Altruisto is a browser extension which generates an affiliate commission for three charities when shopping at participating merchants’ sites.
Altruisto has partnered with over 1,000 companies such as Barnes & Noble, AliExpress, eBay, and Microsoft.
It is available for Chrome and Firefox, with versions for Opera and Edge soon to be available.
After installing Altruisto, when you visit one of the partner stores you see a special box with a button stating ‘Start raising money’. When you click the box and confirm your choice you are redirected back to the partner store. From then on, whenever you buy something Altruisto receives a portion of the price you paid. This is typically between 1% and 6%.
After deducting its running costs Altruisto donates the remainder of its income to three charities.
The organisation is a Community Interest Company, meaning that it has an obligation to use its profits and assets for the public good. Consequently it donates 100% of the remainder income to charities.
— Steven Pinker (@sapinker) August 21, 2017
How Altruisto works
It has chosen three charities to support, which tackle extreme poverty and global health. It has selected them based on recommendations from the Givewell site. This conducts “in-depth research into how well charities do what they are supposed to do and chooses the best one”.
— Liv Boeree (@Liv_Boeree) August 7, 2017
The three charities are:
- Against Malaria Foundation
- Schistosomiasis Control Initiative
- Give Directly
The startup plans to add more charities to benefit, but not to expand it beyond Givewell’s recommended charities.
An app is also planned to help make mobile purchasing via the browser even easier.
— Peter Singer (@PeterSinger) August 1, 2017
The browser extension has raised over $1,000 so far.
The source code of the extension is publicly available on GitHub for anyone to view, audit, and improve. As well as demonstrating transparency in how the extension works, this also means that other developers can participate in the development of the extension.
Altruisto does not operate a web version of its service, with services like daily deals, product feeds, vouchers, and coupons. In this way it differs from existing charity affiliate services like GiveAsYouLive, The Giving Machine, Easyfundraising and GoRaise.co.uk.
Since the browser was developed Amazon has extended its AmazonSmile donation service to charities in the UK. Does that remove the need for Altruisto when shopping on Amazon?
Altruisto’s FAQ points out that its other partners “usually donate 2-12 times more through Altruisto (1-6%) than Amazon does through Amazon Smile (only 0.5% of the final price)”. In addition its partner stores include products or services that are not available on Amazon, such as financial products and sports clubs’ official apparel.
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