This is super cool — using a blog to raise money for a good cause. (See updates here and here.) Hat tip: Eric Muller.

  I've been wondering about this, actually, ever since I read this post by Chris Bertram at Crooked Timber. It seems to me that lots of blogreaders have a strong identification with the blogs they read. For lots of blogreaders, our favorite blogs are not just websites; they're communities that we experience on a pretty personal level. If I'm right about that, then blogs may have a mostly untapped potential to get people aware of and interested in some of the many great charitable causes out there.

  For example, why not have a Volokh Conspiracy charity-of-the-month, in which we plug a great charity and then raise money here at the VC to donate to the cause? It might not work, as it might make the VC seem like a PBS pledge drive or just reshuffle charitable dollars from one cause to another. On the other hand, it might be a way of taking all the time and energy that we give to blogging (and reading) and channeling it to do some good.
Splunge (mail):
A community, eh? A picturesque little i-shtetl, maybe, with charming folkways and a whole paragraph in the Guide Michelin.

Who, day and night, must scramble for a living, feed a wife and children, say his daily prayers...tra la la...
8.18.2005 4:56am
Given the relative viciousness the members of this "community" display toward one another in comments, I suspect that whatever cause is chosen would be immediately rushed to by one camp and vilified by the other. Also, the political motivations of the person who choses the charity would likely be questioned, unless, of course, the choice is politically Kerrect.
8.18.2005 10:44am
Scott Scheule (mail) (www):
Shut up, Gunner.
8.18.2005 11:48am
lucia (mail) (www):
I predict blogs will be able to raise a decent amount of money for charity only as long as requests are rare. Once 10 out of the most visited 20 blogs are making requests regularly, the donation rate will plunge.
8.18.2005 11:48am
It's a neat idea. You can always opt out when Prof. Zywicki chooses MBNA as his charity, if you're so inclined.
8.18.2005 11:49am
Tend to agree with Lucia.

A charity-of-the-month will become a quickly skipped over topic.

Venemous Kate's teeth, on the other hand, were something everyone could get behind, and look what happened. I think that it is the difference between helping a neighbor out in when they're in a tough spot and the Policeman's Beneficial Society calling every 6 months like clockwork.

So my advice would be to do it, but keep it rare, worthwhile, and semirandom.
8.18.2005 12:07pm
Adam (mail) (www):
Keep it apolitical -- first, because it might disrupt the respectful sense of community that exists here, but also because you might run afoul of the FEC's regulation of "political committees", which consist of any group that raises or spends $1000 in support of or opposition to federal candidates.
8.18.2005 12:16pm

I hope you recognize the irony of your comment.
8.18.2005 1:20pm
Ron (mail) (www):
I saw a request for help on ProBlogger on the same day I went to a benefit for a friend in need of a new kidney. So I blogged about Donna Adams Kidney Transplant Fund

There are a lot of good causes that the left and the right can agree on. So your charity a month might be a good idea.
8.18.2005 1:45pm
Eric (mail):
Blog-based "microdonations" could be pretty big. Charities usually seem to suggest donations on the order of 10 or 100 dollars. This causes a lot of would-be donors to hesitate, since they might find "better" charities to spend the money on later. The effect is we donate less. On the other hand, if we are presented with several opportunities to donate say, $1, to blog-recommended (quality assured!) charities, we might get in the habit of making several donations daily. This would be the blog equivalent of the "donate a dollar to X" jar at the store checkout counter, which I always drop some change in. The idea is tiny doses of altruistic self-gratification. But with the web, you can get a receipt for the IRS.
8.18.2005 2:20pm
David M. Nieporent (www):

I tend to think your comments aren't always helpful, but I laughed out loud at that one.
8.18.2005 2:56pm
That same sentence could have been uttered by any number of my law professors.
8.18.2005 3:03pm
Milhouse (www):
It's been done. See Strengthen the Good
8.18.2005 8:52pm