clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Kickstarter Founder's Next Project Will Crowdfund Nonprofits With a Dollar a Day

Dollar a Day is an email newsletter that fundraises for charity.


Perry Chen, co-founder and former CEO of the seminal crowdfunding site Kickstarter, has dreamed up another way to mobilize people to make something happen.

His new project, Dollar a Day, is an email newsletter that features one nonprofit organization on a daily basis. Subscribers can sign up to become donors and send a dollar a day to each chosen organization. Then, Dollar a Day — which itself is a nonprofit organization — bundles together the money and sends it off to the recipient.

“We had this mantra of what is the simplest, smallest thing that could have a really big impact,” Chen said in a phone interview last week. “I think there’s a lot of good intentions, and I think people don’t know which organizations to support and don’t have the time to do their research. It’s a small bridge between the intention and being able to take more action.”

Dollar a Day is probably one of the least hardcore startups out there. Chen isn’t even working full-time on the project, which has a staff of two and is self-funded. The technology here is off the shelf: Mailgun for email blasts and Network for Good for processing tax-deductible donations with a four percent fee. The paragraph-long summaries in the email will be based on a couple hours of research using publicly available information, Chen said.

But Chen has a demonstrated knack for devising ways to collect money that make a difference. More than seven million Kickstarter donors have pledged $1.3 billion in total over the past five years, leading the way in what’s become a huge new category of fundraising.

Notably, not much of that Kickstarter money went to nonprofits. While the site doesn’t exclude those organizations, it does not allow projects that would fund a charity or cause. Every project must result in a creation that can be shared. You could see Dollar a Day as Chen turning his attention to an area that Kickstarter explicitly neglects.

And as Chen points out, the Dollar a Day formula adds up pretty quickly. Every 3,000 donors who sign up means total donations of $1 million per year.

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.