Thinkgiving.com, a new Solvang-based startup, has come up with a creative way to combine online browsing with philanthropy. Robert Gerson, the company’s founder, saw the online community as the perfect way to bring creativity and charity together. His aim is to get people to use the website as their personal ad agency for charities they are fond of. Users can upload their videos, photos, and even personal artwork to the site, and can include links to charity groups.
Gerson, who has been a graphic artist for a number of years, originally wanted a site that would bring graphic artists together to showcase their work. Soon, though, he saw the potential the site could have for greater social contribution. Imagine uploading photos of yourself and your friends at the beach, on a hike, or in your garden, and instead including some witty description of the event; featuring a description of a charity that helps protect places like the ones in your photos. thinkgiving.com has started reaching out to area schools to get students involved and interested in the site with the goal of educating them about philanthropic efforts in the community. While the site is still new, Gerson says he has received nothing but positive responses from schools and community members.
In an attempt to promote the site, this Valentine’s Day thinkgiving.com will open its first ever online Video Philanthropy Contest. Participants can create a video with the purpose of thanking someone or something that has had an important impact on their life. Videos must be between 30 seconds and 5 minutes long. The judges, who will be artists and non-profit employees drawn from the community, will be looking for creativity and sincerity, with the story of the video being just as important as how it looks. Winning videos will be featured on the site and will be promoted to local media outlets. First place will receive $250.00 in gift cards to a store of their choice, and thinkgiving.com will also donate $2000.00 to the charity of the winner’s choice. Ultimately, thinkgiving.com hopes the contest will inspire people to think about what they have to be grateful for in life.
In the future, Gerson hopes to see the website expand and hopes to hold other contests that will include other mediums. For now, though, he is happy to let people use his site to promote their favorite causes, even if they don’t have the financial means to donate. “I think people may see the thinkgiving.com name and think we are simply a site for charity donations,” Gerson said. “But we are not about raising money; we are more about allowing people to raise awareness for their favorite charities and social causes.”
For more information on Thinkgiving and details about their upcoming video contest, visit thinkgiving.com.