On a breezy, Brooklyn afternoon, Amy Crews and I sit on her porch as she talks about CharitySub, the organization she started with her husband Jim and their friends Alexis and Brian. We talk for hours, during which Amy pours forth a wealth of impassioned knowledge about the non-profit world, fundraising, and a countless number of issues. The idea of CharitySub is for people to subscribe to a $5 monthly donation and choose one out of three charities that address the same issue each month. It’s a full-fledged, full-time enterprise. It’s also what Amy gives much of her free time to, since she has a day job and for her, CharitySub is about creating a way to support causes without necessarily making a living off of it. Working nights and weekends and meeting weekly, team CharitySub is as committed as it gets.
The idea for CharitySub started from wanting to surface important causes the two founding couples felt it was important to educate people on. They tell the story of a cause and partner with three organizations that approach it from a different angle. The $5 monthly subscription cost makes participation affordable, while the diversity of approaches to each cause gives different people the opportunity to identify with different aspects of an issue. As Amy said, “while we’re all giving a little bit, collectively as a community, we’re really making a difference.” CharitySub has focused on issues ranging from childhood obesity to hunger, clean water, confidence through the arts, sex trafficking, and financial literacy to name a few.
This month the organization is celebrating its first anniversary, and is featuring the three most popular charities from the past year. At the end of each month, subscribers are sent a summary of their donation’s impact in the form of an info-graphic. All of the work done to date is US-based. As we discussed June’s issue, sex trafficking, Amy said, “it’s probably an issue that a lot of people don’t think of as a national issue,” but associate with third world countries. “We want to be educating individuals on these issues and why they should care about them… we thought it was important just based on our audience and our member base to really feature the issues that we have here at home.”
Amy is not only a brilliant, informed and creative woman, but the amount of energy she puts towards working to help others is truly impressive. Her humility is apparent as she discusses the causes she feels so passionate about – she has created an organization that helps others through educating an ever-growing audience about issues, rather than just focus on donations. Amy understands that to truly make an impact, people have to be pulled in and develop a passion, saying “our method is really arming individuals with facts about the issues, allowing them to understand what the root of the issue is, supplying them with facts and statistics so they can learn and can generate their own opinion one way or another, how they feel about that issue.”
The team behind CharitySub may only consist of four people, but they are visionaries in their own rights. Each person brings a skill to the table: Amy has a background in marketing, her husband Jim manages his own business, Alexis is an artist with graphic design skills, and Brian is the chief technology officer. One aspect of CharitySub that Amy feels strongly about is the work they do to promote each organization: “The organizations we select are all small to medium sized, so they’re the ones that don’t have huge funding budgets. They typically don’t have the funding create a video piece to tell their story, so we create these at no cost to them, and we really try to arm them with marketing materials we create. We really want to help drive awareness and give them these types of tools that we know they don’t have. We just want to help support them in the best way we can.”
After meeting with Amy, seeing her passion and commitment to helping others, and really just buzzing off the brilliance of the idea of CharitySub, I went home and signed up. Every month I get an email telling me about three charities working to address the same cause, every month I choose one to put my $5 donation towards, and a few weeks later I get the fun info graphic I know Alexis put together. Every month I learn of three new organizations doing work that inspires me to seek them out and become more involved. Amy’s work continues to grow and increase awareness where it’s needed, and her passion and commitment ensure that it will continue to do so for a long time.
Learn more about CharitySub