Before You Spend Another Penny...
by Jen Hatmaker on November 1st, 2012

You know sometimes when you hear an idea, and in no small way, it totally blows your mind, and you think I am so happy to live in a world where smart people think up smart stuff like this? Well. Sit down. Because do I EVER have the best idea to share with you, and I am going to absolutely insist upon penalty of death gently encourage you to join me in it.

Step 1: Watch this. Seriously. It's like one minute, and this is THE STUFF:

So here's the deal: We spend money. All the time. Sometimes it's exciting things like vacations and iPads. Other times it's slightly less glamorous, like diapers and Windex. But we're spending. And the stores we spend at have historically managed their own charitable giving. They give a portion of their proceeds to amazing work like...well...we have no idea. There is a major disconnect between our purchasing dollars and their corporate philanthropic giving.

But Pure Charity gets this great idea: Let's bridge that gap and allow the consumers to decide where their little percentage goes. If Target agrees to donate 1.5% of your total purchase, then how about you decide what project that 1.5% funds? And so, like magic, the way we are already spending, already consuming, just living our lives turns into generosity.

It's the easiest, easiest thing ever, and I'm going to walk you through the steps:

1. Sign up for a Pure Charity account. ("Follow" me then scroll down to "Get Started" to make your own account. Following one another compounds our giving, because that is another way Pure Charity WINS THE UNIVERSE.) If you're on Facebook, you can sign in through that (which is great for sharing in the future), or you can sign up the old-fashioned way.

2. Install the browser plugin. This causes a cute little icon to pop up when you're shopping online at participating vendors, and with a simple *click*, a percentage of your purchase will be routed into your personal giving account with Pure Charity. And when I say participating vendors, yall, I'm talking about over 1000 stores like:

Target Gap Best Buy
Groupon Priceline Sam's Club
Apple Sephora Petsmart
Walmart Lowe's Forever 21

Are you kidding me with this???? I'm telling you, Pure Charity has convinced virtually all of our favorite stores to drink the PC kool-aid. These are the places we already shop. Can you imagine if we collectively harnessed a percentage of our regular spending for good? (Never mind. Pure Charity already imagined that.)

3. Register your main credit/debit card with Pure Charity. This is so brilliant, because every time you use that card at a participating vendor IN STORE, a percentage is automatically zipped over to your personal giving account. You have to do absolutely nothing at all. (Not every online vendor has an in-store partnership, so when in doubt, online shopping will always build up your personal giving account. Plus, who wants to shop in the store when you can do it online?? asks the shopping-hater.)

4. Now, browse the projects. Well...JUST WAIT A MINUTE. For perhaps, just perhaps I have an idea here already. Oh sure, you'll see clean water initiatives and AIDS interventions and whatnot, but if you'll not get distracted by inferior projects just wait a few more teeny days, I have something awesome we can pool our collective impact for, and you're going to want to know about it. I promise.

5. Support your favorite project. (You can change the amount you support…it starts with $5 increments…by clicking the dollar amount and changing it.) These are time specific projects with a set amount of $. If that project doesn’t fund by the finish date, Pure Charity refunds the money back into your giving account. But again...kindly wait just a few baby days, because I clearly have an ulterior motive here.

6. Share it with friends! There’s a strong social connection to this, where you can share buttons and widgets with your friends and followers, to generate interest in a cause you’re passionate about.

Pure Charity offers a redemptive opportunity to harness consumerism for great good. It's just so brilliant. Good reader, please make a Pure Charity account. Please share this blog with every person you know. Did you know that in the next two months, Americans will dole out roughly 40% of our entire annual spending? If ever there was a time to capitalize on capitalism, it is surely now.

Christmas spending...harnessed for good.

Holiday travel...used for charity.

Spending on our families...equals spending on others.

May I ask you to share this blog like it's your job? Let's get everyone we know signed up for Pure Charity, because with virtually no effort, it will redeem our regular spending, bit by bit, purchase by purchase, to change the world.

And once you all have your accounts in place...I have a little project to back. We're going to do something amazing together between now and December 25th. Oh, yes we are. YES WE ARE.

