Computer Culture / Tech Tools

eBay Charity Auctions: Buy My Brand New iPod or Dinner with Bill Clinton


Total funds raised for U.S. nonprofits by the eBay Community since eBay Giving Works began in 2003.

I can hardly believe that eBay’s Giving Works has been around since 2003, but I bet eBay must have taken recent efforts to make it more visible. What a great idea. For all those technophobes out there, here is an example of technology gone right. eBay has instituted a “Sell for Charity” feature, to give anything from 10% to 100% of the auction to just about every charity you could think of. I looked up groups like Youth With a Mission and World Vision, but to appeal to more eBayers I decided to go with a charity that is not so Christian. I went with the Invisible Children charity.

There are actually way too many charities for you to browse through all of them. It seems like the headlining ones are those that most people have heard of, but the majority of the organizations seem to be local and religious.

So, here’s mine! I’m giving 100% of my profits to Invisible Children. Feel free to bid; I mean, you might end up getting a free iPod for helping out children and families in Uganda (and beyond).

Most people seem to give about 10% of their earnings which waves them the listing fee from eBay (which is generally like $1); however, here’s one I found that was also giving 100% to charity.

Here’re the details from my auction:

Brand New Unopened iPod touch.

Do something nice this season and bid on this item for the Invisible Children charity.
100% of this auction is for charity. From personal experience, I know that this charity has done great things from my friends who’ve worked for them, and from visiting and meeting them myself. They’ve liberated countless children in Africa and continue to help build a healthy and sustainable culture in the countries they’ve helped.
Check them out here:

Three film-makers go to Uganda to discover a story that’s changed the world and so many lives.  I have a few friends who were roadies for the Invisible Children non-profit that emerged from the film, and their stories are more captivating than any reality TV show or modern fiction.  The film-makers are indeed great storytellers, but they’ve given over authorial control and engineered their experience to be driven by interactivity.  On one level, anyone can volunteer and be a prominent acting agent.  In so many other ways, events and ideas are employed to gather as much participation as possible, all the while authoring the story as it unfolds.  Invisible Children is the archetypal example of a modern-day interactive documentary that continues to make itself as a result of its “fan-base,” showing us that changing the world in observable and distinct ways is perhaps the greatest of all agency.

The overly-analytical side of me believes that mass media has disillusioned us to feel things only when they are made up.  The truth is: our imagination is based off of those possibilities and even the desire to experience something so powerful for ourselves.  Mass media makes it so easy that we forget to pay attention to those things in our own lives, and the agency we have in the world around us, such as what the Invisible Children narrative space is trying to do.  Our creative media should be representing the reverence we have for the real things in our lives, not the replacement, because we are, in fact, able to live out the things that captivate us about fiction in our real lives.  I believe that the beauty of fabricated experiences speak to us, because of how possible those situations actually are.

So, if your life is boring and you need to be entertained, why not join and be entertained by the meaningful narrative that is around you?

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