Full Disclosure: The First 72 Hours of PayPal Donations

[Updated] In the first 72 hours of officially starting PayPal donations, there have been over 152 separate donations totally over $3,400. Wow.

Let me put it this way. More money has been raised in just the past 72 hours than I have directly spent on helping others during my entire project to date. If our political leaders were as conscious and considerate about third world poverty as those who read this blog than global poverty would have ended ages ago.

This experience has also shown me just how hard it is to make sure every dollar reaches those in need. Even though I have yet to touch a single penny that has been donated, PayPal has already taken 3.2%. [Update June 12th, 2008PayPal charges a variable service charge. For large donations, the percentage seems to be around 3.2%. But, for smaller donations such as $1, the service charge is over 30%] That means of the $3623.30 donated within the first 72 hours – PayPal already scooped up $156.49 for themselves.

Assuming I withdraw this money the same way I have been withdrawing donations from my family (through the local ATMs) there will be a 1% currency conversion fee for every dollar I withdraw. So that means – before any money gets to help anyone – between the banks and PayPal – over $190 never reaches it’s destination.

This is part of the reason I was suggesting everyone seriously consider donating to one of my recommended charities. Many of them use their tax exempt status to negotiate better rates with online donation services and banks. Although, even these charirties have to pay some fees – and some of their money goes to PR and paying their staff.

I’m starting to wonder just how much of “a cup of coffee a day” actually reaches the final destination…

17 Responses to “Full Disclosure: The First 72 Hours of PayPal Donations”


  1. 1 Adam Willis

    Thank you for being so upfront about this. I was aware of the paypal fees, but I’m sure some were not and will appreciate the information!

    Again, thank you so much for what you are doing. It has really opened my eyes to a lot of things and helped me realize that everyone really can make a big difference. You are providing much need perspective to many people. Thank you!

  2. 2 Adam Willis

    Thank you for being so upfront about this. I was aware of the paypal fees, but I’m sure some were not and will appreciate the information!

    Again, thank you so much for what you are doing. It has really opened my eyes to a lot of things and helped me realize that everyone really can make a big difference. You are providing much need perspective to many people. Thank you!

  3. 3 Shawn

    Hey Adam, corruption is a huge problem in Bangladesh with a lot of the NGOs and charities. That is one thing I definitely DON’T want to emulate with my work here. πŸ™‚ I think part of the reason some of these agencies become corrupt is because it is so easy to hide things.

    Even when I WANT to track every dollar – it’s pretty hard because of all these fees applied at different stages. And the fact I am withdrawing everything via ATM makes it even harder – because you can have to round up or round down to a number ending in zeroes when withdrawing from an ATM.

    So hopefully reporting like this makes me as transparent as possible. And hopefully more up-front than most NGOs and charities here…

  4. 4 Shawn

    Hey Adam, corruption is a huge problem in Bangladesh with a lot of the NGOs and charities. That is one thing I definitely DON’T want to emulate with my work here. πŸ™‚ I think part of the reason some of these agencies become corrupt is because it is so easy to hide things.

    Even when I WANT to track every dollar – it’s pretty hard because of all these fees applied at different stages. And the fact I am withdrawing everything via ATM makes it even harder – because you can have to round up or round down to a number ending in zeroes when withdrawing from an ATM.

    So hopefully reporting like this makes me as transparent as possible. And hopefully more up-front than most NGOs and charities here…

  5. 5 Rachel Icaza

    I had no idea there was so much money to be made when trying to help others. Thanks for educating us about the realities of charity work. Thanks also for your integrity – it is both refreshing and inspiring. So if the NGOs and your recommeneded charities are already taking a cut, how can a person like me here in CA help you do what I cannot do for the people of Bangledesh? Again, thanks so much for what you’re doing – keep up the great work! I can’t wait for your next video. Take Care πŸ™‚

  6. 6 Rachel Icaza

    I had no idea there was so much money to be made when trying to help others. Thanks for educating us about the realities of charity work. Thanks also for your integrity – it is both refreshing and inspiring. So if the NGOs and your recommeneded charities are already taking a cut, how can a person like me here in CA help you do what I cannot do for the people of Bangledesh? Again, thanks so much for what you’re doing – keep up the great work! I can’t wait for your next video. Take Care πŸ™‚

  7. 7 Rachel Icaza

    I had no idea there was so much money to be made when trying to help others. Thanks for educating us about the realities of charity work. Thanks also for your integrity – it is both refreshing and inspiring. So if the NGOs and your recommeneded charities are already taking a cut, how can a person like me here in CA help you do what I cannot do for the people of Bangledesh? Again, thanks so much for what you’re doing – keep up the great work! I can’t wait for your next video. Take Care πŸ™‚

  8. 8 angel of life

    I’m proud of you and I fully expect and understand that some of the money we donated to you will go to these things. They are beyond your control and I think we understand that. If it is beyond your control, I am perfectly okay with that.

