Charity CHAMPs – get involved with microphilanthropy now!

My take on SocialAction’s Change the Web Challenge Finalists by sylvng

SocialActions has been hosting a web application development contest with to see what cool things can be done using SocialActions database’s of charitable actions. We considered submitting Charity CHAMPS as a project, but the timing didn’t really work out well. The concept is very exciting though. The idea that technology – and in particular social technologies on the web – can do a lot more to change the philanthropy space has great merit and is exactly why we’re working on Charity CHAMPS.

They opened voting to the general community to come up with the finalists for the contest, and  I meant to blog about this earlier, to get you guys to vote as well, but it seems I’ve totally missed the boat because voting ended on April 10th. That’s OK though, for those of you with very little spare time it would have taken you a good half hour or more to even read through the entries.  There are (can you believe it) 24 finalists! You can see the list here.

I personally (not Charity CHAMPS) would categorize the finalists into 4 groups:

  1. Social mashups: some of the apps are for creating social environments for the actions, such as Citizens Voice, Social Connect, Social Friends, and Democracia, but I’m not sure that petitions, campaigns, and polls need another venue when we already have Facebook capable of doing lots of the tricks.
  2. Political lobbists: another group of the applications is geared towards political lobbying, such as Beyond the Bite and District by District.
  3. No-brainers: they’re great easy ideas that I think should definitely be implemented, regardless of whether they win the prize or not. In that group are the two map applications, the Firefox search tool, the TakeAction Button, and the WordPress widget (after all, I can use the widget on this blog!).
  4. Ones I like a lot and personally vote to win: Charity Meter and CauseSense.  I may be baised about Charity Meter because I like metrics so much, but I think the idea of giving people a sense of accomplishment is very key in microphilanthropy. CauseSense I think is very novel in that it provides a way for me to make my ads more relevant to me – usually if I see Google ad boxes I ignore the ads, but if I know it’s something charity related I would definitely look. Not sure how the revenue model works there, but I’m sure it can be made to benefit non-profits looking for some lower cost advertising.

They’re going to announce the winners on April 28th. We’ll see at that point if the judges agree with my opinions. What are your thoughts? Do you have a favourite?

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