As the Head of Business Development for Messenger Plus!, I am always interested in innovative uses for the Internet. JustGiving is a creative way to raise funds or donate to a favorite charity. Founded in 2000 by two British women, JustGiving also operates in Japan and the United States as FirstGiving. Its goal is to assist people and organizations in raising money more effectively than by other means. Whereas one fundraiser has described JustGiving’s method as “simple, trustworthy, [and] effective,” another has praised it for allowing donors to give at a time that is convenient to them.
Fundraisers can set up web pages for their charity at no cost, create their own text, add photos and videos, and select Facebook and other social media options. Participating charities pay a 5% fee on each donation and a monthly or yearly usage fee for access to online administrative tools. These charges, which JustGiving reinvests to improve its technology and add more tools, are much lower than the costs associated with direct mail and other more traditional methods of fundraising. In the United States, FirstGiving has benefitted over 8,000 nonprofit organizations, playing a critical role in raising over $1 billion from over 13 million donors, figures similar to those achieved by JustGiving in Great Britain.
Alex Shamash is part of the team that created and maintains Messenger Plus!, a customizable extension of Microsoft Messenger.
By Alex Shamash
Head of Business Development Messenger Plus!
Smart parents who want their children to enjoy all the information and social interaction available via the Internet make use of available tools and advice to ensure that kids stay safe when they venture online. Unlike television and radio that served as the primary source of entertainment for generations that predated widespread Internet use, surfing the web offers a multi-dimensional experience that includes meeting and talking to people. Because it is difficult to weed out lurkers or predators who might try to gain access to your child via his or her Internet connection, parents play a vital role in spelling out the rules for online activity. Parents also carry the responsibility for educating their children about how they might run into dangerous situations online.
Families that embrace guidelines for web usage by children find that their children get more out of their online experience without running into danger or losing sight of such responsibilities as homework, chores, and extracurricular interests. Children need rules, and by requiring that they agree to a policy outlining Internet tenets, parents teach valuable lessons that trigger positive results in other areas of their child’s life. An Internet policy proves to be most effective when it contains such guidelines as what parents deem to be appropriate content, schedules for using the Internet, what type of files may be attached to emails and instant messages, suitable language and topics of conversation online, and consequences for failure to abide by the rules.
Taking away Internet privileges, either by removing the computer or blocking access, tends to be an easy way to punish a child who has broken a family Internet policy. Because the child perceives that all of his or her friends are using the Internet, this serves to take him or her out of the loop. As such, the child often becomes more likely to follow the rules after regaining privileges. Messenger Plus! proudly offers parents a number of controls aimed at keeping kids safe. Visit our website at msgplus.com for more information.