Buy and Do Good: How Your Debit Card Could Save the World

The plastic card you use every day could be the key to unlocking reliable nonprofit funding.

Sobering statistics

Over the next 24 hours, approximately 16,000 people will die from dirty drinking water and another 22,000 children will die from a poverty-related illness. How’s that for some sobering stats?

The thing is, ALL of these deaths are preventable – the only thing missing is the funding to make it happen.

American’s can be incredibly generous, you’ve probably seen the “Text Harvey to 90999 and donate $10 to the American Red Cross” messages – maybe you even donated? If so, you wouldn’t be alone; Business Insider estimates that charities raised over $350 million for Hurricane Harvey relief alone.

While that tremendous collective effort is terrific, it pales in comparison to the $180 billion in damage done – and it won’t do much to help the other 1.5 million US-based nonprofit organizations serving countless other causes that exist in the world today.

The sad fact is, most of these organizations are chronically underfunded. Even in the case of Hurricane Harvey relief, the needs will exist long after the news cameras are gone.

Perhaps swinging from one disaster to the next isn’t the most effective way to fund nonprofits? What we need is a mechanism to sustainably fund organizations without continually requiring supporters to give more. We need to come up with a consistent source of funding that can fill in the gap between the headline-grabbing events.

Where will the money come from?

We’re going to pause for a moment to talk about banking. Why? Because as with many things in this world, money is the fuel that makes things happen. For the ideal scenario described above to come to pass, there needs to be a significant source of revenue. And the banking industry generates significant amounts of money.

The Federal Reserve estimates that Americans made $5.7 trillion in card purchases in 2015, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. You probably use your card several times a day for all kinds of things – and every time you do, the retailers pay a small fee.

What if you could redirect those fees to something you care about?

The solution

As it turns out, the system for sustained, collective, user-directed funding, already exists.

Introducing the humble debit card.

Imagine a world of conscious consumerism – where your everyday purchases – started preventing unnecessary deaths from things like drinking dirty water. Nonprofits could spend more time on solutions and less time fundraising. With more reliable funding, imagine the good that could be done. Imagine the progress that could be made – that needs to be made.

It’s already happening

Of course this solution needs a company that’s willing to redirect a significant portion of its revenue, but most can’t see past next quarter’s earnings. Fortunately, there is a company founded with the mission to solve this problem. A small band of people dedicated to closing the funding gap that let’s innocent people die for a fraction of what we spend on caffeinated drinks each month.

We’re building a sustainable business that is designed from the ground up to support nonprofits doing good work. If you’d like to learn more, check out GroundSwell.

The challenge we’re facing is massive in scope, but so are we – in numbers. Together, our resources and ingenuity can overcome anything.

Join us.


About the Authors

Joseph Graves is the chief rabble rouser at GroundSwell SPC where he’s helping mobilize conscious consumers to take action. A reformed investment advisor, with a career that crisscrosses industries from consumer retail to finance, with stops in marketing, e-commerce, and manufacturing.

Josh Friesen is a writer and content marketer working out of the Pacific Northwest. He has strong feelings about the Oxford Comma (it’s good) and British Literature (it’s bad), but he’s a pretty easygoing guy once you get to know him. Feel free to say hello at [email protected].