Selfless – A new way to give back

Since I hail from one of the snobbiest cities in the country (still haha-ing at this), it would make sense that I don’t like to share. But the thing is, I do! I do like to share, but I just don’t think I’m very good at it. What I mean by this is, I’m not good at helping people less fortunate than myself. In the past I would give a homeless person my pocket full of change, or buy some candy bars from the students going door to door to help send them to college, but that was really the extent. I haven’t really done too much volunteer work either. Basically, I’m terrible. But the silver lining here is that I’ve recognized this, and now that I’m making a decent living at a well paying job, it was time that I figure out a way to give back. I’d seen the commericals, we all have, for $1 a day, you can help change a child’s life. How many of you have called that number and donated? I’d bet a lot of money that a very large majority have not.

Enter Selfless. Selfless is a Chicago based organization started in 2009 that has developed an awesome way to help others while helping yourself. Does that really make the donations selfless? I just keep thinking about that episode of friends where Pheebs says that letting a bee sting her is selfless because he gets to look cool in front of all his other bee friends. But then it’s pointed out to her that the bee will now die after stinging her, making it a selfish act, rather than a selfless one. Well whatever, I think that Selfless is a genius idea that will get a lot more people helping out than they would have been before. Take me for example, might as well sign up to be their poster child!

The way it works is simple. Every month, you donate $9 to one of almost 30 different causes ranging from children’s hospitals to pet rescue to clean water to feeding the hungry, the list goes on and on. Check them all out here. 80% of your donation goes to the charity you chose. The other 20% goes to a 3rd party that runs their credit card processing fees and all the other things that go on behind the scenes that require monies, like keeping the website running and paying employees.

Once you decide which cause you want to donate to that month (I believe you can switch it up every month if you want to) you receive a digital Selfless card right away. They also mail you a physical one, but you gotta wait on the good ‘ol USPS to bring you that one. The other thing I like about the site is that it tells you x dollars can do this for your charity. They’ve set it up to really help you understand that your contribution plus however many others can do something very specific. I’m doing a terrible job at explaining that part. Here’s an example from the website.


Ok, now you get it. From there, you can browse your Perks. Who doesn’t love a good perk? I mean that’s what I always say, perks on perks on perks! These range from bars and restaurants that you can get a free appetizer or 20% off your meal, or a week free at Equinox, or discounts at salons and spas, just really a ton of legit stuff. And they’re places that are popular in the city, not places you’ve never heard of, that’s the best part if you ask me. Most of the places you just have to show them the card on your phone (or the real one) and boom, you’re in. But some things are online, so on each perk it politely explains redemption directions.

On top of that, they host sponsored events throughout the city, like this weekend, the new Pearl Tavern is teaming up with Selfless for a Havana Nights themed party. I seriously would be going to this if we weren’t going to be in the ‘burbs for Max’s birthday, because, complementary drinks and oysters. Duh. In the past they’ve done Cubs rooftop parties or roofdeck yoga parties. I think they like having parties on decks, and so do I, so that works out pretty well for me.

So yes, $9 might not seem like a lot, but if Selfless can get people on board who weren’t normally looking to shell out their dough, then they’re at least bringing in more money to these causes than they were before. Worked on me. I honestly said to myself after I signed up, “Well shit, I should help out more often, this really makes me feel like a better person!” So, take a look, and think about if you can spare $108 a year, because most likely, you can, and you probably should! And make sure you share this with a friend, the more the merrier, even in the summer!


  • Ashley

    The Friend’s reference had me cracking up! Selfless sounds like a great organization!