Why You Should Care About Your Social Impact


I spend most of my time these days figuring out how to incentivize people to do good by donating to charity.

At Bstow, we’ve built a platform to make it as easy and fun as possible—but it’s not useful unless people want to give. Many people ask about philanthropy, whether publicly or silently, “What’s in it for me?” I’ve heard this question enough times now that it demands a response.

I suppose the first reason is that if you’re lucky enough to be educated, alive, and free (and if you’re reading this Internet blog post, you’re likely all three, to some extent), it creates a sense of obligation for yourself and others. We want to give others a chance to have what we have so that they can then pass the privilege on. It’s an obligation and also a rising-tide-lifts-all-boats mentality: if we help others, it will create a stronger community for all.

A second reason is that most people I know feel really good when they help others. The tech community feels like the true embodiment of this mentality, despite whatever cynicism many may feel about startup culture. I see, among many startups, an incredible karmic cycle of goodwill. Helping people feels great and it’s good business.

A third reason is that there are a lot of terrible things going on—disasters, diseases, and tragedies—to which all humans can relate. It’s hard not to feel bad for others that need help, and feel an emotional pull to do something. The easiest thing you can do is donate to a cause.

It’s always easy to find a reason not to donate, to convince yourself that you can’t afford it right now. But I believe that one of the main hurdles to raising money for nonprofits is that people don’t feel a human connection. It’s all digital now, and there isn’t the kind of back-and-forth that makes a donor feel like they are part of the community.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We live in a social, global ecosystem. We are working hard at Bstow to solve the impersonal feel of sending a donation to a charity. Our goal is to have a product that rewards people for doing good.

For me, the answer to the original question is all three reasons. And if you’ve decided you want to give, but don’t know where to give, we can help with that. For now — just give! Do good. Pick one of many reputable nonprofits and send them some love. It’s not always easy to see the results or benefits of donating to a somewhat abstract organization. But the one thing you do know is that if you don’t contribute anything, you aren’t helping anyone.

A world in which people participate in random acts of kindness and generosity is far brighter than one in which they do not. I’m willing to fight for the former and I hope others are, too.

By Jason Grad