or put wads of cash in mailboxes. The trouble was that they could never be sure that the person received the gift; nor could they ever have any feedback whether it was meaningful or not.

At one point, a close friend went through a serious financial crisis.

Misha and I gave as much money as we could to them. They lived in another country at the time, so it was impossible to send it anonymously.

Much to our dismay, our gifts seemed to change the dynamics of our relationship. The warmth and camaraderie we had always shared with them dissipated.

Out of that came the idea of Giving Anonymously. It provides the feedback loop we longed to have when we were slipping cash under others’ doors. It also creates a way to give to friends in need while protecting our relationships.

Giving Anonymously was created as a method to facilitate pure generosity. There’s nothing to gain, not even a tax deduction. It’s pure giving.

We hope this inspires a new wave of giving that passes through, into, and from all kinds of communities.

[tags]giving, give, anonymously, anonymous, givinganonymously, social, barriers[/tags]

Nate Ritter lives in the Pacific Northwest (U.S.), popularized the #hashtag and creates web applications for a living. He also does miles and point hacking to enable cheap travel for his family. More here →

10 Comments on " Launches, Breaks Down Social Barriers"

  1. Amber says:

    Fantabulous idea!

    I know someone who tried to send an anonymous cashier’s check, but then discovered the bank required a signature on checks for over $1K. And then there’s that whole sketchy feeling of putting a cashier’s check in the mail and wondering if the donation was ever received.

    This is so much better. Bravo!

  2. nate says:

    Thanks Amber. We’re pretty fond of it.

    And by the way, if you’d (anyone would) like to help us get the word out, we’d be more than grateful. We don’t plan on advertising it except via word of mouth at this point. So, please use it, tell someone you know, tell people who write articles or do radio shows or podcasts.

    Thanks again!

  3. Amber says:

    Already submitted it to a few places, including *drum roll* my dad’s financial radio show.

    And how about a MySpace page for Giving Anonymously? I’d link to it.

  4. nate says:

    Amber, you’re awesome! That’s so rad. Yes, I just said rad.

    Your dad contacted me this evening, left a message for me to call in to his radio show tomorrow morning! I’m stoked! I really truly hope it’s a big break for the service. It would be fantastic.

    As for the myspace page, I’d have to think about it. I really really hate myspace. I know everyone and their dog has a page, but I don’t, and I’m kinda proud of that fact. I’m not even sure what I would do with one. But, if you insist, I’ll go work on it. :)

    If we had a myspace page, what would you suggest would be good for us to do with it? How would it help?

  5. Amber says:

    I heard you on the radio this morning! Excellent job. I think that particular show has the right listeners for you. Can’t wait to see what happens.

    I have no love for, just my people on it. However, I’ve noticed my friends tend to post about different charities and add friends like campaigns to Free Eric Volz. Perhaps people would add Giving Anonymously as a friend and help spread the word. It’s also free advertising.

    And technically, YOU still wouldn’t have a personal myspace page.

  6. nate says:

    Amber, you’re outstanding. I will be watching my stats for the site. I hope folks use it. That would be incredible.

    As for MySpace, I think you’ve got a good point. I’ll get a page for it soon and post back here when I do. Thanks for the suggestion.

  7. Amber says:

    You know, I should have remembered your service the other day but like an idiot mailed a check instead. We sent some friends a donation and thought we wouldn’t hear much about it from them. Wrong. We have since been the recipient of all sorts of overtures, gifts, and dinner invitations – which is really nice of them, but we never wanted them to feel indebted. And then it gets awkward whenever they mention a need. Money stuff is tricky. I’ll keep Giving Anonymously in mind.

  8. Patricia says:

    To the Giving Anonymous endeavor,

    I am a nutritionist for a family in Texas. The mother has three small children and her husband is paralyzed in the hospital from a spinal injury.
    I am asking if this family can be helped somehow as we are looking into health care insurance to cover necessities when he returns home.

    Patricia Wood, nutritionist

    • nate says:


      Thanks for the comment, but Giving Anonymously is designed to let _you_ give to the people that you know need it. Nobody else can do that for you as nobody knows their contact information. The point is to help you help your neighbors. If you know friends of theirs who might not know their situation, they are the perfect ones to help and can most definitely use Giving Anonymously to do so.

  9. Gregz says:

    Just did my first give… And recieved my message today … Love this concept! THANKS!!!

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