Charity CHAMPs – get involved with microphilanthropy now!

Use #charitytuesday to fundraise by sylvng

As an additional comment to my last post about Do-It-Yourself fundraising, here’s a great way to get the message out about your cause: the #charitytuesday tag in Twitter. Started earlier this month by @BigDaveSB, the tag has picked up like wildfire and even ranked above Swine Flu in terms of popularity when Swine Flu was all the rage.

The concept is simple: on Tuesdays, promote your nonprofit and/or charity with the tag. Tell people why the cause is worthy, and start conversations with it. For more tips, visit TechnicaVita’s blog post. To see some nonprofits who have seen some great results with the tag, look at the comments posted at

Happy Tuesday!

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DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Online Fundraising by sylvng

Sometimes a cause touches your heart so much that you just want to help in any way you can. And often the best way to help is to fundraise, because what cause couldn’t use more money? With microphilanthropy online, fundraising for your favourite cause is a cinch.  Already lots of organizations let you fundraise with online pledge forms when you participate in events like Ride for Heart or the CN Tower Climb for WWF (and in my opinion online pledge forms have really boosted donated dollars). But even without those events there are many easy ways for to you do your own fundraising:

  • If you have your own website or blog where you already sell your cause, use ChipIn or TipJoy to start raising money! ChipIn is more for any website (including most social media sites), while TipJoy is for Twitter, but both let you create your own fundraising campaign widgets to add to your site. You set the monetary goal, and the widget will give you a goal thermometer to display, with % achieved and number of contributors. Both ChipIn and TipJoy use PayPal so make sure you have an account first. Then write some heartfelt words about why people should donate to your cause, do some outreach, and watch as the money flows in!
  • If you don’t have a site yet, use to create one. YourCause has over 1,000 charities for you to choose to support, and has all the tools for you to create a fundraising site. Not only does the site have a goal tracker, but you can add blogs, photos, and resources. Then you can go to the community with your page to gain supporters, and possibly even win an award from YourCause for your good work.
  • If you’re lacking ideas for some creative methods for fundraising, check out Do-It-Yourself Fundraising Ideas. Although the ideas are not necessarily for online use, many of them can be adapted. For example, instead of creating a physical cookbook to sell for fundraising, why not create a digital cookbook? Or hold a beauty contest online, where contestants send in photos. Be creative!

Some examples of the TipJoy and ChipIn widgets are below. If you’d like to see the real ChipIn widget in action go to A friend of mine is expecting and unfortunately found out that his baby girl has a congenital heart defect. He created Designer Heart after realizing that parents in similar situations could use some mutual support. If you have a few spare dollars, Chip In!

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Jobs for Change – Developing the Next Generation of Leaders in the Social Sector by sylvng
May 21, 2009, 10:41 pm
Filed under: General Charity Musings | Tags: , ,

In response to President Obama’s call for social service, just launched Jobs for Change, a site designed to develop the next generation of leaders in the social sector.  To quote, “people are the most important factor in advancing social change” but “too many people interested in a career in service do not end up or remain in the sector because of a range of obstacles”. To help overcome these obstacles Jobs for Change is building a huge database of social change jobs and have hired a team of career advisors to blog and provide guidance on finding and developing a career in social change.

I too have felt the “obstacles” that is trying to address; over the years I have seen many possible career paths at non-profits through my interactions  (as a volunteer or otherwise), and none of the jobs have ever really appealed to me. Either the job environment just wasn’t driven enough, or there was too much bureaucracy, or (seeing that I work in technology) I couldn’t see myself working in a company that’s “behind the times”.  For the longest time I concluded that they only way I can work in a nonprofit setting is for an organization like, essentially the non-profit arm of a for-profit company, that would hopefully operate like a for-profit but with social goals instead.

My view of course has changed in recent years; partly because I’m more educated, but also partly because I see a whole new generation of organizations cropping up that are “with the times”. And as more and more for-profits are becoming socially responsible, the number of “good” jobs that don’t come with potential drawbacks of working in the non-profit sector are also increasing in number. With Jobs for Change working to dispel the common myths of working for non-profits, and encouraging use of business for good,  the landscape could be entirely different in a year.

You spend almost a third of your life at work, so you should be happy with what contribution you’re making to society while working.  If not, you should definitely check out the jobs at Jobs for Change. And if you’re a blogger or non-profit leader, sign their statement about the importance of mission-driven careers.

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Micro ways to help end hunger by sylvng

If ending hunger is your cause, here are some microphilanthropy things that you can do to make a difference:

  • Follow @stophunger in Twitter – they’re giving $1 to end hunger for every follower they get this week.
  • Go to Kraft’s website and click on their ad – for each click Kraft is donating a box of mac and cheese to Feeding America. Over 30k boxes have already been donated, but their goal is to hit 1M boxes.
  • Stand Up and take action against poverty – participate in an event during Oct 16 – 18 this year to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals! Last year over 116M people took part. You can organize your own easy event such as distributing improved seeds or organize a free lunch.
  • Click at the Hunger Site to donate 1.1 cups of food to the hungry. Or buy something from the Hunger Site Store, which raised over 3.7M cups of food for charities around the world from Jul-Dec 2008.
  • Pledge to end hunger – promise to either donate, volunteer, or spread the word about hunger in America. $35 can feed a child 3 meals a day for more than a month.

