October 4, 2010

9 Web platforms to help you change the world

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MicroPlace: Invest wisely to help alleviate poverty.


SocialVest, MicroPlace, Vittana can help you make a difference

Target audience: Social change organizations, nonprofits, NGOs, students, educators, individuals.

Guest post by Shira Lazar

While there might be more noise in the social good space, there are also more tools to make giving easier and more accessible than ever. Many are also calling this a trend toward “democratizing social good.” The fact is, you don’t have to be a billionaire philanthropist to contribute to positive change in the world.

Whether you want to start a movement, do something to give back or just share your story, here are some great platforms that are enabling different ways for people to participate and make a difference.

SocialVest: Support causes through shopping

1Founded by Adam Ross, Socialvest marries shopping and giving together to make it easy for people to support their favorite causes by creating a fundraising channel out of everyday shopping. Then you can choose to donate the money you’ve accumulated to the charities or causes you care about and give the money you’ve earned through your SocialVest “Giving Account.” SocialVest also allows users to promote your cause via social networking and set up give groups and fundraising projects through social tools.


Causes: Mobilize your Facebook friends

2Co-founded by Joe Green and Facebook’s Sean Parker, Causes is the app inside Facebook that lets people choose specific causes to mobilize their friends for collective action, spread the word and/or raise money. Since 2007, the app has been used by a community of 125 million people and has had more than $22 million donated through the application.

DonorsChoose: Help students in public schools

3DonorsChoose is a platform that connects donors with classrooms in need. Go on the site, choose the project that interests you and donate to a worthy project. The site delivers the materials to the class and in turn the students will send you thank you notes and photos of the impact made.


MicroPlace: Invest wisely to alleviate poverty

4With MicroPlace, for as little as $20, you can open an investment account, use their search tools to find an investment on their site, pay with PayPal or your bank account and then receive interest payments to make your money back. These socially responsible investments in microfinance can help alleviate global poverty, helping the billion people who live on less than $1 per day.


Kiva: Micro-loans to entrepreneurs

5Kiva has been a prime of example of online microfinancing, enabling people to give “loans that change lives.” As of Sept. 19, Kiva has distributed $160,822,200 in loans from 757,183 lenders. A total of 220,977 loans have been funded. Make a loan for as little as $25 to one of their deserving entrepreneurs, follow their progress and get your money back over time.

Vittana: Send someone to college for $25

6Vittana co-founder Vishal Cakrabarti was named one of The Huffington Post’s 2009 Gamechangers. With its motto “Students in school, one loan at a time,” Vittana uses person-to-person micro-lending of $1,000 or less to enable students to pay for their college education, highlighting “high-achieving, deserving” students in developing countries on its website in the hope that visitors might be inspired to help out.


Kickstarter: Fund creative ideas

7Description KickStarter is a platform for funding creative ideas and ambitious endeavors, ranging from musical artists to indie films to expeditions. Powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method, people can kickstart their project and goal by raising money through donations on the site. Projects must be fully funded or no money changes hands.


CrowdRise: Using social networks to raise funds

8Co-founded by actor Ed Norton, CrowdRise lets you raise money online for more than 1.5 million charities with its personal fundraising pages, charity fundraisers and Internet tools.


Splashlife: Rack up deals by taking action

9Launched just last month, Splashlife calls itself as an AARP for millenninals. Members can accumulate Splashlife points for doing social good — online and offline in-person volunteerism — which can then be used to get discounts off all sorts of things.

Shira Lazar covers social good and social trends for CBSNews.com and The Huffington Post. She blogs at ShiraLazar.com.

12 awesome platforms for good (Socialbrite)

24 tools for fundraising with social media (Socialbrite)

Kiva: micro-loans to entrepreneurs abroad (Socialbrite)

Interview with DonorsChoose founder Charles Best (Socialbrite)

12 Social Action Hubs (PDF, Socialbrite)

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