On Business: Benefacting:
Published: Nov 24, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Nov 24, 2012 09:31 PM
At first, when friends and fellow Web designers Trevor Little and Brad Lindsay would hang out and write code, they were just entertaining themselves while their wives were busy with graduate school.
We would just play around with some geeky technology, Little said.
But last year, their programming began serving a new purpose after their churchs Bible study class began discussing generosity. The Durham men figured they should use their skills to make it easier for people to help charities.
Last year they began building Benefacting, a website that allows a volunteer to offer a service or good to someone who will, in return, give a donation to charity. The volunteer, or actor as the person is called, picks the charity and the sponsor pays the charity the agreed-upon amount.
After doing a beta launch to get feedback from other members of the Church of the Apostles in Raleigh, Little and Lindsay made the website public in April.
The offers on the website, which so far have been only in North Carolina, range from masonry work to beginner guitar lessons to a freshly baked pound cake.
Using their energy or unwanted belongings, anyone can contribute to a cause, Little said.
You can put this in front of anyone, and theyd have something they could do, he said. If you spend time on a Saturday doing something you love and in the meantime are helping people have fresh water halfway across the world, thats pretty exciting.
Members of FemCity Raleigh, a professional womens group, are among recent actors. This month the women offered services including a life coaching session and media relations training. Each actor chose a charity special to her.
A lot of our members have busy schedules between work, families and life in general, said Lisa Qualls, president of the FemCity chapter. Its not always easy to schedule as much time as wed all like to volunteer
The site lets us not only pick how we want to give back but also choose what will be most convenient for our schedules.
And thats what we want all women to know you can always make a difference.
Qualls, who lives in Cary, offered custom-made pillows and fashion accessories from her business, Monkey Lisa.
A secondary benefit to some actors is the chance to promote their businesses or build their professional reputations, Little said. People who are unemployed could use products or projects as a way to showcase their skills and as fodder for their resumes.
Thats something you can point someone to, he said.
The co-founders see Benefacting as a way to turn mundane transactions into powerful acts that help others.
Little uses his first benefaction as an example. He advertised an ugly 1950s dresser of which his wife wasnt too fond.
That created a $50 donation to help bring clean water to a mountainside community in Rwanda.
Little recently moved from Durham to Jacksonville, Fla. He and Lindsay hope to create a second market for Benefacting in northern Florida next. They eventually plan to expand the website to the point where people all over the country can easily spread some generosity.
Sponsors make their donations through PayPal on the Benefacting website. An actor can give to any charity with a PayPal account. Benefacting, a nonprofit organization, collects 15 percent of Benefaction transactions to cover operating costs.
For information, go to benefacting.org