In light of hearing that 2010 wasn't a good year for charitable giving, it's refreshing to find stories of people giving back. A couple of bloggers picked up the philanthropic slack where the wealthy left off.
"J. Money," as he is known in the blogosphere, of BudgetsAreSexy.com, a personal finance blog, and Nate St. Pierre of ItStartsWith.Us, a site that matches volunteers with volunteering opportunities, joined forces to create the site Love Drop.
If you visit personal finance blogs with any frequency, you may have already heard of it.
LoveDrop.us is a microgiving site that matches donors with worthy causes and a family in need each month. It lets its members -- and those who want to occasionally help -- to contribute in a multitude of ways, from donations of as little as $1, to gift cards, supplies or services, such as accounting for unsuspecting recipients.
"J. Money" and St. Pierre are about as hands-on as charity founders come. They physically show up to the monthly recipient's house and surprise them with the money, goods and services that the members have donated.
Donors and recipients alike are empowered by the sense of community. So much so that those receiving help were inspired to help others.
"We were excited to see that this first family we helped (through Love Drop) actually just joined Love Drop," "J. Money" says.
"They are now contributing money every month to help our future recipients. We were blown away."
Love Drop is backed by recognizable business partners, such as Kona Grill, Edible Arrangements and Groupon, but the site wouldn't be around if it weren't for its members and their donations.
Though this microgiving charity is still in its infancy, the sky's the limit in terms of how far its founders can take it.
"We dream of eventually giving out cars, houses and even college tuition down the road," " J. Money" says. "How awesome would that be -- a fun mixture of Oprah and Extreme Home Makeover?"
But for now, "J. Money" and St. Pierre are looking for simpler things from those who want to help.
Naturally, since the site was sprung through social media, bloggers can get on board with Love Drop by simply spreading the word: By joining the Love Drop blogger network, bloggers receive free content each month that they can simply post to help promote the site's good works.
In 2008, prior to teaming with St. Pierre for Love Drop, "J. Money" wasn't even sure he could stick with blogging for his own site, Budgets Are Sexy.
"I had no plans. It was a miracle that I lasted a month without my ADD kicking in," he says.
Soon enough he was hooked on blogging and committed to his online business, learning how blogs, sites and companies are built on the Web. Of course, networking with others who share similar interests didn't hurt.
In spring 2010, "J. Money" and St. Pierre had each been invited to a luncheon at Google headquarters. Although they had known each other somewhat online, this was their first meeting in person. After talking, they realized that working together they had the potential to change lives. They made plans to launch Love Drop Jan. 1, 2011. And the rest is history.
Janet Stauble is the Social Media Community Manager for Bankrate.com. Connect with @Bankrate on Twitter or at Facebook.com/Bankrate.