Hi! I reached out about this on the EA Facebook group as well and got some helpful responses, so thought I would also reach out here as well.

Are there any EAs here who work in e-commerce? And would be interested in connecting to discuss the following idea?

Jeremy Shapiro, one of the co-founders of GiveDirectly, and I are working on a non-profit tech platform to encourage more individuals to donate funds as unconditional cash transfers: an API that allows a donation button to be inserted at the checkout step on any e-commerce website with a context-relevant message, to prompt individuals to send a cash donation to one or more recipients in addition to their purchase.

On the back end, this API links to a continuously maintained database of recipients and any donation made by individuals would be deposited to recipients' phones, in almost real time.

Imagine the following scenario: an individual on a clothing e-commerce site could see a prompt to send a cash donation to garment workers in Bangladesh, right when they are making their purchase, and the donation would go to a recipient soon after they click the button to donate.

We have a working pilot version of the API and back end of the platform, and a database of a few thousand recipients in Kenya ready to receive funds. We're currently looking to connect with teams at e-commerce sites that would be willing to test and iterate with us on the plug in, or even just give us feedback on the idea to help us better understand their interest.

If you run or work at an e-commerce company (or know the right people at one) and believe in the potential of cash transfers, can you help us connect with the right teams at your company?


P.S. For anyone interested, also happy to share more details of the platform. The API is actually flexible and anyone can build other applications on top of it (e.g. plug it into other types of websites, plug it into video games to direct in-game payments as cash transfers, issue a cash back credit card where the accrued cash is sent as cash transfers, etc.). Think of it as "infrastructure" for cash transfers (down to the delivery to actual recipients). E-commerce is just the first application Jeremy and I decided to direct our efforts towards.


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The team at Sparrow Giving (Ari Kagan and Nick Fitz) may have thoughts on getting people interested in charitable microtransactions, though I don't know whether their tech is at all similar to what you want to set up.

Thanks Aaron! I've heard a little bit about Sparrow Giving and I think a key overlap is nudging people to donate by making donations relevant to an activity someone is doing - so the behavioral aspect. The difference is we're specifically focusing on peer to peer cash transfers rather than being charity agnostic. Given, I think, the alignment of intentions, will reach out to Ari and Nick in case they have helpful insight into what Jeremy and I are trying to do.