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Are There Enough Altruists to Profit From?

March 4, 2009

In an article I read on Freakonomics,

Virgance Green Fund

Virgance Green Fund

Virgance, a company founded in 2008, has introduced another innovative idea that has received much attention. Virgance uses the online social networking power of Facebook to bring together people with similar objectives and voices their opinions. For example, the recent online campaign venture on Facebook by Virgance asks for $100 donations from individuals for their “green venture fund.” According to this scheme, $100 collected from a million or so people would be profitable enough to enable Virgance to fund large scale projects and giving circles. Even though this collection is possible in theory, in my opinion it is a challenging task.

Presently, we are in a recession and a question that comes to my mind is that with the current state of the economy, do you think people might be volunteering their time more often rather than donating money? Donating money may be difficult for those whom have lost their jobs and do not have enough funds.  According to this article on Reuters.com charitable donations are expected to be affected minimally.

There may be people who may not like donating to “green venture fund” knowing that not all the money they give will be used for charity.  Several charitable foundations and corporations are also pledging more for the crisis in education, housing, and food banks. So does that make Virgance’s “green venture fund” at risk? After all, Virgance is a for-profit company, and there may not be sufficient investment in the project for it to become profitable.

Some questions to think about: How has your charitable giving been affected with the sudden recession of the economy? How do you think it has impacted South Asian charitable giving? Can one adopt the Virgance model to promote and undertake larger ventures that benefit South Asian communities?

– P

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