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Krystle - November 1st, 2012 at 3:31 PM
Insane. Amazing. Mouth Gaping Open.
Mary Lou Craig - November 1st, 2012 at 3:36 PM
I love, love this idea. You'll post news of the "project" on FB?
Jen Hatmaker - November 1st, 2012 at 4:01 PM
Rebecca Sorensen - November 11th, 2012 at 7:10 PM
How do you sign up as a Charity? To receive? This is a great idea!
Dana - November 1st, 2012 at 3:42 PM
Who came up with this?! Let's all go kiss them on the mouth.
Shelley - November 1st, 2012 at 3:42 PM
Such a simple and powerful concept! I'm on board!
Carrie Stephens - November 1st, 2012 at 3:47 PM
I have been aching for something like this. I keep thinking about Christmas, planning the African necklaces we will buy for our moms, cool handmade gifts our dads, etc. But I get nauseous when I consider our options for our kids given the fact that they aren't so into handmade anything. Whoo hoo! Our Christmas money is going somewhere, baby!!
Bri - November 1st, 2012 at 3:47 PM
I do like this idea. However, I think it is super important for people to shop local and not at "big box" stores. This is a good idea for people who don't either have the option to shop local or won't...but it also seems like this would encourage people to filter their dollars away from buying from local companies/individual merchants (which kind of stinks).
Eve - November 1st, 2012 at 3:52 PM
Totally agree.
Jen Hatmaker - November 1st, 2012 at 4:01 PM
Not so! There is an entire "local" option on Pure Charity which you access by putting in your zip code. Also, one of their biggest accounts is Groupon, which is largely local businesses. From a higher view, none of us only spend locally or only spend at big box stores. This is not an either/or thing. For the times we spend at the big stores, we'll make sure our purchases are counting for good.
Kristin - November 1st, 2012 at 4:12 PM
Bri, Pure Charity thought of that too! :) you can purchase from Living Social, Groupon and over 90 other daily deal sites from across the country allowing us to shop with local merchants while still building our giving fund and making a difference with projects that speak to us all around the world. If there's a local merchant not participating they can contact Pure Charity and be added to the already amazing list :)

Lynda - November 1st, 2012 at 3:50 PM
So, this is fantastic. I am a missionary with a small not-for-profit that feeds starving children. How can I get us registered with Pure Charity?
Jen Hatmaker - November 1st, 2012 at 4:03 PM
Lynda, here is the link to becoming a "field partner" with Pure Charity:

Kate - November 1st, 2012 at 3:51 PM
I loooove this idea, but I am in Australia so I'm guessing the link up with the US stores Target etc won't work for me. Keen to hear what your soon-to-be-announced project is though....maybe I can come on board with that :)
Jen Hatmaker - November 1st, 2012 at 4:04 PM
Yes you can, sister. But also, much of this is online shopping, so don't count yourself out. They literally have over 1000 vendors. If they ship to Australia, then they'll take your dollar, and Pure Charity will make sure that dollar counts.
Bev - November 1st, 2012 at 4:50 PM
Just looking into this, since I'm in Canada. Here's what it says on the website:

At this time only residents in the United States can take advantage of the Rewards Network and directly contribute to their Giving Fund. While we make plans to rollout Pure Charity worldwide as soon as possible, our portfolio of projects and Field Partners is already a global mix.
Jen Hatmaker - November 1st, 2012 at 5:06 PM
Just checked with my PC friends, and they said this isn't the case, your dollars WILL count toward the projects you want to back. The FAQ on this is wrong, and they are fixing it asap.
Sarah Bessey - November 1st, 2012 at 5:08 PM
I'm Canadian, too, Bev, and I checked with Pure Charity. Turns out that FAQ is wrong and they're updating it today. If we shop at those same retailers, we can do the same things. And apparently they're adding Canadian retailers soon, too. But in the meantime, if we Canucks purchase through those retailers, we still get the charitable account kick in and then the ability to fund projects.
Bev - November 1st, 2012 at 8:36 PM
Fantastic! Thank you!
Maja Burton - November 1st, 2012 at 3:59 PM
the suspense is killing me, Jen! You're such a tease!
Jenn - November 1st, 2012 at 4:00 PM
Danielle May - November 1st, 2012 at 4:04 PM
And everyone should totally rock out their Pure Charity heart smiled and did a happy flip when I saw a guy on a moped with a Pure Charity sticker on the back!!! Seriously this stuff is genius:)
Elizabeth - November 1st, 2012 at 4:09 PM
Jen, can we contribute in a hands on fashion too? I have a mother/son service organization (DFW area) and am ALWAYS exploring neat things for our moms and boys to do during the school year. We put about 100 volunteers into the local community each month, have a volunteer base of about 325. We believe volunteering is good for you, but better for someone else!
Lisa - November 1st, 2012 at 4:26 PM
Just requested my invite!
Jen Hatmaker - November 1st, 2012 at 4:28 PM
No need to request an invite! Just come "follow" me on Pure Charity, and you'll be all set to make your own account! Here you go:
Drewe Llyn Jeffcoat - November 2nd, 2012 at 6:25 AM
Glad I just saw this, because I, too, just requested an invite and wondered how long it might take to receive it. Thanks!!!!
AmyCaroline Wilks - November 3rd, 2012 at 10:03 PM
This may sound like I'm computer illiterate but.... how do I "follow" you? I put the above in my browser, saw your followers but don't see the way to add myself as a follower.

