Forget about throwing virtual barnyard animals or smooshing your thoughts into 140 characters, Australian online community Wishbook has loftier ambitions.
Moved by the destruction of 2009’s Black Saturday bushfires, which claimed 173 lives and left thousands homeless, Wishbook founder Alex Kain decided to create a permanent website where folks could interact and help others in need.
“There was plenty of news coverage about how people had been impacted by this disaster,” Kain says.
“Yet the only way to reach out was to donate to the likes of the Red Cross.”
“Whilst they do a wonderful job, I still felt somewhat disconnected from the individuals that were affected.”
“I yearned for a way to… make a difference that I could also experience.”
“Perhaps it was just selfish but I wanted to help someone and see the results of that help first-hand.”
Two years later, Wishbook launched in November 2011
Soon the Wishbook concept expanded beyond disaster relief.
“Anyone can make a wish on the site, but it’s up to the Wishbook community as to whether it will be granted.”
According to Kain, response to the Wishbook concept has been positive from the get-go.
“Everyone wanted to get involved.”
“Businesses offered all sorts of goods and services so I decided to set up a section where anyone could donate something they no longer needed that might benefit someone else.”
“We have had donations for everything from adjustable beds to clothing and even large screen televisions.”
Wishbook: the go-to site for people in need
Although Wishbook’s still in its infancy, Kain hopes it will become *the* portal for peeps with the greater good in mind.
“Rather than just listing [an item] on eBay, why not consider giving it to someone needy?”
“Likewise I would like to see charities and community organisations begin to use Wishbook to source for their members.”
“Another big thing on my list is to establish a foundation with tax deductible status so we can raise greater amounts through donations… that can be dispensed to fulfil larger wishes.”
Wishbook wishes granted
While it’s still early doors, Wishbook already has its fair share of touching stories.
“One such case involves the best friend of a lady whose husband suffered several strokes,” Kain says.
“She posted a wish… to give her girlfriend some much-needed respite. To her surprise the wish of a day spa gift voucher was granted a couple of days later by a complete stranger.”
“These stories are what make it all worthwhile.”