While I don’t think I will ever understand why people spend $1 to send their friend a virtual Facebook gift, I do like the virtual gifts that Causes is selling.
With over 300,000 members, Causes is one of Facebook’s most popular applications. It allows users to donate to a good cause (any registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit or presidential campaign) and then encourage others to do the same.
To give back something somewhat tangible, Causes now allows you to give virtual charity gifts to your friends. Unlike Facebook’s gifts however, these aren’t just meaningless bitmaps.
Each Causes gift ranges from $10 to $200, and includes everything from a pair of blankets from the American Red Cross to an OLPC laptop from the OLPC Foundation.
The cost of the gift is the cost of the real world item, and each gift signifies an actual giving of that item to a real person.
It’s digital meets donation, and I dig the result.