April 30, 2009

Tim Ferriss’ method of supporting causes

tim-ferriss

JD LasicaTim Ferriss, author of the best-seller The Four-Hour Work Week, appeared today via uStream at the Inbound Marketing Summit during the session “How to Create a Worldwide Social Media Phenomenon.”

He took questions from the audience, and I asked how he decides which causes to support.

It wasn’t an idle question. Ferriss has become a remarkably adept advocate for philanthropic causes in a startlingly short time. He has successfully made use of social media tools to raise thousands of dollars to build schools in Vietnam, libraries in Nepal and India, and most recently, to help thousands of classrooms in the U.S. obtain basic classroom supplies. (Source: WalletPop)

Tim singled out three organizations and initiatives as exemplars of philanthropy in the age of Web 2.0:

Donorschoose.org, the remarkable organization founded by Charles Best (I did a video interview with him Monday and hope to post it soon). Ferriss, who sits on the organization’s board, said the ability for users to select the specific educational causes they support and to receive tangible feedback are key drivers of its success.

roomtoread1Roomtoread is a global organization that has established more than 7,000 libraries in the developing world since 2000.

Charity: water, the nonprofit that was the beneficiary of the Twestival event in 205 cities, is representative of a new breed of charitable organizations, he said. Some of these groups have smartly begun to set up an administrative structure in which 100 percent of donated funds go directly to the cause, with a separate fund, generated through other means (such as a small add-on to support the group’s operations), paying for administration.

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April 9, 2009

Samasource enables socially responsible outsourcing


Samasource from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaLeila Chirayath, founder and CEO of Samasource, has been popping up at nonprofit events everywhere lately. Samasource is a nonprofit organization in Silicon Valley that connects small and mid-size businesses with individuals and firms in the developing world that can perform outsourcing work (such as data entry) in a socially responsible way.

They now have pilot programs in Kenya, Nepal and rural India, and their goal, as their website says, is “to catalyze sustainable economic development and poverty alleviation by creating a thriving, active market for socially responsible outsourcing to developing regions.”

The 4-minute interview was conducted on a very windy day at the 2008 Craigslist Nonprofit Bootcamp in San Mateo, Calif. (though I do need to get a fabric microphone cover). I caught up with Leila a few minutes before her jam-packed talk. As Leila says, there’s a lot of misinformation in the media about outsourcing, and Samasource can help you sort through the best options.

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