    I think you’re doing a great job. I’m really looking forward to seeing your next vids!! πŸ™‚ I want to see the kids that it helps. πŸ™‚

    Keep up the good work, Shawn.

  9. 9 angel of life

    I’m proud of you and I fully expect and understand that some of the money we donated to you will go to these things. They are beyond your control and I think we understand that. If it is beyond your control, I am perfectly okay with that.

    I think you’re doing a great job. I’m really looking forward to seeing your next vids!! πŸ™‚ I want to see the kids that it helps. πŸ™‚

    Keep up the good work, Shawn.

  10. 10 Shawn

    Hey πŸ™‚

    I still haven’t shown all the places where I spent my own Xbox 360 savings yet. The next few episodes will probably deal with that first.

    Although I try and keep a regular upload schedule, it does take time to plan and travel to the various places in order to properly use my resources/money. So – unfortunately – it might be a little bit until we can see where the donations go.

    But in the interim, there is still tons of footage I have yet to share that shows where my own money (before I started accepting donations) has been going πŸ™‚

  11. 11 Shawn

    Hey πŸ™‚

    I still haven’t shown all the places where I spent my own Xbox 360 savings yet. The next few episodes will probably deal with that first.

    Although I try and keep a regular upload schedule, it does take time to plan and travel to the various places in order to properly use my resources/money. So – unfortunately – it might be a little bit until we can see where the donations go.

    But in the interim, there is still tons of footage I have yet to share that shows where my own money (before I started accepting donations) has been going πŸ™‚

  12. 12 Minhaz Ahmed

    Dear Shawn,
    I have no words to express my feening after I saw your youtube videos! I am a Bangladeshi, working with NYC Department of Education, and running a Bangladeshi charity organization in NY. I like to contact you to learn more about your aactivities and projects. I a;so like to invite you to tell your expreience to the volunteers working with me and the Bangladeshi community in NY,
    Please reply this mail ASAP.
    Warm Regards.
    Minhaz

  13. 13 Minhaz Ahmed

    Dear Shawn,
    I have no words to express my feening after I saw your youtube videos! I am a Bangladeshi, working with NYC Department of Education, and running a Bangladeshi charity organization in NY. I like to contact you to learn more about your aactivities and projects. I a;so like to invite you to tell your expreience to the volunteers working with me and the Bangladeshi community in NY,
    Please reply this mail ASAP.
    Warm Regards.
    Minhaz

  14. 14 Owen

    You being so up-front about everything inspires confidence, but you’re also helping educate people to the reality of how complicated it can be actually trying to do something constructive. The complications mustn’t stop you but it’s important to know that they’re there. Well done.

  15. 15 Owen

    You being so up-front about everything inspires confidence, but you’re also helping educate people to the reality of how complicated it can be actually trying to do something constructive. The complications mustn’t stop you but it’s important to know that they’re there. Well done.

  16. 16 keeley/pineapplegrassbracelet

    hi shawn,
    i’ll be watching for more blog posts here (there are so many to track all over the crazy web!)

    i think angel of fire, above, said it best. There will inevitably be expenses that must be covered; that’s half the battle of helping.
    i’m glad that we get to see what the expenses and hurdles are, since few cover the actual ins and outs of real time events happening in the ngo world. women for women international also does i pretty great job… imo…

    wanted to let you know that THIS is the type of blog/post that might be considered to be human rights nerdporn. ya. that great. keep writing!

  17. 17 keeley/pineapplegrassbracelet

    hi shawn,
    i’ll be watching for more blog posts here (there are so many to track all over the crazy web!)

    i think angel of fire, above, said it best. There will inevitably be expenses that must be covered; that’s half the battle of helping.
    i’m glad that we get to see what the expenses and hurdles are, since few cover the actual ins and outs of real time events happening in the ngo world. women for women international also does i pretty great job… imo…

    wanted to let you know that THIS is the type of blog/post that might be considered to be human rights nerdporn. ya. that great. keep writing!

  1. 1 An Open Letter to Solicitors | The Uncultured Project

Leave a Reply