The Milelion supports World Vision Singapore

The Milelion is free and will always be. That’s the principle I laid out at the onset and reiterated when I was writing reflections on The Milelion’s first year anniversary.  This principle has not changed. TL;DR- The Milelion doesn’t exist to make money, it exists to help people travel better for less.  At the same time, The Milelion’s growing readership presents a real opportunity to do some good. I’ve been thinking for some time how best to do this without changing the core principle of The Milelion.

As you can see from the trip reports that my guestwriters and I publish, we’ve been very blessed to enjoy some of the most amazing travel experiences available. Although we may “complain” about whether airlines serve vintage or non-vintage champagne or whether a seat is angled or full flat, we know that such “problems” are wholly, wholly insignificant when you consider there are many out there who will never so much as set foot on a plane in their lives. And that’s not to mention the many who will go to bed hungry or without a roof over their heads. Will donating money fix all problems overnight? No. But it’s as good a place as any to start.

This National Day The Milelion is proud to announce the launch of a year-long campaign to support the work of World Vision Singapore.

A Giving.sg campaign page has been set up with an initial target of $5,000 over the course of one year. It is currently pending approval by Giving.sg but I anticipate it will be live by the end of the week. 

I’ve never done this before, so I don’t know how realistic a goal this is. What I do know is that for the next year, every dollar The Milelion makes will be channeled to support this cause.

Who is World Vision?

World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Working in nearly 100 countries around the world, World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.

World Vision Singapore’s supported projects are located in Asia and the Pacific, East Africa, South Africa, and the Middle East. These projects are categorised into two broad areas:

  • Transformational Development Programmes through Child Sponsorship
  • Children in Crisis

Child Sponsorship is a holistic and transformational development programme that addresses the root causes of poverty, and helps children and entire communities become self-sustainable.

Children in Crisis projects reach out to children made vulnerable by unfortunate circumstances such as separation from family, traumatisation by disasters, family dissension or violence, being orphaned by diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and those who cannot be reached through Child Sponsorship.

You can (and should) read their detailed financials here, and their annual report here. KPMG audits World Vision Singapore, and less than 10% of donated funds are used for administration.

FY15 How Donations Were Used

How will The Milelion raise funds for World Vision Singapore?

No, we’re not going to put up a paywall, or a pay-per-view live webcam show (although I understand the latter is in great demand among the ladies). What we are doing is creating ways of raising funds while leaving the core experience unchanged.

(1) Consulting services

I’ve toyed with this idea for a long while now, not knowing exactly what form it will take. I’ve finally managed to set up a system that lets anyone book 30 minute one on one consultation slots with me.

During this session you can ask me any questions about

  • credit card spending strategies, sign up bonuses and usage patterns
  • trip planning and how to maximize your miles
  • airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • rental car programs, insurance and deals
  • my very excellent recipe for crabmeat linguine
  • whether he’s just not that into you anymore

You can of course continue to ask questions for free through this link or on the comments to articles. It won’t be the same level of personalized attention, but I’ll do whatever I can.

The regular rate is $50 for a 30 min consultation, but for the first month while I’m testing and refining the program, the rate will be $30. Depending on feedback and reception, this will be adjusted accordingly.

Currently I’m only able to open up four 30 minute slots on Saturday and Sunday, but based on demand I’ll definitely be looking to scale this up.  Consultations will be via the phone or Skype, although I’m exploring the feasibility of doing face-to-face meetups too in well-lit locations.

Book your session here.

(2) Google Adwords revenue

I’m sure you must have noticed the banner ads on the left hand side of the page, assuming you haven’t blocked them.

It’s probably because I’m hopeless at web design and ad optimization, but The Milelion hasn’t exactly set the world on fire when it comes to ad revenue. In any case, here are my Adwords stats as of today.

$160.13 has been deposited into my account as of now, which will be transferred immediately to The Milelion x World Vision Singapore once the campaign page is live. Subsequently, monthly donations will be made to the campaign as and when Adword revenue comes in.

If you find The Milelion useful, I’d like to request that you consider whitelisting it on your adblocker. We don’t do annoying pop-unders or autoplay videos. Ads on The Milelion are in compliance with the “acceptable ads” definition on Adblockplus. It’s an easy way for you to contribute to the cause.

(3) Proceeds from advertorials and external banner ads

The Milelion has been approached by a couple of finance startups and banks who are interested in running advertorials and banner ads on the site.

For banner ads, the same rules of engagement as above apply. They’ll be on the sidebar, not splattered across the page. This will not disrupt the readership experience. For advertorials, clear disclosure rules will be adhered to and articles will be tagged with disclaimers.

With corporate revenue, I realise it is inevitable that questions will be raised about objectivity and editorial standards. I would like to tell you straight out that  I am serious about editorial content on The Milelion and there is no amount of money you can pay me to promote a bad credit card (or a cashback card).  And also that Brand’s Essence of Chicken is the only health supplement endorsed by The Milelion. Brands- taste the quality today!

it really tastes awful though

(4) Kopi Money

If you think The Milelion is doing a great job and want to buy me a cup of coffee, why not send those funds to World Vision Singapore instead? You can make an ad-hoc donation of any amount to the campaign at this page.  The Milelion appreciates your donation and will remember you with fondness when it sets up its shadow government.

Other things you may want to know

  • Giving.sg used to give 4 miles per S$1 with DBS Woman’s World MC, but after the newly announced T&C I’m not sure if that holds true. because donations are explicitly excluded. That said, we know for a fact that not everything in the T&C is being strictly enforced. I will be making a test transaction both with HSBC Advance and DBS WWMC and will report back on whether 10X points are received.
  • World Vision is registered as a foreign charity with the Commissioner of Charities and therefore donations are not tax deductible. The policy sets by the Singapore Government requires that only gifts or donations to local charities with IPC status are entitled to tax-deductions.
  • Giving.sg levies a fee on donations received of 1.5% plus GST. So if $100 is donated, a fee of $1.605 is payable by the charity to Giving.sg to cover bank charges. In other words, 98.4% of your donations will go to the charity.

Conclusion

Although other options like releasing a “We are the World” cover song were considered at first, I decided in the end that this was the most ideal way of supporting a cause without causing any disruption to the day-to-day runnings of The Milelion.

I have no idea whether this will have any great impact. For all I know it could turn out to be really embarrassing and come SG52 we won’t have broken four digits. I don’t know. What I do know is that we will continue to do the good work that we do every day at The Milelion, and have faith that God will bless this project through all of us.

Acts 20:35 – “In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”

Thank you for supporting The Milelion.

Cheers
Aaron

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