April 12, 2009

Kiva: micro-loans to entrepreneurs abroad


Kiva from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaHere’s a 4 1/2-minute interview with Premal Shah, president of the nonprofit microfinance lender Kiva.org, conducted at the Craigslist Nonprofit Bootcamp in San Mateo, Calif.

The next Bay Area Craigslist Nonprofit Bootcamp will be held June 20 in Berkeley. Register now — it’s always an inspiring gathering.

In our conversation, Premal discusses not just Kiva but other online services that are of great help to nonprofits, including myc4, microplace, prosper.com, Google Checkout, techsoup and Salesforce’s program for nonprofits.

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February 23, 2009

How does mobile giving work?

nelson-mandalaKatrin VerclasMobile fundraising is taking off — or so at least hope nonprofits hard hit by the economic downturn. Organizations are looking for a new channel for people to give on the spot, wherever they are, with their phones and a quick text message.

Mobile giving via SMS in the United States and many other parts of the world, has been out of reach because of high carrier charges — up to 50% of a donation would go to the telcom — unacceptable to most charities.

But this has changed in the last two years. Mobile donation campaigns in the United States that go through the Mobile Giving Foundation are not subject to the high carrier fees. The Mobile Giving Foundation charges a smaller percentage fee — currently 10%. As a result, in 2008 the field of mobile giving in the U.S. attracted the attention by organizations large and small, including by such brands as UNICEF, the Salvation Army, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

in England, there is also talk about establishing an entity similar to the Mobile Giving Foundation that would negotiate a no-fee arrangement with the operators and vet charities for SMS giving campaigns.

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January 2, 2009

A new service for cause organizations

JD LasicaMy longtime friend Tom Watson, author of CauseWired, launched a new venture on Thursday: CauseWired Communications LLC.

I’ve long thought that there’s a market opportunity for consultancies and social enterprises to serve the needs of nonprofits and cause organizations that don’t have the financial or staffing resources to take advantage of the social Web.

Tom writes on Facebook:

Susan Carey Dempsey, my longtime partner in publishing onPhilanthropy.com, is joining me in launching the new firm, which will assist organizations and campaigns in creating inspiring messages for causes that change the world. …

What will CauseWired Communications do? Two things:

1. We will work with nonprofit organizations, foundations, companies and individuals on communications and development assignments – using story-telling, social networks, strategic planning, management and communications expertise to turn great programs into actionable causes.

2. We will publish onPhilanthropy.com, the global resource for philanthropy professionals, and run the annual Summit onPhilanthropy conference in New York each year.

I hope to collaborate on some projects with Tom and his partner Susan in the year ahead. Congrats on the launch, Tom!

December 11, 2008

A guide to cause agents and change makers

JD LasicaTom Watson, one of the people who have made a difference in this space, has written a new book, CauseWired, and here’s a review I published to Amazon.com:

causewiredIn the past two years I’ve been more and more drawn to the world of social causes. (I’m the co-founder of Ourmedia.org and have participated in some Social Media Camps.)

But something was missing. I needed a roadmap. A guide to the world of using Web 2.0 to do good.

So it was serendipitous that Tom Watson came along with his timely, practical and clueful "CauseWired." (Disclaimer: I’m briefly quoted in it.) I just finished reading this 225-page pearl (the paperback) and now feel much more grounded in knowing the who, what and whys of social actions and philanthropy in the digital age. And, importantly, the "OK, what now?"

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