DailyGiving.org Multiples $1 Donations to Make a Meaningful Impact on People’s Lives
May 11, 2022
5 min read
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Just as drips of water over millennia can carve out caves and canyons, one small mitzvah multiplied several times over can move mountains as well.
That’s the belief of Dr. Jonathan Donath, a chiropractor in White Plains, New York, who got an epiphany in 2018 while dropping a dollar bill into the tzedakah box at his shul. “No matter how much money I give to charity, I still get a mitzvah every time I drop a dollar in,” he thought. “How can I guarantee that I do this mitzvah every day for a buck?”
He looked for an organization that was doing this and couldn’t find one. So, he and a couple of his friends had a website built and created a nonprofit: dailygiving.org.
“We decided we wanted to give to a diversified portfolio of different organizations that were making a meaningful impact in people’s lives. We would pool donations and give as a community, making a meaningful impact by giving together.”
Donath was a big fan of famed author and speaker Rabbi Paysach Krohn and often listened to him on TorahAnytime.com. He reached out to Rabbi Krohn and asked for his help. “I wanted to get this famous rabbi to talk about Daily Giving the way he spoke about TorahAnytime. My heart was beating so fast when I called … He was amazing, and he loved the idea.”
With Rabbi Krohn’s help, Donath assembled a group of well-respected rabbis to form a rabbinical council to vet and approve the charities that would receive support from Daily Giving.
DailyGiving.org went live on Jan. 1, 2019. To date, more than 9,000 people from 34 countries give a dollar a day, and the nonprofit distributes almost $3.5 million a year. The organization has already given out over $4.4 million to more than 57 Jewish organizations so far, such as Camp HASC (Hebrew Academy for Special Children) Chai Lifeline, United Hatzalah, Kids Kicking Cancer, Magen David Adom and Yad Eliezer, as well as lesser-known nonprofits such as Yad Sarah, which enables disabled and terminally ill people to live at home or on their own with dignity, to Meir Panim, which helps to eliminate poverty across Israel.
“Let’s face it, Jews range from Reform to Ultra-Orthodox and there’s not a lot we all agree on, but what could make God happier than if we give charity together to our less fortunate brothers and sisters?” he said. “There’s so much need in the world. Individually, we can’t give to everyone. But collectively, we can have a massive impact!”
Every single penny collected by Daily Giving goes to charity. For any salaries paid, Donath fundraises separately. To ensure that all goes to charity, a slight surcharge is added to pay credit card processing fees. People can sign up for a monthly donation of $31.20 or an annual donation of $376.
Making a Difference Daily
Each day, donors receive an email telling them where their money went that day with a brief description of the nonprofit receiving the funds. “We find that many people use Daily Giving as a ‘charity navigator’ because they know the organization was well-vetted. This means the nonprofits we choose are also gaining exposure and additional donations,” Donath said.
Donath has heard from families who give a dollar for each family member and say it’s an unbelievable way to teach their children about how important it is to give tzedakah and expose their children to giving at an early age.
Some donors have signed up for someone who has died to uplift their neshama. Others have started giving as a gift for a bar/bat mitzvah or graduation. Some have given in the name of someone who’s sick in the hospital or even unconscious so they can continue doing mitzvot.
Donath recalls one email he received from a donor named Dalia, who signed up for Daily Giving on behalf or her father, who is in a rehabilitation hospital with limited use of his body.
“Charity is very important to him and before he got sick, he used to collect a lot of money for different charities. I video call him, but as he cannot speak, I do all the talking,” she wrote. “I am always looking for something to say that will interest and stimulate him. Daily Giving has given me something to talk about with him as well as hopefully make him feel that even though there are so many things he cannot do, he can still give charity.”
Lema’an Achai, an Israeli ani-poverty nonprofit, uses Daily Giving’s donation to further the work of Smart Chesed, which gives a hand up to those in crisis. “Daily Giving’s program allows us to be a part of a wonderful initiative of ‘compounded tzedakah,’ where many people constantly giving (even) small amounts adds up to significant sums. As the Rambam recommends: many acts of giving have more impact than giving a one-time one large gift,” they wrote.
Donath adds that it’s an easy way to ensure you fulfill the daily mitzvah of tzedakah. He said his ultimate goal is to donate $100,000 a day. “I’m confident we can get there,” he said.