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Do some good, win a mansion by sylvng
May 17, 2009, 3:33 pm
Filed under: Microphilanthropy | Tags: , ,

I’m always on the look out for cool microphilanthropy models, and just yesterday I came across one that does something very novel. It sells mansions, advertises charities, and fundraises all at the same time. It’s called Raffle Mansion, and here’s how it works. Mansion owners give a price for mansions that they’d like to sell.  A charity can then browse through a catalog of the mansions, and pick one to sponsor in a raffle event. A public online raffle then takes place. If enough money is raised to cover the cost of the mansion and profit for the charity, then the charity buys the mansion from the owner, and gives it to the raffle winner. If not, then the raffle is turned into a 50/50 draw, where all the raffle money is split into 2, half going to the mansion owner, and the other half going to the charity. Regardless, a successful fundraiser takes place for the charity at no cost. Raffle Mansion handles all the advertising for the event, paid for by the mansion owner, who gets to 1) do some good, 2) use Raffle Mansion’s photo and video services, and 3) have a guaranteed minimum sale price.

The cool part about Raffle Mansion for people like me is that I can purchase a raffle ticket for as low as $10 and get a chance to win some amazing properties, from beach houses in Florida to dream homes off the coast of Spain. Look at some of these photos – they’re irresistible! So if you’re looking to give to charity in a different sort of way, check out Raffle Mansion. If exotic places aren’t your thing they also have regular houses up for the taking.

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Fundraising 101 and online microphilanthropy by sylvng
May 13, 2009, 9:52 pm
Filed under: General Charity Musings, Microphilanthropy | Tags: ,

As a member of the L’Arche Daybreak board I’ve been involved with the process of hiring consultants to assist with a a capital campaign. The consultants recently put together a “fundraising 101” package, which included a page outlining 5 reasons why people give:

  1. They have the means
  2. They desire to improve a situation
  3. They believe the organization is worthy of their investment
  4. They respect and admire the person approaching them for a donation
  5. They are dealt with in a respectful manner

If 5 of out 5 elements are met, then it’s certain that a donation will happen; 3 out of 5 means a possible donation, and 1 of 5 means a decline to give.  This is, of course, is from the traditional context of an in-person ask for money, which is very different from asking for micro-donations through social media. In fact, with most online microphilanthropy the barrier to entry is really low; almost anybody who’s online has the means to click on an ad to donate to a charity. So #1 is almost a sure thing.

Points #2 and #3 I actually believe are harder in some ways to meet online. With Twitter and Facebook and social media in general, descriptions and stories tend to be short and concise, making it harder for organizations to communicate what situations require improvement. While it is a lot easier to find a cause that strikes your heart simply due to the volume of causes available, there is information overload to consider. With a million other causes right beside each other on social media sites, it’s hard to figure out which organization is worthy, let alone which organization is MOST worthy. With microphilanthropy though, perhaps the #2 and #3 points don’t matter as much. If you’re giving only a few dollars instead of thousands of dollars it probably matters less which specific charity the money is going to.

Point #4 I find to be very interesting because obviously personal interaction can be entirely missing when doing online donations. If you log into Facebook Causes there isn’t a specific person asking you for money, which is why I believe the most crucial part of Causes is still the ability to post causes on walls.

In any case, online microphilanthropy probably allows you to hit the 5 elements more easily than traditional in-person donation asks.  With online microphilanthropy, #1 is a given, and #2 and #3 may be less important because of the small size of the donation. #4 and #5 certainly are not any easier to do online, but assuming you make sure that the donation request is coming from a person and not just an application, then it’s not any harder either.

And there you have it – another case for online microphilanthropy.

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Twitanthropy – philanthropy one tweet at a time by sylvng

I have talked about a lot of microphilanthropies on this blog now, but I haven’t talked about many that are Twitter based. Partially I’ve been conscious that some readers out there are sick of hearing about Twitter. You may have read the TechCrunch post this weekend where they explained just why they’re covering Twitter so much, despite there being an obvious vocal outcry about too much hype for a very simple application. But like MG Siegler, I also believe that the power of Twitter is in its simplicity, and I just couldn’t help writing about a Twitter based microphilanthropy anymore.

So here’s one that has a very simple microphilanthropy to get involved with. It’s called Twitanthropy (@Twitanthropy), and it does fundraising for Water Charity . Funds go towards three things:

  1. A school water tank – total cost is $500; you can contribute by Tweeting and donating $5
  2. A latrine in Guatemala or Honduras – total cost is $110, contribute by Tweeting and donating $1
  3. A water filter in Guatemala – total cost is $37, asking contribution is $0.25 plus a Tweet

It’s all done through Tipjoy, which makes it extremely easy for you to Tweet and make a payment at the same time. In fact, the Tweet is mostly built out for you – all you have to do is press the button!

And that’s it. You won’t hear me touting Twitter again… for today. =)

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