May 17, 2010

Short takes on 10 worthy projects

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Watchitoo, DoGood, ClassWish, Zynga, business ethics & more

JD LasicaWe’ve been deluged recently with updates and rollouts of interesting new sites, tools and services. There’s no way to fully do them justice, but they deserve attention, so here’s a roundup of eight worthy projects and websites that have crossed our desk:


Watchitoo: Collaborate with rich media

1At Socialbrite we have a pretty good directory of cutting-edge Web 2.0 productivity tools, so we were intrigued when a longtime friend, Brian August (who provided legal advice to, told us of a new Web conferencing service called Watchitoo. It’s a live, two-way, HD multi-streaming video platform that lets participants collaborate and share any form of rich media (video, photos, documents) in real time. Fully web-based and embeddable, Watchitoo offers any organization the ability to communicate and collaborate remotely. It also has full integration with Twitter and Facebook

Says Brian: “Watchitoo represents a portable, modular, simple way to instantly collaborate while sharing media. A candidate could use this technology to have a web-based town hall watched by hundreds (or thousands) while taking questions from constituents who will appear live on screen with the candidate. A reporter could use this to review footage/photographs with others in the field. The implications of this type of remote intimacy are profound.” I’m looking forward to seeing Watchitoo in action on June 3 at the Personal Democracy Forum in New York.


DoGood: See good. Do better.

2With DoGood, a free browser plug-in for Firefox, IE or Safari, you can turn your everyday web browsing into donations that support green initiatives and movements for positive social change, at no cost to you with no privacy or security issues. Today, for instance, DoGood “served” 172,673 good ideas. The DoGooder hides generic advertising on the Internet, and shows thoughtful green initiatives, philanthropic calls for action and health and wellness ideas instead. The site then donates 50 percent of its profits from ad sales back to good causes, effectively turning web surfing into a funding mechanism.


Zynga: $3 million to charity

3You’ve probably heard of Zynga because of Farmville, Cafe World, Mafia Wars, Fishville, PetVille, and other games in its stable of online diversions. (Disclosure: I’ve spoken on panels with Zynga CEO-founder Mark Pincus.) What I didn’t realize until recently is that Zynga has raised more than $3 million for charitable causes through its online game sites. For example, Zynga’s relief efforts for Haiti were impressive, given the size of its audience and the pledge to donate a good chunk of proceeds to the cause, although it should be noted that Zynga spends $5 million to $8 million every month just for advertising on Facebook.


wowcrowd: Allocate program funding by crowdsourcing

4The start-up Brighter Planet is working on software-as-a-service platform to help socialize grant giving and cause marketing efforts. They’re nearing launch and are using to manage the entire supply-chain process: create funds, make deposits, solicit proposals, track votes, facilitate discussion and prevent fraud through the use of a hosted, secure web app. Project authors will act as independent agents, promoting their projects — and your fund — throughout their networks as they compete to secure funding. Says a Brighter Planet representative: “Get your dollars where they belong, build your lists dramatically, and encourage fund-raising through transparency.” Definitely worth checking out.


ClassWish: Tweet for better classrooms

5I’m an advisor to, an ambitious new initiative to enhance the quality of education across the nation, so I was glad to hear about its tweet-to-win promotion to improve classrooms. Every time you use Twitter to spread the word about ClassWish, you’ll help students and teaches and earn a chance to win prizes. Facebook share-to-win is coming soon.


mileAsmile: Helping kids in Haiti

6mileAsmile, recently launched by my friend Mark Dowds and Adrian Eagleson, proclaims: “We are two lifelong friends facing the midlife crisis of turning 40 in May. [Yeah, turning 40 is absolutely cataclysmic.] Instead of wallowing in self-pity we have chosen to run as far as our legs will take us for six months, with the final challenge of a 100 mile foot race across the Tahoe Rim Trail in July 2010. The reason to run is to help kids in Haiti get a better education and become the leaders who can shape the future of their country. The average Haitian lives on less than $2 per day and nearly 50% of children don’t go to school. Each time we lace up our running shoes with your help we will know that another child will smile and have a better life.” I just pledged, hope you will, too.


OpenPublish: Open-source online news publishing

7Two weeks ago, the Nation Magazine relaunched, using OpenPublish, the open source platform built on Drupal designed to connect news publications with their online communities. It’s designed for mid-size operations that need to publish a lot of a content but don’t have large staffs or infrastructures. It’s worth a look by magazines, newspapers, journals, trade publications, broadcast outlets, wire services and other publications. For more info, read here.


Dreams for Kids: Helping isolated youths

8Dreams for Kids empowers youths living in poverty and those with disabilities by uniting them with their peers, recognizing their abilities and allowing their voices to be heard. The site says: “Isolated young people from communities are reminded they have something to give. While fearlessly pursuing their dreams, they are leading others to their own and compassionately changing the world.” What can you do? Donate, volunteer or join the dream team.


Business Ethics: The magazine of corporate responsibility

9Business Ethics: The magazine of corporate responsibility is an online magazine with a heritage in the fields of ethics, governance, corporate responsibility and socially responsible investing. Now available only on the web, Business Ethics was launched in 1987 and published for 20 years as a quarterly print magazine. The mission of Business Ethics – now, as then – is “to promote ethical business practices, to serve that growing community of professionals and individuals striving to work and invest in responsible ways.”


Sausage and iPads: 3 giveaways coming up

10This just in from our friends at For the next two weeks, the site is hosting a contest where the producers of the best user-created videos will win three 32GB wifi iPads. Just make a video talking about tailgating, grilling, eating Johnsonville sausage (the sponsors) with friends, family or in special locations. The first winner will be announced this Thursday, so make as many videos as you’d like and enter this week and next. Here are the details.

JD Lasica, founder and former editor of Socialbrite, is co-founder of Cruiseable. Contact JD or follow him on Twitter or Google Plus.

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2 thoughts on “Short takes on 10 worthy projects

  1. Hi, its Charles from DoGood HQ.

    Please feel welcome to reach out via email. (charles at dogoodhq dot com)

    We love to collaborate with like-minded people, organizations and companies.

    All the best,

    -/ Charles Baker

    Partnerships & Outreach
    DoGood Headquarters