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Attentional philanthropy

by Michael Nielsen on March 20, 2008

One of the pleasures of SciBarCamp was several fun conversations with Mark Tovey. Mark is the editor for Worldchanging Canada. I asked Mark what Worldchanging does, and he explained it by saying that they are in the business of attentional philanthropy.

Attentional philanthrophy is very cool. What it means is that Worldchanging has built a (very big) audience at their website, and they then donate that audience’s attention to good causes; the trick in the writing is ensuring that readers find those causes interesting. I’m reminded of the avalanche of attention kiva.org (check them out!) got when Bill Clinton mentioned them on Oprah; with that one mention, Clinton and Oprah redirected millions of dollars to kiva.org. I’m obviously not in the league of Clinton-Oprah (or Worldchanging), but attentional philanthropy is something I plan to practice more consciously whenever I have the opportunity.

One Comment
  1. Eelis permalink

    Calling oneself a “philanthropist” just for taking a few seconds to have a look at some good cause’s brochures when one is bored seems pretty silly to me; I’m hoping I misunderstood the concept.

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