Belarus, Russia: An Online Charity Auction with People for Sale

The idea of auctions as a fundraising tool is not a new one in the charity world — everything from paintings to exclusive trips are sold this way. Sometimes, there is even a market for people: dinners with celebrities and business-breakfasts are sold under the hammer, too. Warren Buffet, for example, has auctioned lunch dates with himself since 2000. The most recent one (in 2011) sold in an open auction on eBay for 2,626,411 dollars [ru]. But that kind of fun is not available to everyone.

Ma Sense [ru], a Belarusian project, aims to introduce to philanthropy two new categories of people that, as a rule, have not been active in charity: young members of online social networks and fans of dating sites. In a nutshell, Ma Sense is a hybrid of a charity auction-house and a dating site. Anyone interested may come and register as a ‘lot,’ proposing to go get a coffee or take a trip to the cinema with the highest bidder. Whoever likes the proposal can place a bid and buy the ‘lot.’ Four months into its existence, 11,200 people have registered with the project, raising more than 450,000 rubles (14,000 U.S. dollars). Apart from the average date, there are also business meetings, and even more ‘exclusive lots’ (with celebrities and businessmen), now appearing on the site.

Screenshot from, 29 May 2012.

The charitable foundation Nastenka [ru], which has been helping children with cancer for the last ten years, has become the new partner of the date auction site GoodWillion [ru]. All proceeds raised from the sale of a date go to the treatment trust fund for Diana Cherbadzhi and Andrewshi Onikienko.

One of the most tempting auction lots [ru] belongs to Pasha Kiriloff, a Radio Maximum discjockey who sells meetings with himself, as well as time in the Radio Maximum studio during his evening show, ‘Pashkov and Kiriloff.’

What do you get out of it?

People get to know one another, have a good time, and enjoy pleasant surprises (and any company that wants to present gifts to the the project's participants is able to become a partner) — all while helping sick children.

It makes sense for everyone!


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