Donate Your Desktop: Personalised advertising meets charity

Auckland startup Donate Your Desktop is combining digital advertising and charitable causes to improve the world – one desktop at a time. is just a couple of weeks old, but wants to unlock the potential of “personalised digital promotion” on the millions of computer desktops worldwide, while also supporting local and international charity organisations.

Although the triple bottom line concept is nothing new, the founders are passionate about their idea. Devised by Nelson Rayner, the model is as follows: A user downloads an app, giving their computer a new desktop background daily. User profiling means advertisers (such as HP) are matched with user demographics.

The backgrounds are promotions paid for by advertisers, but 75 percent of their fee goes to a charity of your choice. The remainder goes to Rayner’s limited company.

As director David Hillier puts it, you're essentially renting out your desktop space as advertising space, with the majority of the proceeds going to a good cause and none of this from the computer user's pocket.

The always-hard-up student or businessman who snubs street collectors can become a catalyst for good in the world, without spending a dime.

Hillier says the concept appeals to ad agencies because they are “guaranteed to hit almost 100 percent of your intended audience because nearly everyone is on a computer everyday, whether it's at home at work or on their lap".

 “This frequency makes the medium great for time conscious product launches, movie premieres and product sales,” he says.

“We thought it was a clever way to redirect advertising budgets to charities."

 In its very short lifespan, the website has managed over 3500 hits and 250 committed users.

If each user receives a branded desktop daily, one computer can generate more than $13 annually for the chosen charity. This may not sound like a lot but could add up if committed user figures continue to grow rapidly.

Hillier says it is their goal to reach 100,000 users in the New Zealand market – and at that audience size, he claims Donate Your Desktop will generate more than $1 million dollars for its partner charities a year. It plans to expand to new regions internationally, too.

The website chose to partner with four leading charities:  Oxfam New Zealand, The Starship Foundation, NZ Breast Cancer Foundation and WWF New Zealand. The charities were chosen to cover a wide range of interests and causes, as well as being well known to users.

In an age where advertising is creeping further into each facet of society, this intrusion to home and office life is perhaps balanced by the feel-good factor of giving to charities in need.

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