Charity CHAMPs – get involved with microphilanthropy now!

From pyjamas to your backyard by sylvng

Not long ago I wrote about how you can volunteer in your pyjamas. If you’ve done lots in your pyjamas and feel like trying something in the sunlight, try volunteering in your own backyard.  🙂

This week a blog reader suggested that I look at It stands for In Our Backyards, and is a microphilanthropy site that fosters environmental knowledge and action in NYC. Unlike some of the sites that offer purely online actions, ioby gives a mix of actions that you can do both offline and online. Online you can donate and post projects. Offline you can participate in projects like restoring gardens, cleaning parks, build outdoor classrooms for children, and teach composting. Project progress is posted on their blog, so you can see photos of your money in action if you choose to donate.

I’d love to find a similar site for Toronto, so if you know of one, please give me a shout!

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Get Involved – TV show and website that inspires by sylvng

Have you ever watched the TVO television series called Get Involved? It showcases inspirational stories of people who are making a difference in their communities, mostly regular folks like you and me who have done some amazing things. There’s ROLF, an inventor who has taken his family home almost entirely off the municipal grid;   Edney who wrote a book called “How to Change the World for 10 Bucks” to promote microphilanthropy; and Amanda, a 10 year old who raised over $100,000.00 for The Heart and Stroke Foundation with a lemonade stand.

Watching the show makes me question what I’ve done, and wish that I could do more. If you’re like me at all, you should definitely visit, the companion site to the TV series. The site has a great community with microactions (or challenges) that you can post or commit to do. And for those of you who haven’t watched the TV show, the site offers full episodes.

Some cool challenges posted on the site right now include:

  • Donating $3 to buy eggs from widows of Park rangers in Africa who were killed protecting endangered gorillas (see The eggs are donated to the children of the Kahuzi-Biega Environmental school to poor widows an income, feed hungry children, protect endangered gorillas, save valuable rainforest, and educate 1000’s of kids all at the same time.
  • Planting tomatoes as part of the Canadian Tomato Project.
  • Taking the CAMH mental health quiz to learn about a condition that affects 1 in 5 Canadians.

So what are you waiting for? Get Involved! And who knows, maybe next year it’ll be your turn to be featured on TVO.

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Shop Causes offers a new shop for good experience by sylvng
July 20, 2009, 9:45 pm
Filed under: CHAMPs News, Microphilanthropy | Tags: , , ,

A few weeks ago I was comparing the various shop for good sites out there and I realized that they all look very much alike and need some differentiation. Well here’s one that I’ve tried out that’s definitely different – Shop Causes. Unlike the other sites, Shop Causes is a Facebook application, making it super easy for you to help spread the word about an idea that I think has a lot of merit. You can also see which of your friends have used the application, and see which causes are the most popular – 2 things that you can’t do with the other sites.

Shop Causes also has 2 cool promotions going on right now. When friends you refer in Facebook raise $20, your cause receives an additional $5. And if you Tweet about your Shop Causes purchase (with @shopcauses or #shopcauses), $0.25 will be added to your cause automatically AND you’ll be entered into a draw for a $200 Apple gift certificate. It doesn’t get easier or more fun than this!

Shop Causes was started by Michael Levitt of Cyperplex and is based in Toronto. I think it’d be great to partner with them for Charity CHAMPS. So try it out and let me know what you think!

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Donate to charity by booking for travel by sylvng

Practically everything you do online nowadays can end up in a small donation to a charity of your choosing. Send an email, buy a book, click an ad, post a twitter update – just think of an action and an organization listed here on this blog will turn your action into charity money.

With over 55% of travel being booked online nowadays, travel is no exception. Here are some of the organizations that you can go to when booking travel so that your money goes toward a good cause:

  • Travel 4 Charity works in cooperation with World Vision Germany; if you make a booking going through their site (you can choose from agents like Expedia,, etc.), the commission for the sale will go toward World Vision’s work in Ethiopia.
  • Travel Only For Charity has a bunch of charity programs. For each travel booking you make 1% of your fare will be donated, if you host a destination event (my guess is that even a destination wedding would qualify) and a mimimum of $100 will be donated, or you can sign up for the TravelOnly rewards program and a donation will be made as well.
  • Wright Charity Travel gives 50% of their commission on your travel booking back to any charity of your choosing. You’ll have to fill out a form which is slightly more hassle, but that’s a small price to pay for being able to designate exactly where you want the money to go.

