[uf-new] Tweaking hListing for microphilanthropy

Michael Everett-Lane michael at donorschoose.org
Tue Apr 17 14:56:27 PDT 2007

DonorsChoose.org, where I work, both gives grants (to teachers) and
receives them (from the public). We have thousands of proposals that
public school teachers have posted on our site, and individuals can give
directly to those projects. See here for an example of one of our


Similar microphilanthropy sites include Kiva, Modest Needs, Global
Giving, and GiveMeaning. All are essentially philanthropic marketplaces
that bring together givers and recipients. And thus all could benefit
from opening our data in a way that would make them accessible beyond
our own websites. (Some of my ideas I've posted at
http://triptronix.net/ishbadiddle/archives/2007/02/15/15.20.40/ )

I had initially thought we needed a new format (hGive) but thankfully
was put straight by Benjamin who suggested here that I should look into

I think with a few tweaks, hListing could be used for microphilanthropy,
and for volunteer clearinghouse sites as well:

* Adding 'Donate', as Rohit suggested on
http://microformats.org/wiki/hlisting-feedback#Donations , to the set of
"listing actions" would enable both offering and seeking items (and
cash) to be donated.

-- So an organization seeking a donation would format it Listing Type:
Wanted, Listing Action: Donate, Listing Item: Cash

-- Someone looking to donate an old PC would format it Listing Type:
Offer, Listing Action: Donate, Listing Item: Product

-- An organization trying to find a volunteer would have Listing Type:
Wanted, Listing Action: Donate, Listing Item: Service

* Some organizations (like Kiva) are doing microloans, instead of
microphilanthropy. So in addition to Sell, Rent, Trade, Meet, Announce,
and Donate, "Loan" would be useful as a Listing Action. (Could also be
useful for facilitating borrowing relationships of items.)

* One other addition to hListing that might be useful in this context is
"Cost" (in addition to "Price"). In a commercial setting (say, you're
trying to sell a used item on eBay), Cost would represent what you paid
for the item. So Price - Cost would get you the markup (or markdown). In
a philanthropic context, Cost would represent the cost to make a project
happen. If the project were already partially funded, then Price < Cost,
and Price / Cost would give you the % remaining to completely fund that
project. (Many microphilanthropy sites bundle lots of donations to make
up one project.) That's probably the least important tweak but I thought
I'd put it out there while I was thinking about it.

Thanks and I look forward to your feedback on this.

-- Mike Everett-Lane

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