Microphilanthropy is a model of philanthropy that is based on smaller, more direct interaction between "helpers" and "doers." Because of this finer level of granularity, it provides greater potential for feedback. It uses the definition of philanthropy as "love of humanity", which is broader than just charity or donating money. This opens up a broader range of activities such as volunteering, emergency response activities, mentoring, and many other patterns of uplift.
Big and Small
The value of this approach could be summed up as "getting small in a big way". If one is able to deal efficiently with a million small activities rather than only one activity a million times as large, a much larger group of people could be involved, engaged in a broader range of social interaction, and allow the system to discover and grow into new realms.
The key to a successful approach to Microphilanthropy is the ability to deal with a large number of small interactions efficiently. Really Simple Social Action is one model that seeks to layer micro philanthropic activities on top of much of the Web 2.0 architecture, including syndication, tagging, blogging, and categorization.
If a successful approach also includes implementing a fundraising drive that utilizes microphilanthropic resources connected to a specific charity, the approach must also include a structure or "middleman" technology that allows for an effective, efficient aggregation and distribution of microphilanthropic donations. For example, the US-based nonprofit Zidisha offers an eBay-style peer-to-peer microlending platform that link lenders and borrowers directly across international borders without local intermediaries. Zidisha "uses internet and mobile phone technology to deliver the key services needed to overcome the geographic barrier between lenders and borrowers - local credit history verification, low-cost electronic money transfers, independent tracking of borrower performance history - then gets out of the way and lets web users and entrepreneurs interact directly."
Microphilanthropy can be more easily focused and expanded if a collective, pre-existing, culturally accepted and in-place system harnessed the positives without the negative costs and multitude of transactional issues. An example of such a structure may be defined as the macrophilanthropic model and may be seen at macrophilanthropy.com.
Tourism and Microphilanthropy
Travelers play a key role in microphilanthropy. Travelers can support local craft-makers, musicians and others through gifts and financial purchases. Philanthropic donations of time, money, property and work have the power to create mutually beneficial experiences for travelers and locals. The challenge at hand is to evaluate how well travelers and locals actually engage each other.
Examples of Products which Leverage Microphilanthropy
There are a handful of products on the market which aim to facilitate or encourage small donations, such as the Art Moves Project, which manufactures artistic donation boxes that can be seen in libraries, museums, galleries, and other non-profit organizations. Such devises have been know to accumulate hundreds of dollars per day for medium organizations that are open to public foot traffic. According to the makers of the Spiral Wishing Well, the current one-day record for such a device is $40,979.37.  
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (July 2007)|