Charley Miller has a twofold mission for his new business: Raise money for charity and reduce the stigma around online dating.
The coupling of these two very different objectives led to GiveandDate.com, a Web site Mr. Miller and three others created for socially conscious singles. The dating site, in beta form since late May, will be officially unveiled in six weeks or so.
Here’s how it will work: Users will purchase monthly subscriptions for $12, half of which will go to charity and the other half to GiveandDate.com.
Money also will go to charity, even with the beta version, each time someone contacts one of the “featured users” on the Web site. It costs $1 to send a message to those users, 50 cents of which goes to charity.
Mr. Miller, 31, got the idea for the site as a graduate student in interactive game design at New York University. He hopes it might appeal to those squeamish about online encounters, becoming their “first choice for testing the online dating waters.”
“Even if you don’t find the perfect date, you will raise money for charity,” says Mr. Miller. “We do really feel like we can lower the stigma of online dating if people feel they’re flirting in the name of philanthropy.”
Mr. Miller says he envisions most of GiveandDate.com’s users will be civic-minded, although, judging from profiles on the beta site, they won’t be saints. Take “D.H.,” who says he volunteers but “less often than I could.”
GiveandDate.com has so far negotiated agreements with four New York City charities, which will receive donations directly through the site, thanks to a deal with Amazon.
Tiffany Lacey, executive director of Animal Haven, says she hopes the agreement with GiveandDate.com will provide a new source of money, perhaps $200 a month, for the charity.
“If it does take off — and I hope it does — it will be a great way for an organization of our size, a small or midsized organization, to have a sustainer gift coming in each month,” she says.
GiveandDate.com has already helped educate more New Yorkers about Animal Haven and the other charities it supports, through cocktail parties and fund-raising events the business holds to complement its online outreach.
Mr. Miller says he hopes the Web site will expand to at least a dozen cities, beginning in the next six months with Miami, Denver, and Seattle. He encourages nonprofit groups interested in working with GiveandDate.com to contact him directly.
The reaction among nonprofit leaders to the site has been mostly positive, says Mr. Miller.
“I know we’re not for everyone, that there are some charities that wouldn’t want to associate their brand with an online dating site,” he says. “I understand that, but I think there are a lot of charities that would want to.”
Since founding the online dating site, Mr. Miller’s own romantic life has improved. But while he featured his own profile on GiveandDate.com during the site’s beta testing, Mr. Miller says he met his girlfriend the old-fashioned way, offline.