In our must-have-it-now society, everyone has something in their house they never use, be it old shoes, clothes you only wore once or even food no one will ever eat.

That's where The Giving Effect comes into play.

The Giving Effect is a website designed to help donors connect with charities in the easiest way possible and organizing those charities by what every day extras they need.

"Anybody that has anything to donate - it could be a teddy bear or flowers or leftover food from a business meeting," said Mitchell Silverman, site founder.

"You go to the website, select your zip code and then you find local causes or causes across the state that will either pick it up or accept mail or drop-offs."

In exchange for their donation, the donor gets a tax deduction as well as an online story they are free to share with friends and Family.

"You probably would donate your stuff anyhow, but here you can donate it to somebody, get a story so you can understand how your stuff was used as opposed to just dropping it in a parking lot collection bin," Silverman said. "The charity tells you who got it, how it was used, how it helped them. And then you get the story, which you can share online to inspire other people to support causes that you care about."

Silverman said the site worked on the theory of elevation - the idea that if a person sees someone else do something nice or has something nice done for them, they'll do something nice in turn causing a ripple effect.

But before donors can take advantage of the giving effect, the site needs more charities to sign up.

"Any charity can sign up, just go to the website and there's a link right up at the top that says take action and create a cause," Silverman explained.

The website is free for charities and allows them to offer and request items, broadcast messages to their supporters and promote themselves in their community and nationally. Charities can be locally oriented or part of a national movement.

There are currently no local Fort Campbell, Hopkinsville or Clarksville charities.

For Families who wish to donate to a non-local charity, the site has causes listed by needs and types - such as animals, environmental, military, etc. - under the Explore tab on the front page.

"Some things - for example, Bears on Patrol, who collects stuffed animals to give to police officers, then the police officers give the stuffed animal to children in crisis situations - most of their donations don't come locally, but from people mailing them boxes of old stuffed animals," Silverman said. "I think a lot of people would prefer to connect locally to support causes that they care about."

Silverman said he started the site because of the success of another sharing site he started, www.bookins.com. Bookins is a book trading site where people send a book they've finished to someone wanting to read it and get a new book from a third person.

"What I realized is that people have a lot of stuff sitting around at home, which they hold on to because they think they'll use it or one of their friends or Family will use it, but you just can't find the right person to get it," Silverman said.

"So my insight was instead of just trading books, figure out a way to connect people through stuff that they have at home to people who need those items."

The website took about a year to conceptualize, create the technology, build the site and find charities.

Families interested in donating should go to www.thegivingeffect.com.

Page last updated Fri December 17th, 2010 at 15:01