A new way to help those in need

Gwen Chamberlain
Greg Patrick

Greg Patrick, a 1997 graduate of Marcus Whitman Central School, has created a new way to collect aid for people whose lives have been devastated by flooding in the Philippines, where another typhoon was headed toward the country.

Using the frontier of social networking online, Patrick came up with the idea for SocialDonating.org after hearing about the hardships some of his friends were enduring in the Philippines.

Dell sent Patrick to the Philippines in 2003 where he helped launch a call center in Manila. Over the next three years he traveled there about a dozen times.

"Each trip brought me closer to my Filipino friends. They’re some of the nicest, most humble, and most hospitable people I've ever met… and they became like my second family," he explained in a recent email.

 "It hurts me that the typhoon just left over 80,000 of them homeless. Tens of thousands who were poor just got poorer. Right now, they’re having trouble finding basic food items like rice and water," he continued.

Patrick says he started SocialDonating.org because he saw a crying need to show people how they can help these victims – even if they can’t afford to donate money.

"Take prayer. It’s powerful and it’s free, so why not pray for the victims? Or how about posting just one message to your Facebook profile that shows your friends that you’re behind this cause?

Maybe they’ll do the same," he writes.

Patrick, who has collected more than $500 already, writes,  "Pretty quickly, we’ll see more donations, more prayers, and more involvement from people who would have otherwise never been engaged."

But, he says, that’s just one idea behind social donating.

The other, is that “social donators” can see who and how they’re helping. Patrick is working directly with a relief group in Manila and is posting all the progress on the site.

"Transparency like this is important," he explains.

The site contains stories from donors as to why they’re helping and stories directly from the victims too.

"To me, that’s the right formula to help fight this disaster, and that’s why I’m trying to raise awareness about SocialDonating.org." says Patrick, who is covering the costs of money-wiring and maintaining the website himself. "One hundred percent of the donations I receive make it to Manila. I'm a volunteer, not a non-profit," he writes.

"The good thing is, this 'social donating' movement isn’t limited to the Philippine typhoon victims. My Argentine wife and I spend about six months a year in Buenos Aires and we see the same kind of poverty in the streets that we see in Manila. I think we can use this "social donating" idea to be able to help them out too. But one cause at a time," writes Patrick. 

An application on Facebook is devoted to "causes" that lets anyone raise awareness about an issue they're passionate for. To help prevent fraud, the application only lets people raise money for non-profits that are certified with the application.

Patrick says he hopes people who are concerned about security issues through his site take the time to call him for more information. His contact information can be found on the site.

Visit the website at http://socialdonating.org.