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. Continue reading →
Social tools come in all shapes and sizes. Yesterday we looked at 6 productivity tools for social change — mostly desktop and cloud-based apps and one cool gadget for your pocket. Today here’s my list of 12 platforms and online communities that are doing an amazing job in promoting social change.
You must have your own favorites (I’ve left off a few of my own, like Change.org and Causes, for example) — please share them in the comments below!
1Vittana is an amazing online platform that connects people through lending and helps young people around the world to get access to higher education for the first time. Through Vittana, you can make a loan to a student to help him or her go to college. Vittana reports that their students have a 95% success and repayment rate on their loans. In essence, Vittana is like a “Kiva for worldwide education.” Through online loans from people like you and me, Vittana is building a world where anyone can go to college. Vittana has been recognized as a Pop!Tech Social Innovation Fellow and HuffingtonPost #1 Game Changer in Philanthropy. Follow Vittana on Twitter.
Citizen Effect: Empowering citizen philanthropy
2Citizen Effect empowers citizens to become citizen philanthropists by providing us with the tools and networks we need to work directly with communities in need around the world. Through CitizenEffect, you can create your own project, bring your friends, family and social network together, and raise funds to make a significant impact in the lives of a community in need. You can also find great projects to support that match your interests. Follow Citizen Effect on Twitter.
Blissmo: Making sustainability easier
3Blissmo (formerly Spheresavers) is a new platform that aims to make sustainable consumption mainstream by making it cheaper and easier for consumers to buy sustainable. Check out Blissmo (our writeup is here) for deals on products and services from sustainable businesses striving to balance people, planet and profit.
OpenIDEO: Design together for social good
4OpenIDEO is a place where people design together for social good. It’s an online platform for creative thinkers: the veteran designer, the critic, the MBA, the active participant and the creative enthusiast with an idea to share. IDEO, a well-known design firm, developed OpenIDEO as a way to include a broader range of people in the design process to tackle social issues. Follow OpenIDEO on Twitter.
FrontlineSMS: Text groups of people anywhere
5FrontlineSMS is an award-winning, free, open-source platform that turns a laptop or desktop computer and a mobile phone or modem into a two-way group messaging hub. Since it works anywhere there’s a mobile signal, it doesn’t need the Internet – a major advantage for many grassroots NGOs, especially in the developing world. Once you have the software running on your computer, you can send messages to wide groups of people and collect responses to any questions or surveys you might want to run, all via text message. Follow FrontlineSMS on Twitter.
Global Giving: Support community-based projects
6Global Giving is an online marketplace that helps nonprofits raise money for grassroots projects and connects individuals and companies to grassroots economic development projects around causes and countries they care about. Through Global Giving, supporters can make direct donations to projects; no social activity or event organization is required to support a cause. Follow Global Giving on Twitter.
SeeClickFix: Get a local problem fixed
7SeeClickFix is a platform that allows citizens to report non-emergency issues and receive neighborhood alerts, providing a great way to get a local problem fixed. If you have an iPhone, Android or Blackberry mobile phone, you can download SeeClickFix’s free mobile app to report issues taking place in your neighborhood when you are on the go, anytime, anyplace. Follow SeeClickFix on Twitter. Continue reading →