Charity CHAMPs – get involved with microphilanthropy now!


One Acre Fund by sylvng

One great thing about running Charity CHAMPs is that everybody I talk to sends me a bit of info about the micro-philanthropy space. It’s great to know that so many people are interested, if not already involved! A friend of mine knows a bunch of the people who run the One Arcre Fund, so I thought I’d feature that organization for today.

The Fund is based in Chicago and manages micro-lending to improvished farmers in East-Africa. An investment of $240 (or $20 a month) supports one family of 5. What’s great about this charity is that they have values that I strongly believe in, and hope to support through Charity CHAMPS:

  1. We don’t give handouts
  2. We provide a solution that is realistic to the extreme poor
  3. We must dream big
  4. We must remain 100% accountable

If you go to their About Us page they have some great reports on not just past performance, but future goals as well, which I don’t see published too often by charities (unless they are fundraising goals).  Check them out and let me know what you think!



Why don’t people donate? by sylvng
February 23, 2009, 7:41 pm
Filed under: General Charity Musings | Tags: , ,

Imagine Canada published a report back in 2004 about the motivations and barriers to giving. They asked people why they don’t donate and here were the results:

  1. 59% want to save money for future needs
  2. 53% rather spend money in other ways
  3. 38%  think their donation will be used efficiently
  4. 30% don’t like the way requests are made
  5. 27% already give enough directly to people
  6. 24% volunteer rather than giving money
  7. 21% hard to find cause worth supporting
  8. 15% don’t know where to donate

My question is, how much of this has changed since 2004? With all the tools available online now (some of which I’ve outlined on this blog), are concerns #3, #7, and #8 as prevalant as before? I’ll be the first to admit that practically ALL those reasons have applied to me at one point in time or another, but if I was really interested in a giving to a cause, ignorance wouldn’t be an excuse. It’s become a lot more easy to find information on charities online.

So, what about you? What’s your biggest reason for not giving, and if there was an online tool that could help you to give, what would it be?



Colours for a Cause by sylvng

Most of the micro-philanthropy sites that we’ve featured so far on this blog are run by non-profits or charities, or regular people with a kind heart. Today I thought we’d feature something different – a campaign run by for-profit that nonetheless captures the spirit of micro-philanthropy.

Colours for a Cause is a campaign being run by Nestlé Canada in association with the Smarties brand. If you download the Facebook application, you can make votes towards your favourite causes, and for each vote that you make, Nestlé will dontate 10 cents toward the cause of your choosing.  Each Smartie colour stands for a different cause, so it’s easy to see the causes that users most care about just by scanning the colours of the pie. Quite novel!

It’s obvious that more and more companies are trying to be socially responsible as shareholders and the general public increasingly demand for green, fair trade, or equitable products and services.  As the line between “doing good to make money” and “doing good to be good” blurs, I have a feeling we’re going to see a lot more micro-philanthropy being supported by corporations.



DonorsChoose.org by sylvng

So here’s another micro-philanthropy site that I think is a great idea – DonorsChoose.org. Started by teachers at a Bronx public high school in the spring of 2000, the organization addresses the scarcity and inequitable distribution of learning materials and experiences in public schools. The model is simple but effective – teachers envision classroom projects and post project needs on DonsorsChoose. Then,  you and I can browse the projects and donate towards the ones that we like. Usually all it takes is a few hundred dollars to get a project going, so a few donations is all it takes.  As a donor you even get photos and thank you cards from the students!

Sometimes the materials purchased through a project are re-usable in the future, so your gift keeps on giving! Check out the project descriptions to find out more.



SocialActions by sylvng

Many sources have been haralding the dawn of micro-philanthrophy as the new era in fundraising for some time now.  And here at Charity CHAMPs we’re extremely excited to become a part of it all.  It seems no matter where you surf these days there are new, interesting ways to do good – keeping on top of it all is going to be quite the challenge! So if know of sites or ideas that you find cool – please send them along our way!

In the meantime we’d like to feature the ones we find out about here on this blog. So here’s one for you to chew on for today: SocialActions. “You make a difference, we make it easy”.  This site allows you to share and find opportunities to make a difference on any website, blog or social network. They have over 20k “actions” that you can be involved with, and they’re all easy things for you to do. I did a quick search for “poverty” and found actions such as supporting the global poverty act, making a donation to the women’s funding act, and asking politicians about poverty. Check it out!