Okay this is starting to sound really weird.
Jen Hatmaker - November 5th, 2012 at 11:16 AM
Go to the link just above: and you can follow me from there!
Angie Coburn - November 6th, 2012 at 11:52 AM
I'm there, but I don't see how to "follow". Sorry to be lagging behind!
Stephanie smith @ buttons & bows - November 1st, 2012 at 4:32 PM
This is so awesome!
Michelle - November 1st, 2012 at 4:40 PM
I wish there was a way to do this using cash. . .we use cash for budgeting. I am going to register my debit card for the very few times I use it (better than nothing) but it would be awesome if they came out with some sort of card you can swipe like you would a rewards card for us cash users!
nancy - November 2nd, 2012 at 12:42 PM
I was thinking the same thing -- we do most of our shopping with cash so we can stick to our budget. Maybe they will create an card/account number system for us throwbacks . . .
Kate - November 1st, 2012 at 4:59 PM
just heard about this a week or so ago! Pretty cool! But I would like to know how they choose their charities and how I can know they are legit? I was confused about that part on the website
Jen Hatmaker - November 1st, 2012 at 5:07 PM
Pure Charity has a rigorous application process for field partners. They have to meet certain criteria. You can find out more here:
michell - November 1st, 2012 at 5:14 PM
I would love to see Feed My Starving Children on here. Wonderful idea. I'm signing up.
Erin - November 1st, 2012 at 6:33 PM
Oh my word! I am so excited about that! I can't wait to hear what your plan is! I'm totally all over this now! My little 8 year old raised over $6,000 this year for a clean water well in Africa...what if we could do that just by buying the things we need to buy anyway?! What?! Awesome!
Carolyn Farrell - November 1st, 2012 at 6:39 PM
well it looks like you're still speaking to me- will share with my husband and church and see where it goes. God Bless you!
Sam - November 1st, 2012 at 7:48 PM
You also need to check out Forgo You round down your purchases (medium soda instead of large) and send the difference to charity. Awesome!
Jen D - November 1st, 2012 at 8:15 PM
What a simple, small and perfectly impacting way for us to all add up together for big change. So perfect. God is leading us all toward change through you, Jen! I have tickets to attend the Crown Ministries conference you are speaking at in January. So looking forward to hearing more and more about how you put your passion to practice! Your voice is changing a small group of women at my church here in Peoria, IL, which makes my little UT Alumni, Austin loving tail rejoice! Thank you for the time you take to inspire us!
Melanie - November 1st, 2012 at 8:19 PM
This is awesome! So excited to have this option!
Linda Bolt - November 1st, 2012 at 8:30 PM
OK, I'm in. I think I might have been already? But, now for sure. I'm looking for Help One Now on there, because that's how I had first heard of this. I will wait patiently a few days, for the Big Announcement.

