Monday, July 28, 2008

Fund your social business idea.

I first learned about Ideablob about a year ago when NoSweat solicited support from customers and Ideablob for their business. I was recently reminded of Ideablob when Emory Astronomy doctoral student Jessica Hammock won $10,000 for Project Epiphany which teaches astronomy to elementary and middle school students. These are both great business and project ideas and now they have another line of funding. Do you have a business idea you'd like to get funded?

Ideablob is "where entrepreneurs and small business owners can share and grow their business ideas – and have a chance to win $10,000 towards fulfilling them." People submit their business ideas and once a month, the idea with the most votes wins $10,000. This could be a wonderful way to fund your social entrepreneurship idea. So here's how you can participate:

* Submit your business idea. There are new competitions every month.
* Vote for your favorite business idea. This is a great way support and learn about growing businesses.
* Serve as an advisors for beginning entrepreneurs. Share your knowledge and business acumen.

Do you have a great business idea? Check out Ideablob. And if you're a social entrepreneur, let me know when your idea is ready to receive votes. Ideablob may be just the ticket you need to get your great idea off the ground.

"The dread of censure is the death of genius." -William Gillmore Simms

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Give naturally.

People frequently stumble upon my site when they search the phrase "Heifer scam". Let me be clear, Heifer is not a scam. Their headquarters (which I have visited) are in my hometown (Little Rock, Arkansas) and I am regular contributer and supporter. But that said, there are poorly run nonprofits out there. Some may even be scams. How does a well-meaning, socially-concerned person choose the best ways to be of service? One option is UniversalGiving.

UniversalGiving is a "web-based service helps people give and volunteer with exceptional organizations all over the world." They match volunteers and donors with more than 200 pre-screened nonprofit partners that operate around the world. Their mission? "To create a world where giving and volunteering are a natural part of everyday life.” Just pick a geographic or service area to get a list of service opportunities. 100% of your donation goes directly to the nonprofit. Right now they list 756 opportunities to donate and 298 international volunteer opportunities. They also provide customized services for corporations and philanthropic giving circles.

UniversalGiving makes it easy to volunteer or donate with confidence that your contributions are making a real difference to the community you care about. Now, are you ready to get started?

* Donate. Tax deductible!
* Volunteer.
* Create a wish list or gift registry.
* Purchase a gift package. Tax deductible!
* Support UniversalGiving. Tax deductible!

Now doesn't that just feel like the natural thing to do? Thanks for the tip, Cheryl!

"Think like a man of action and act like a man of thought." - Henri Bergson

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Join the Carnival for Change - Booth 7.

Welcome to the Carnival for Change where we explore the web for interesting items relating to social justice, health, education, and opportunity.

* Are you a woman blogger? If so, check out the BlogHer '08 National Meeting in San Francisco, July 18-20. Short notice, I know. If you can't make it to San Francisco, perhaps you can attend the regional 1-day meetings in October. They'll be held in Boston, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Nashville, Greenboro, and New Orleans.

* Are you a woman entrepreneur? If so, check out the The Power of Yin live, interactive webcasts. The three fall broadcasts feature "women angel investors discussing society’s greatest challenges and answering questions from women entrepreneurs about building the socially responsible companies of the future." They're free!

* Alanna Shaikh of Blood and Milk offers this interesting post on the concept of positive deviance and it's role in development. Deviating from the norm is often a good thing!

* I've written before about the XO Laptop from One Laptop Per Child. For those of us who are lucky enough to have one of these supercool, ultrafunctional machines, I've started the XO Users Group - For users and fans of the XO Laptop. Do you have an XO? Then stop on over and join.

* Do you blog about social change? If so, you may want to contribute to the Changebloggers Wiki, conceived of and executed by the good folks at Have Fun * Do Good and Social Butterfly for Change.

* Learn about World Heritage Sites and maybe win a trip to visit on by taking the Friends of World Heritage Adventure Quiz. This is inspired by, of all things, Indiana Jones. Happy trekking!

* I needed inspiration for the book this time so I took key words from each of the items in today's Carnival and put them in Amazon search. Out popped Blogging Heroes: Interviews with 30 of the World's Top Bloggers. Enjoy!

Thanks for visiting the Carnival for Change! If you'd like space at the next booth, send your items to me with "Carnival for Change" in the subject. See you next time! In the meantime, subscribe to So What Can I Do (see sidebar) or follow us on Twitter (@sowhatcanido).

“Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.” - Joseph Campbell

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Send a CDC Health E-card.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the one of the most respected public health agencies in the world. I remember being so impressed when I realized that my prospective graduate school (Emory, which I attended) was right next door to the CDC. They do some amazing work. While much of it is highly specialized epidemiology and biostatistics, some of their work is very easily accessible. Their new health e-cards are a perfect example. This is a great example of social marketing.

There are about one hundred cards available now when new ones being added regularly. You can find them on a number of topics:

* Injuries
* Parenting
* STDs and HIV
* Travel
* Climate
* and more.

Cards are available in Spanish and English. Here's to good health!
CDC Data and Statistics Widget. Flash Player 9 is required.

"It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little." -Sydney Smith, writer and clergyman (1771-1845)

Monday, July 14, 2008

Run for political office.

Tomorrow is election day where I live. This isn't one of the so-called "major" elections - we're not choosing between Clinton and Obama, or between Obama and McCain. Instead this election focuses on local offices. And I suggest that these elections may be the biggest of all. That's because local elected officials have a lot to do with the quality of your life. Most importantly, because they represent a relatively small number of people, you have a reasonably good opportunity to meet them, tell them your concerns, and influence their position. That's a lot of power for people who are chosen in an election that lots of folks ignore.

I've been educating myself on the candidates in tomorrow's election, and unfortunately, I've not been impressed with many of my options. If you can't file your fundraising reporting paperwork on time, why should I trust you to run my county? If you photoshop yourself and a popular presidential candidate into a picture for your flyers to imply and endorsement where there is none, why should I trust you to be my senator? What's a concerned person to do?

Here are just a few ideas:

* Vote responsibly.
* Education yourself and others about the issues and candidates.
* Run for political office.

Yes, I suggested running for office. People who care, really care, and are honest, ethical, discerning, and thoughtful (all qualities of readers of So What Can I Do!) are needed to govern our society. It may seem a strange suggestion, but think about the improvements you could make by bringing a fresh perspective to government. Just running a collaborative, honest, positive campaign could make a big difference in your community, even if you don't win. Have I got you thinking? Now check out these resources:

* Monitor your local paper for seminars and workshops designed to teach people how to run for political office. For example Scientists and Engineers for America holds workshops to train scientists to run for office. And the League of Women Voters offers workshops for women interested in running for office. Contact the League in your area.

* Download the manual "How To Run For Office" from the Committee of Seventy. They wrote it for Pennsylvania, but it's useful for the rest of us too.

* Want to read more? Check out some of the books on the topic. Here are just a few:
--> How to Run for Local Office : A Complete, Step-By-Step Guide that Will Take You Through the Entire Process of Running and Winning a Local Election
--> So You Want to Run for Political Office: A Practical Guide for Aspiring Politicians
--> Winning Local and State Elections
--> The Newcomer's Guide to Winning Local Elections: Trials of Balance, Chapter Three

Be sure to talk it over with your family before you begin. Then learn all you can about the process so that you can run a campaign you can be proud. Remember that if you are trying to change the way your government currently works, you may have to do some things differently than the way they've always been done. The serve your community proudly when you win!

"There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming." - Soren Kierkegaard

Monday, July 07, 2008

Connect to doers.

One of the best things about peer to peer lending is that the lender know exactly what person, project, organization, or business she is supporting. Now, GobalGiving provides a way for charitable donors to connect with community-based projects that need support. As they say, they "connect donors and doers." Here's how it works:

* Visit and select from over 450 projects worldwide.
* Donate to support your favorite projects. It's tax-deductible.
* Receive regular updates about the use of your gift and the resulting impact.

It's that last step the makes GlobalGiving special. Want more ways to get involved?

* Give a gift certificate to someone you care for. Then they can select their own project to support.

* Become a GlobalGiving partner. They need corporate partners project partners, volunteers, and more. This could be a great way to raise money for your nonprofit, or give more support to your favorite organizations.

* Purchase gifts at the GlobalGiving store.

Now you'll know exactly the impact your gift is having. Happy giving!

"A wise man will make haste to forgive, because he knows the true value of time, and will not suffer it to pass away in unnecessary pain." -Samuel Johnson, lexicographer (1709-1784)