If you were given $1billion dollars, what would you do with it? How much would you keep and how much would you give you charity? It's a powerful question that prompts a lot of different answers and emotions. It's a question that we hope the world will be asking itself from today... but more on that shortly.
I can so clearly remember the first time I was taught about the distribution of wealth across the globe. It was in my 1988 High School Economics class and I remember thinking how uneven it all was, how wealth for the most part was based on where you were born and thinking how lucky I was to be born in Australia.
This niggling thought has had me constantly reappraising what can be done to make a real difference. I thought that if there was a way to inspire an enormous amount of people to donate just a little bit of money to support those who really need it, there might be a way to raise a really meaningful amount of money which could change things for the better. I kept thinking to myself how can we create another "we are the world" moment? How could the globe passionately participate in a large-scale charitable event?
Fast forward a few decades.
The effects of recession have resulted in a sector wide downturn of 20% in charitable giving, taking us back to 2004 levels. During the same time period, the cultural phenomenon of social media has exploded, and continues to gather momentum; Facebook recently reported over a billion monthly users across the world.
The true potential of the relationship between charity and social media is starting to emerge. Think about how Beyoncé inspired one billion messages for World Humanitarian Day, or the 'Kony experiment' last year, which generated 1,200 tweets per minute at its peak. The power of the socially connected to raise mass awareness and mobilise people is being realised. At our core, we just want to be involved with one another and make a difference.
And that's where Jaro comes in.
We have big ambitions. In fact it's probably the largest scale social experiment ever.
Jaro is asking the world to raise $1billion and decide how to split it between charitable causes and one individual.
We're really lucky to have been working with the Institute of Fundraising and our founding charities, which include Age UK, Amnesty International, British Red Cross, Cool Earth, Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity, Guide Dogs UK, Merlin, World Cancer Research Fund, World Heart Federation, World Society for Protection of Animals and WWF (more to come soon, too).
My ambition for Jaro is for it to be the biggest single annual fundraising event ever. Using a gamified crowd-funding platform, the control is placed the hands of players and letting them decide how to split a US$10 (£6.50) ticket between charitable causes and one lucky winner. Letting them decide how much each cause should benefit. Letting them play against each other in a social game to determine their winner.
Whether you're an altruistic donor who wants to see more people give, or someone who dreams of that big win, we'd love you to get involved. It's not a moral judgement, it's just choice. How would you spend $1bn? How much would you keep and how much would go to charity?
Tell us @Jaro with #IfIHadABillion
Anthony Farah, CEO of Jaro.com, the new global game for good, discusses the concept of charitable giving and the growing role of social media in improving fundraising
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