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eBay Visualizes The Global Outpouring Of Typhoon Haiyan Charity, Dollar By Dollar

More than $23 million in donations poured in from around the world after the disaster hit, one of the largest charitable responses on eBay’s platforms to date.

When Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines last November, Sean Milliken, the director of nonprofit strategy at eBay, quickly got in touch with disaster response charities like the American Red Cross and Save the Children. Within 24 hours, he was sending out campaign appeals on several charities’ behalf to eBay and PayPal users in countries around the world.

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Now eBay has put together a neat visualization that shows the outpouring of giving that happened across all of its platforms in the 30 days after the typhoon.


Click here for the interactive version, and you can see each donation along with where it came from in the world. In total, 563,622 people from 162 countries used eBay or PayPal to donate a total of $23 million in the 30 days after the typhoon made landfall, killing more than 6,000 people and leaving millions of people homeless. Some was in response to the company’s direct appeals, but many people also used PayPal to give directly to charities on their own. Eighty percent of the $23 million was raised in the first 10 days.

Those donations came from three sources, as you can see in the visualization: People who used PayPal to send money to a charitable organization, eBay sellers who checked a box to donate a portion of their profits to charity, and eBay buyers who opted to give charity while making a purchase. (eBay did not collect any fees for the vast majority of donations, with the exception of one charity in one country that was a special case, according to Milliken.)

“One of the things that stands out to me is how small acts of giving can have an impact,” says Milliken, noting that people gave anywhere from one penny to $20,000. Interestingly, at more than $300,000, the Philippines itself gave the fourth largest dollar amount among nations. “This really was a story of scale, and that was what we are trying to bring through in the data visualization,” he says.

All in all, the $23 million represented only about 4.5% of donations made through eBay and PayPal platforms in 2013, which totaled to $4.9 billion. But the disaster marked one of the largest charitable responses on eBay’s platforms to date to a single major event, though Milliken attributes this as much to the company’s savvier and faster response appeals as to people’s increased levels of digital giving. For comparison, people used eBay and PayPal to donate $10 million in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Explore the graphic here.

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About the author

Jessica Leber is a staff editor and writer for Fast Company's Co.Exist. Previously, she was a business reporter for MIT’s Technology Review and an environmental reporter at ClimateWire

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