I hope it's for Haiti, because that's where my heart lies.
Jackie - November 1st, 2012 at 8:47 PM simple and AMAZING! Thanks for being the platform and letting us SCREAM together for good! Awesomeness!
Cindy Finley - November 1st, 2012 at 9:03 PM
Woo-hoo! So very excited! LOVE it! :) :) :) Thanks, Jen!
Camille - November 1st, 2012 at 9:12 PM
YAY! How exciting!! So every time I'm on-line shopping now, and my husband's all in my space saying "WHAT are you buying?!" I can say, "But Babe! It's for charity!" Awesomeness. :-) Sharing!
Deb - November 1st, 2012 at 9:20 PM
I'm in. Lead on
Raina - November 1st, 2012 at 9:21 PM
Can you register more than one card? I use Target's red card for everything there to save money, but a regular credit card everywhere else. And how safe is it really to register credit cards? I usually skip that option with merchants to protect it from database hackers, etc.
michelle - November 1st, 2012 at 10:14 PM
You can register two, and I did.
collin - November 2nd, 2012 at 4:38 PM
As secure as fort knox
Kelli H. - November 1st, 2012 at 9:38 PM
Roger that. Immediately signing up now.
WishTrish - November 1st, 2012 at 9:50 PM
I'm in. :)
Ellen - November 1st, 2012 at 11:50 PM
I'm a little confused - so the percentage is sort of donated by the businesses? Or a set percentage is added to the total shopping cost and then put in the PC account...?
Jen Hatmaker - November 2nd, 2012 at 5:22 AM
Donated by the business! They've been doing this for years, but the donation percentage usually goes to the charity of THEIR choice. Now it's yours. ;0)
Stephanie - November 2nd, 2012 at 7:56 AM
Oh wow! Thank you for this. thank you thank you thank you. Signing up, sharing, blogging. I can't wait to hear what your pet project it.
tonia booker - November 2nd, 2012 at 8:52 AM
will wait for further instructions!! :-)
Erin B - November 2nd, 2012 at 4:11 PM
There isn't an option to "follow" you when browsing from my phone? Anyone know if mobile browsers aren't suppported? I'll have to try from my computer.
Linda - November 3rd, 2012 at 2:50 PM
Wondering how safe this is and how one knows if the money goes where you want it to?
Cheryl Cain - November 3rd, 2012 at 9:16 PM
I love your blog and your thoughts on many a topic. And I know choice is a wonderful quality in the US. But I haven't seen anyone ask why these companies are giving money to charities to begin with. And the answer is because it is cheaper to do so than to engage in fair trade. If they make their consumers think they are doing *good* by shopping, they won't question the wages or working conditions of the people and places that make their goods. Real change is demanding justice... not charity.
Kendra Heffelfinger - November 4th, 2012 at 12:19 PM
I've scrolled the comments and forgive me if this is alreay there. Where is the PC button to install on our blog once we sign up?
Jen Hatmaker - November 5th, 2012 at 11:14 AM
Kendra, go here for buttons and banners for your blog:
Bob McMullen - November 4th, 2012 at 1:28 PM
Ok I read your Haiti blogs and want to help. My church has just had a raffle(yes gambling to support itself) and I silently just tried to ignore it. The money is going to what I would consider nongospel needs. So I was thinking of challenging our parish council to give the money away to folks in need instead. Buying a home for a Haitian family would be a great thing to suggest. Just wanted to check if I could get them to give $6000, it would guarantee a family a home and all the money would go directly to the Pastor St. Cyr and one of his families. It's not that I don't trust what you have already said - just need reassurance if I am going to challenge our little parish
Julie Lawrence - November 4th, 2012 at 4:29 PM
This is a fantastic Idea I will get signed up on this Now and tell all the girls that I went to your Midland conference with :) thanks Jen
dena - November 5th, 2012 at 7:57 AM
Awesome idea.I'm all signed up...just wish my favorite charity was listed!
I've only just recently found out about your books, and have read 7! I started a blog to follow my journey!
Gramjamie - November 5th, 2012 at 10:49 AM
I love the community aspect of this, I don't know dena, Julie, Bob, Kendra, etc, but we are all helping these causes, all over the world TOGETHER. I love it.

Margaret - November 5th, 2012 at 12:25 PM
great idea!
Jess - November 5th, 2012 at 3:16 PM
I am an idiot. I went to the link three times and a few when you first posted...there is just no 'follow' option anywhere. *sigh*
Aubrey - November 18th, 2012 at 9:42 PM
Same problem here!
Michelle - November 5th, 2012 at 6:33 PM
so, we're spending money again???
I just finished your book (among several others) and I've spent the last week avoiding retail. I've squeezed every last egg out of our (molting) hens who, in protest, have decided to hunker down for an early east coast winter. The effects of Hurricane Sandy have left us with empty gas tanks (though I'm not complaining b/c we were spared the devastating loss of home and property, save for a few trees).
Jen Hatmaker, you're twisting my arm to go online shopping...
but I'll do it.
Holly - November 5th, 2012 at 8:08 PM
Hi Jen,
Just wanted to tell you that I've been reading your posts for a bit now and I had no idea that God was using them to prepare me to discover the homeless family of six living in a tent, the children riding my children's school bus. We've been feeding and clothing and raising money and it is all glory in the strangest way. Glory like I am washing Jesus' dirty laundry and cooking his dinner. Thank you for helping to prepare my heart to break in this way.
Jennifer - November 5th, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Thank you for being at our church tonight. Your words were powerful and necessary. We at Crosspoint Church in Houston, TX have found a new friend in you.
Trennia - November 8th, 2012 at 6:22 AM
Tried to follow but it will not let me so I shared on fb....
Alysa - November 8th, 2012 at 3:25 PM
Can I just copy and paste this post onto my blog? Just kidding. Kind of. Off to share it with my readers now :)
Ashley - November 30th, 2012 at 2:16 PM
I liked to this post to encourage people to sign up for Pure Charity and help build a school in Haiti!
Ali - December 8th, 2012 at 1:15 PM
Dear Jen,
Thanks for messing with my head through your book 7. My hubs is out of town so I finished reading the section on giving stuff away last night. I read and read, put the book down and filled two large garbage bags with clothes, coats, and shoes to give away. Sadly, if you took before and after pictures of my closet, you could not even tell a difference. I'm excited for you challenge! I'm close to the Austin area and visited your church last weekend. Pretty cool. Great worship!
Be blessed!

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