Trick, treat... or givingGiving smarter and more to your cause, through mashing a holiday tradition with online fundraising tools

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With UNICEF Canada getting out of the spare-change-at-Halloween business, there's a new player stepping up.

Pig-e-Bank coin boxVancouver-based charitable innovator GiveMeaning has launched a program called Pig-e-Bank. Like the old orange UNICEF boxes, Pig-e-Bank BankBoxes are simple, easy-to-assemble coin collectors that children carry from door to door at Halloween. And as with the UNICEF boxes, neighbours drop in a few coins while they toss chocolates (yay!) or hard candies (blech) into the child's candy bag.

Now things get interesting.

Each BankBox has a unique serial number. At a secure  web site, children enter their box's serial number and a password they've been assigned. Each child chooses a cartoon avatar and gets her or his own web page (GiveMeaning wants to protect children's privacy, so photos aren't used and pages are reviewed by the organization before they go live). The child chooses any charity to receive the money they've raised, and reports on how much they raise.

Cooler yet, each box comes with tear-off cards that kids can give to every neighbour who makes a donation. The cards also have the serial number printed on them, so donors can see the child's web page and where their money went – and have a chance to donate again.

Once GiveMeaning collects the money and disburses it to charities, the recipients are encouraged to post a letter on the child's web page explaining how they used the money.

It sounds brilliant, and we'll be looking forward to seeing how it unfolds. The promise is tremendous: transparency, accountability and a potentially rich engagement between charities, donors and volunteers. Perhaps even more important, this gives kids an early experience with the voluntary sector... but one where they have a much greater sense of agency than previous generations could have expected.

  • Want a box? A donor is paying to have kits couriered to kids, but you have to apply by Oct. 30. (And the pilot program is only available in Canada.) Learn more here.
  • Meanwhile, Trick or Treat for UNICEF isn't gone, but has instead become a month-long campaign with multiple ways for parents and children alike to participate. This year's program is focusing on basic education in Malawi. You can find out more here.

Hat tip to Darren Barefoot.


Jordan Behan says

October 29, 2006 - 10:00am
Too cool! I hope it's not too late to inform my cousins of this. Making donating to charity fun for kids! Brilliant.

Rob Cottingham says

November 1, 2006 - 3:36pm
Any luck getting your cousins in on it, Jordan? I'd love to hear how it went for them.

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