“Drop-in” volunteering? by sylvng

If anybody out there knows of a way for me to do volunteer work for a few hours on short notice in Toronto, please let me know! It’s not often that there’s free time in my schedule, but there have definitely been times where I had a few hours to spare in the evening or on the weekend that I would have loved to volunteer somewhere,  only I don’t know of any charities that have programs like that.

I realize that setting up volunteer work requires careful planning on the part of the charities, and often requires a certain amount of paper-work, introductions, training, and possibly even background checks. But maybe a model can work where all the prep is done in a one-time session, and periodically thereafter I’d be able to volunteer when I have the free time, similar to pick-up sports.  I realize this non-committal volunteer method might leave charities in a lurch without volunteers to get a job done at a specific time, but with enough volume of people participating, and with tasks that are not super deadline dependent, I’m sure it can work. And what better way to engage people who have busy schedules?

A few friends now have mentioned this event to me, http://www.timeraiser.ca/, and I would definitely like to check it out this year. Although it’s not the “drop-in” concept that I’m looking for, I hear it’s become very popular, and who knows, maybe we can recruit for CHAMPs volunteers there next year!



A CharityNavigator for Canada? by sylvng

Do you know of people who would love to donate to good causes, but hesitate to do so out of fear that their money might be squandered?  With countless charities to donate to, it’s important to find ones that you can trust to deliver impact with every dollar you give.  That’s why with Charity CHAMPs, we’ll do the research for you, so that you know your money is going to be put to good use.

But until Charity CHAMPs is live, there are still plenty of resources at your disposal. The CRA publishes a list of charities whose status has been revoked (see http://www.globalphilanthropy.ca/index.php/blog/canada_revenue_agency_deregistering_record_number_of_questionable_canadian_/). Then there’s the well known http://www.charitynavigator.com, which has a comprehensive review of many US based charities.  Unfortunately it doesn’t look like CharityNavigator will expand to Canada anytime soon; Trent Stamp seems to question the need for Canadian charity information, which baffles me.  Check out the discussion here: http://www.trentstampstake.org/2007/01/oh-canada.html. For a while I thought http://www.nporesearch.com would become the Canadian CharityNavigator but the site doesn’t seem to be up anymore.

Some other sites that offer non-profit information:

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Multiply your donation dollars by sylvng

Usually if you think of donation matching you think of corporate matching programs. But if you do a little bit of research there’s actually a lot charities that the government will match your donation to,  in some cases matching 3:1! As a matter of fact I know the Canadian government matches donations to certain programs at the University of Waterloo. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) also matches to a bunch of organizations, including:

Something definitely worth considering the next time you want to make a donation!



Great ways to do good with very little by sylvng

With Charity CHAMPs we want to harness the power of the web to give back to the world, not in one big shot, but in small little ways that ordinary people like you an me can achieve quite easily. The idea of this isn’t new of course, and as it turns out, there are bunch of great sites out there that share our same philosophy.  So if you have a few spare minutes or spare dollars and want to do something good, check them out – and remember to check back to http://www.charitychamps.org for our launch!

  • www.akoha.com:  “Akoha is the world’s first social reality game where you can earn points by playing real-world missions with your friends. Missions might include giving someone your favorite book, inviting a friend for drinks, or buying a friend some chocolate.”
  • www.strengthenthegood.com:  “A network of bloggers committed to raising awareness for small charities around the world. Every so often this space highlights a new “micro-charity”—a small, inspiring charity, one with a real face and where $1 makes a difference—and the bloggers in the network link to that post, sending traffic, and awareness, the charity’s way.”
  • www.bettertheworld.com: “Raise money for your cause while surfing the web”
  • www.freerice.com: online game where “for each answer you get right we donate 10 grains of rice through the UN World Food program to help end hunger”.
  • www.aidtochildren.com: another online word game where “for every correct answer we will donate 0.25 cents to children in the most improvrished places around the world”.
  • www.goodsearch.com: “you search, we give”



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