If any of you have tried out these sites, let me know how you like them. Happy travels!

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Have an idea that can change the world? Check out by sylvng

Have you ever sat around with friends discussing how this world could be a better place? Did you end up with some darn good ideas that you would love to see happen, but don’t know how to go about doing it? If that’s the case then check out Challenge Your World.

Your ideas can change the world, and  Challenge Your World is there to help (just like Home Depot’s “you can do it; we can help” motto). You’ll find a space where ideamakers and emerging entrepreneurs can get support, resources, and feedback. It’s essentially an online innovation center, with the goal of balancing of social, environmental, and economic concerns. Just post your idea, and the community will give you feedback, and you can engage in discussions about implementation. This summer Challenge Your World is going to award the 20 most promising ideas with a pack of welcome books; all you have to do is post your idea and be one of the first ideas to reach 20 “thumbs ups”.

Even if you don’t have a whole bunch of ideas lined up it’s fun to read other people ideas and post comments. It’s about challenging the status quo and challenging yourself – all to make the world a better place. And if you know of good books on sustainable business, recommend them to the community and get a chance of winning a free copy for yourself. For more details visit the Summer Welcome Kit page.

The most popular page on this blog by far is the list of microphilanthopy organizations that I’ve complied over the months. If I ever have the time, I’d love to add a column to show where each organization is based, because as a Canadian I’ve found that some of the sites aren’t friendly towards non-American users. And while most of the organizations are US-based, I’m proud to say that Challenge Your World is Canadian!

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Accomplish a lot … in your pyjamas! by sylvng

How much do you get done in your pyjamas? On weekends, I do a lot in my pyjamas (mostly out of laziness to change), and with Volunteer From Home, you can as well!

Volunteer From Home was started by Mike Bright, who a few years ago was doing a lot of volunteering from his own home, from writing to sick children to make them smile, to converting public domain books into e-books and raising money for charity for free by using click-to-donate sites. Over time he realized he wanted to do more to benefit others, so he started looking for more home-based volunteer placements. That’s when he realized the real opportunity. Here’s his story from his own words:

“One over-riding feature I discovered about these [volunteer] opportunities was that for one reason or another they were just not featured on any of the volunteering portal websites like VolunteerMatch. Also, I realised that if you didn’t even know that such an opportunity existed (and there are some pretty obscure ones out there) there would be little chance in finding it. That’s when I realised that these type of opportunities really needed to be collated and put into one place, which I also discovered hadn’t been done before.”

And so he set up Help From Home, which he continues to run today altruistically. The site has only been live for 7 months, but over 450 home based volunteering opportunities have already been added to the site and there are literally hundreds more waiting to be vetted and potentially included on the website. Mike’s goal is to “inspire and encourage people to do things that help others”, by show-casing microphilanthropy opportunities that are :

  1. easy to perform
  2. involve no ongoing commitment (you could dip in and dip out whenever you wanted)
  3. cost nothing or very little to complete
  4. take no more than 30 minutes to accomplish
  5. and if possible, be capable of actually being done whilst still dressed in your pyjamas

Some examples of some cool actions that you can find on the site:

  • Install free software to help fight cancer with your pc
  • Make a very seriously ill child smile with just a letter or an email
  • Donate your excess food, plants and seeds to be redistributed to needy causes
  • Join a Virtual March on global warming
  • Posters for Peace. Print them out and display them somewhere prominently

I of course love the concept – that is afterall why I believe so much in microphilanthropy. So check out Mike’s site, and hope to catch you online sometime (maybe in your pyjamas)!

Special thanks Mike for sharing his story with Charity CHAMPS.

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Call2Action is looking for Beta Testers by sylvng
July 3, 2009, 6:55 pm
Filed under: Microphilanthropy | Tags: , ,

Interested in being involved with the development of a new microphilanthropy site? Call2Action is an upcoming site that going to use film and video media to ignite social change. The site will enable you to create, share and partake in unique Calls to Actions that are mashups of videos with a cause. The idea sounds very neat; you can sign up to be one of the first users by going to their site.

If you’re interested in learning more about social entreprenurship and social advocacy, you should hit up their blog, or follow them on Twitter @call2act.