When Trevor Rotzien was working in Saudi Arabia right after the first Gulf War in the early 1990s, he witnessed how many people around the world, particularly women, lack the opportunities heâ€™d always taken for granted. “If you’ve been exposed to other people’s pain in front of you, then there’s a sort of satisfaction of empathy when you give to a very specific cause and you know that your donation made it to that cause,” said Trevor, who started making donations through Jolkona right after our launch and has been a regular contributor since then.
As part of a series featuring Jolkona donors, I spoke with Trevor about his philanthropy and his experience with Jolkona.
Among the projects you support through Jolkona, which are particularly meaningful to you?
One that struck me pretty powerfully was the one where you could pay for the tuition for an Afghan girl for $40. What struck me was how trivial the cost was â€” it was just shockingly affordable. And it would cover the basic education of an Afghan girl for a whole semester. It was one of those social value propositions that it was almost repulsive to think of not doing, because when you start translating something like that into other units of value, like how many lattes would that be, you’re embarrassed not to support it.
What do you like most about donating through Jolkona?
I’ve experienced the large charities where you donate and it’s more or less a black hole â€” there’s no feedback, no validation, and there’s certainly no proof. And then there are rumors in the media about what percent of donations get burned up in administration and so on. One thing I love about Jolkona is that it takes away the mystery â€” everything is up front, everything is connected, the feedback is solid.
It’s also the speed, which satisfies the attention deficit of most people these days. And it’s easy, so there are very few impediments to giving. I like the fact that there are multiple paths [on Jolkona's website] to the donation, and none of them are very long.
What would you like others to know about Jolkona?
Three things: trust is possible, because the information is made available. So forget about any reluctance you’ve had in the past about giving.
And the other point, which is maybe more important: I think a lot of people don’t start giving because they think it’s expensive. But when you browse the projects that Jolkona supports, they range from five dollars to hundreds of dollars. The nice thing is, regardless of how little you have to give, there’s a project for you to give to. Believe me, it’s very satisfying to know that, if I can make just a little payment each month, there’s somebody across the world that has a huge benefit.
And third, regardless of what country you’re trying to help, Jolkona does offer projects both in the US and around the world, so geography’s no excuse either.
Trevor Rotzien lives in the Seattle area and is a product manager for Satori Software. A serial hobbyist, he is currently learning an obscure Chinese kung-fu style from a guy who doesn’t speak English. You can follow Trevor on Twitter @trevorrotzien and track the impact heâ€™s making through Jolkona by viewing his social portfolio.