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A small donation can go a long way – this is what numerous social activists, including Bill Clinton, former U.S. President and founder of the Clinton Global Initiative – say about the state of charitable donations. With numerous examples of the crucial role that small donors play in global philanthropy, the power of numbers is redefining the philanthropy.

This leads to the question: why do smaller philanthropic efforts generally not receive recognition or value for their contributions?

Charitable responses to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, what occurred after Hurricane Katrina, and the giving pattern of the 2004 Tsunami clearly shows the significant impact that small giving can make. In the 2004 Tsunami, corporations, foundations, and individuals in the United States gave $3.16 billion; however, not many people know that out of this substantial total, approximately $2.78 billion came from the small charitable givings by American citizens.

According to a study by Patrick M. Rooney, director of Research for the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, “…Despite the highly publicized million-dollar gifts from corporations and celebrities, most of the giving to the tsunami relief efforts came from the gifts of less than $50 made by millions of Americans across the country…”

These are just some examples of stories that demonstrate how simple and small efforts dedicated to doing social good can have a large impact not based on their size, but instead based on the outcomes that result from these endeavours. The idea is that lasting and meaningful differences don’t just have to be the result of large corporate donations or philanthropy on behalf of the ultra-wealthy. Many organizations, including Shopanthropic, are adopting the belief that small dollar contributions and cause-marketing campaigns can generate small but powerful outcomes.

This new trend of donations means that giving money isn’t the only way individuals can have a large impact. Small acts of social change can be made through volunteering small amounts of time, making small lifestyle changes, such as purchasing ethically made products, providing small microloans to potential entrepreneurs, donating small amounts of money and donating basic goods. Moreover, this implies that money isn’t the only way people can make a difference.