How It Works

Small Can Be Big lets you help someone in need right now—even if you don’t have a lot to give.

Whether it’s helping to save a local low-income family from homelessness, a medical crisis, or domestic violence, your small donation makes a huge difference.

  1. Identify those in need

    A local non-profit identifies a family in urgent need of specific, one-time financial help—and refers them to Small Can Be Big.

    Who gets help?

    Whether the crisis is foreclosure, medical costs, or domestic violence, sometimes a single bill or expense is all that stands between a low-income family and homelessness—and often, that one payment can pull them back from the edge. Our partner non-profits seek out such families and help them get back on their feet. (If you are in need of help, check out our resources for families page.)

    Who are these community partner organizations?

    We work with respected local organizations and non-profits with expertise in social services, housing, and related issues. Together, they’ve helped thousands of families in need. For a full list of all our partner charities, click here.

  2. Post their story & solicit micro-donations

    Our volunteer writers create a profile of the family, describe their situation—and ask for donations from you.

    Relying on the power of social sharing, we create a specific page to accept donations for the family in need. You can donate, either a little or a lot, and share the story with your network so others can help. 100% of your donation goes directly toward helping—not just a percentage.

    Because the needs of families on Small Can Be Big have specific deadlines (since they're very real things like rent and utility bills)—and we need to make room for additional low-income families in dire need—on average there is a 30-day window for fundraising for each specific case. If the need is not met by the deadline, we cover the shortfall with money from our General Fund, a resource created by supporters of our mission. To donate to the General Fund, click here.

  3. Follow the outcome & update our community

    Our volunteers track the outcome, and post the story to the site—so we can see what happened, together.

    After the fundraising deadline has passed, one of our volunteer writers creates a follow-up post on the family’s page to tell the story of how things turned out. We notify all relevant donors of this update, and give them the opportunity to share the story with their friends and social networks. To see some of our success stories, click here.

    Then, we start over...and do it all again.

Curious about our history?
Learn the story of Small Can Be Big here »

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Our Story

Learn more about how Small Can Be Big got started.

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