- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rachel Sklar is leading an effort to transform philanthropy by leveraging the power of online social networking via her new site, Charitini.com. Ms. Sklar, a former senior contributing editor for the Huffington Post who currently works with the media consulting firm Abrams Research, launched the site on her birthday to encourage her friends to make a small donation to one of Ms. Sklar’s favorite charities in lieu of buying her a birthday drink.

Sixty-two of her friends donated more than $1,000 on that day on Charitini.com. Donations varied in amount, from the cost of a drink to more than $50.

But Ms. Sklar notes, “It’s not about shaming people for not giving ‘enough.’ There is no ‘enough’ in times like this. Everything needs to be more affordable, and that includes karma. The idea is to introduce the idea of giving back, and to make the point that disposable income - what we use to buy drinks at a bar for a birthday party - can be used to do a little good.”

Word about Charitini is beginning to spread beyond Ms. Sklar’s immediate circle as more and more of her friends celebrate occasions online via Charitini and spread the word via Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and other social media.

While Charitini is currently a blog that links to donations and worthy causes, Ms. Sklar’s plan is to build a Web site that can securely take in donations and will have a social component that allows users to interact, post messages and “toasts,” and to allocate gifts to create a more complete interactive experience, pending funding.

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