Social news website Reddit is getting into the charity fundraising game.

Reddit users (or "redditors") have already been active fundraisers on sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, steering thousands of dollars toward charities and projects. Now the company is launching its own philanthropic side project, Reddit Donate, focused exclusively on nonprofit fundraising.

The licensed project, operated by payment start-ups Dwolla and Stripe, allows Reddit's topic managers to steer donations to certain verified nonprofit organizations by adding a “donate” button to their SubReddit topic pages.

"Our desire was to provide a bunch of different ways that redditors could fundraise and donate to a certain cause,” said Erik Martin, Reddit's general manager.

While most online donation services, like Kickstarter, take a cut of contributions, Reddit says it wanted more money to go directly to the nonprofit in need. “We thought the existing options out there for nonprofits took too much money,” Martin said. “Our desire was to get fees down as low as possible, so the money goes to the nonprofits.”

Donations of less than $10 made through Reddit Donate cost nothing for either the donor or the recipient. Larger donations will carry a fee paid to Dwolla or Stripe, but the donor can choose to absorb that cost rather than making the nonprofit pay it.

More than a dozen nonprofits have already been approved for donations, including Kiva, United Way of New York City, and Girls Who Code.

At publication time, HackNY, a educational program for online hackers, has received the most donations, at $407.26.

Published on: Aug 30, 2012