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Donate to Autism Research by Watching a Video

Email claims that money will be donated to help Autism research every time a video about Autism is viewed on fundraising website, (Full commentary below).


Example:(Submitted, January 2008)
Subject: Fwd: Autism Prevention

I strongly urge you to watch the touching music video below. In doing so, not only will you help to fund autism research, but you may just learn something. The 4 minutes it takes to view the video could have monumental and everlasting effects in the lives of 1000s of children! Go ahead, do your good deed for the day... :)

The band, Five for Fighting, is generously donating $0.40 to Autism Speaks for *each time* this video is viewed. The funding goes toward research studies to help find a cure. When you have a moment, please visit the link below to watch the video and pass it along to your friends and family. They are aiming for 10,000 hits, but hopefully we can help them to surpass this goal.

If link does not work, copy and paste.

According to this email forward, Internet users can help fund Autism research simply by visiting and viewing a video that presents information about Autism. Given that so many charity email forwards turn out to be hoaxes, it is not surprising that some recipients have doubted the authenticity of this message as well. However, in this case, the message contains factual information.

The website,, is a video sharing site with a difference. When visitors watch a video clip on the website, money will be donated to the charity listed for that particular video. Each video displayed on the site will nominate one charity from a list of several chosen by John Ondrasik of the band "Five For Fighting". John Ondrasik and Five for Fighting are the driving force behind the site.

Site visitors can also upload their own videos to the site and choose one of the listed charities to receive contributions when a visitor views their creation.

This email includes a link to a particular video on the website that presents information about Autism. For every viewing of the video, money will go to Autism Speaks, an organization dedicated to funding research into Autism and raising community awareness about the disorder. A number of other videos on the website also deal with Autism and nominate Autism Speaks as the receiving charity. Autism Speaks has published a news item on its website confirming that the charity receives donations for the viewing of videos on

Thus, the claim in the message that you can help raise funds for Autism research by watching a video is true. However, there are some inaccuracies in the message that need to be clarified.

The message suggests that the band "Five For Fighting" are actually donating all of the money for video viewings themselves. However, this is not correct. The website accepts direct monetary donations from organizations and members of the public and it is this money that is used to contribute the specified amount to nominated charities per video viewing. Those donating can choose a specific charity or just allow their contributions to be used for any of the charities supported by the site.

Moreover, the per-viewing figure of $0.40 quoted in the message may no longer be correct. Information on the website notes:
For charity specific donations , will pay $1.00 per view of the designated charity’s videos - until the number of viewings equals the amount donated less .04 per view. The .04 expense is's .03/view webhosting charge and California Community Foundation's (CCF) 1% administrative expense. OVER 95% of money donated goes directly to the chosen charity!

For general donations, will again distribute OVER 90% of money donated to the selected charities. This is determined primarily by the amount of views per charity and available funds. The 10% expense will include's .03/view webhosting cost, CCF's 1% administrative expense and site maintenance.
At the time of writing, over $166,000 had been donated via The website currently supports the following charities:
Charity Hoaxes
Change her world
View "A World Where..." Video
How This Works

Last updated: 26th January 2008
First published: 26th January 2008

Write-up by Brett M. Christensen

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