Facebook update.With Thanksgiving and the holidays right around the corner, the urge to give may be welling up inside. Also welling up may be the laziness that comes with the cold, grey winter months, but don't let that stop you - giving can be as simple as a Tweet or
HelpAttack! is an Austin-based startup that connects your online activities with donations to the offline world and Twitter and Facebook are just the beginning for a company that looks to bring donations to the data-driven Web.
Turning Tweets into Charity
As the company says of itself, HelpAttack is a "new way for people to donate to their favorite nonprofits using online tools such as Twitter and Facebook. Every time registered users update their status online, they will automagically be donating a specified amount to their chosen cause. You Update, They Win."
The sign-up process is quick and easy, letting you pick a charity and estimating how much you tweet in a period of time to help you gauge what sort of donation you're looking at. And if you're afraid of going on a Tweeting binge, the site lets you put a cap on your giving.
Data-Driven Donations: It's A Homerun!
HelpAttack certainly isn't alone in the world of online donations, but the part that really stood out for us was the potential that COO David Neff spoke about with connecting online data to giving.
"We are big fans of the data-driven Web," said Neff. "The Twitter API is just the start, with the Facebook API and RSS coming up quite quickly on our HelpAttack! development cycle. Imagine donating to your favorite nonprofit simply by uploading a photo to your wall or hitting the LIKE button. Or tying your location based check-ins to giving."
We've all heard of those fundraisers where you pledge 10 cents for every bowling pin toppled or a couple bucks for every mile walked. HelpAttack is hoping to take that idea and move it online for your favorite sport or your favorite celebrity.
"Even better (in my opinion) is tying [HelpAttack] to real world offline actions," said Neff. "Imagine tying your micro gifts to MLB stats such as 25c for every home run the Texas Rangers hit."
The part we really like about this is that data-driven donations could even connect donations directly with the real-world problems they're trying to solve. In the future, maybe users could donate directly to their local animal shelter every time a new dog or cat was taken in. For every drunk driving incident reported in the local paper, a donation could be made to a local advocacy group.
For now, the service is tied in with your social media activity, but we look forward to a future when all this data floating around on the Web could be put to good use and better the world.