CentUp Asks: What Artists and Nonprofits Should We Partner With to Create Lasting Impact?

CentUp makes it easy to give a few cents or dollars to creators you like, while half that money goes to your favorite cause.


This summer, we introduced CentUp, a one-click "tip jar" that rewards writers, podcasters, and musicians who share their creative work online and want to make social impact through plugging into the everyday web activities of their fans. You guys in the GOOD community showed us a ton of interest earlier this year, and we wanted to provide some important updates, while asking you for some input.

As we've grown, many people have asked, why pair up content and causes?

While helping bloggers earn compensation is the core of our mission, we've also learned that driving awareness and individual donations to important causes is a fantastic way to encourage people to be more passionate about the writers, producers, and musicians whom they engage with. While traveling in Austin for South by Southwest, our team spoke with countless artists about their relationship with their fans. We asked, “besides selling your work, why don’t you ever ask your audience for small ongoing donations?” The answer was almost universally something along the lines of, “It feels like begging.” When we brought up the idea of using their content to raise money for themselves AND charity, the conversation completely changed. We saw musicians, writers, and filmmakers getting excited about using their work to raise money for causes they believed in and splitting their profits with charities.

Some of our recent CentUp creators who have been using the service have begun to accumulate quite a few dollars and cents for themselves, while getting a portion of their profits to go to some amazing charities that we've partnered with. Garry Bowden is a talented photographer on the West Coast who runs Souls of San Francisco. Like any photographer, he's constantly upgrading and changing out his equipment. CentUp will help him make a small dent in those purchases. Heidi Hackemer shares her experience traveling around the country on her motorcycle. When readers make contributions via CentUp, they're putting a little extra gas in her tank, and taking her to a new place. Claire Zulkey is a Chicago-based comedy writer who let her community know that contributions will simply be used to pay for her website hosting, an unsexy, yet extremely necessary expense for any web-based writer.

So, here's our question for you: We're working with six amazing non-profits including The Lynn Sage Foundation who funds research to cure breast cancer; The Fender Music Foundation who gives instruments to music education programs; The Arts of Life who empower the developmentally disabled to make art; Love 146 aims to abolish child sex trafficking; Chicago Public Media makes sure public radio and its employees get proper compensation; and Pencils of Promise builds schools around the world. While this list of official partners is amazing, we want to tap you to help us grow the number of causes we support. In particular the team is interested in raising money for organizations that touch on environmental issues, animal welfare, and veteran benefits.

As our community grows and more posts start to go viral, we can all make collective impact just through the clicks our CentUp bloggers and artists get on their websites. In the comments below, please share some of the organizations you would like to see CentUp partner with, whether they be non-profits or publishers. We'll reach out to them and make sure they know the people who want to support their efforts.

This project is part of GOOD's series Push for Good—our guide to crowdsourcing creative progress.

Julian Meehan

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