'Digital Tip Jar' Lets Fans Reward Their Favorite Artists, And Donate to Nonprofits

Tired of internet "slacktivism"? CentUp tosses your cents at artists and charities.


The Internet has gotten busy!

Over five billion things get liked or shared each day. Sometimes that activity goes towards spreading awareness of good causes, but the reality is that most of those clicks don’t lead to positive social impact. And hey, that's understandable. The internet is great at entertaining and informing us.

Clearly people love sharing and creating all types of content. So the question is, how do we take advantage of that enormous flood of information whizzing around the web each day and turn it into something really good?

CentUp is a web tool launching next month that will help writers, musicians, photographers, and other creatives get a few cents for their work from their biggest fans. It’s not a paywall or subscription service that makes people feel forced to pay for content, instead, it’s something that will motivate them. Content creators will know who their best fans are because they're not just liking or sharing things, they're giving actual money. Even if it's a few cents a time. And the kicker is when you use the app, half of those donations go to a non-profit that the donor believes in most.

The app is super simple. Sign-up for an account on CentUp. Pick the charity you want to support (we'll start with six at launch). Then just load up your account with $20 using a credit card or Paypal. After that, each time you hit the button you'll be ticking away at your account. And if you want, you'll be able to reload automatically when you hit zero.

In the last two years, we’ve seen changing perceptions about "free" content and paying for piece-meal content. This isn’t the same old discussion about pay-walls and publishers. People like Louis CK, Amanda Palmer, and Andrew Sullivan have emerged as recent examples of audiences rewarding artists directly and in some cases, volunteering more than they even need to. With this ever-increasing phenomena, will this model start to trickle down to lesser-known artists and their fans as well? Can goodwill and built-in charitable giving be the lever that helps make this behavior "normal" at every level of the content spectrum?


We don’t feel inspired to pay for content online all the time. There's a ton of it that doesn't deserve to be paid for. But when it comes to amazing, thoughtful, and unique work, we think that giving a few cents at a time will feel pretty darn easy to most people. And more importantly, knowing that half those cents go to an awesome non-profit will help take away a lot of reluctance that exists today. This goes for donors, AND the people who are asking for compensation from their fans.

If you’re a content creator of any sort, please get involved. CentUp is almost ready to go, but it's just a tool. To change the web for the better we're going to need to work together.

Click here to add signing up for CentUp to your GOOD "to-do" list.

Screenshot via (left) Wikimedia Commons (right)

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