On October 10th a landmark event is going to take place. Under Gradon Tripp’s guidance, a group of us are going to see if for one night, social media-ites can come together to create change. To quote from the website, “Social Media for Social Change was born of the idea that the social media community, these “agents of change” can get together for one night, to support one cause.”
In essence it is a fundraiser. In actuality it is an experiment in humanity. We are all familiar with the traditional fundraising method — throw a party, invite an elite list of the rich and powerful, charge a lot of money per plate, and then hope checkbooks will make an appearance later in the evening. You schmooze, drink and feel better about yourself because you gave to a noble cause.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking it. Our world would be a far worse off place if it weren’t for the numerous nonprofits that work diligently to make this planet a better place. And without elite invites and fat checks, most would have never survived.
But times are changing.
Instead of depending on a few large donations, nonprofits are beginning to reach beyond boundaries of time and space to connect with people who, traditionally, would have been overlooked. Many small donations are becoming just as powerful.
This is what I love about the Internet — we have this power to connect because of technology.
We. Have. The. Power. To. Connect.
So, that is what we will be doing October 10th — connecting. We will be coming together to support a cause that is greater than ourselves. That night, we won’t just be supporting Jane Doe, a Boston-based nonprofit that supports survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence to whom all the proceeds will benefit, but we will be supporting a shift — perhaps even a shift in paradigm (one can always hope).
If you want to know something deep and dark about me: this is it — it is for things like this that I live. It is because of an irrepressible sense of hope and belief that we can change, that the world and humanity is save-able and salvaegable that I get up every morning. It is because of these very things that I smile, each and every day.
I care deeply about social change (obviously, otherwise why would I have started Media Awaken?!) and I also care deeply about my generation. At the most recent PodCamp Boston, Alexa Scordato and I presented on that very subject: is the millennial generation prepared to inherit the earth?
This is why I was thrilled when I read a blog post by Beth Kanter called Where are the twenty-something or GEN-Y Bloggers Who Are Writing About Social Change and Nonprofits? In this post she complies a list of twenty-something bloggers who write about social change and nonprofits. This is an incredible list! While some I had heard of, many I had not. SO, if you are interested in social change and want to hear what the millennial generation has to say about it, check out that post!
As the proud owner of a new consultancy, I thought it would be months before anyone would seek out my expertise. Oh was I wrong. I hadn’t even launched yet when @StaceyMonk and I began chatting on Twitter. When she told me about Epic Change (in conversation, not as a pitch) I fell in love. Having grown up in India, development projects are near-and-dear to my heart.
Epic Change is a 501(c)(3) whose mission states:
Epic Change believes that people’s stories are assets that can be used as resources to improve their lives. We help people in need share their “epic” true stories in innovative, creative and profitable ways to help them acquire the financial resources they need to create positive “change” in their communities.
Basically, they are a micro-finance nonprofit who gives loans intended for social entrepreneurial efforts. Because the receivers of the loans are using the money for social causes and not to start a business, the repayment system is unique:
Our somewhat novel funding model is based upon the best practices of other successful businesses and charities. We use donations to provide interest-free loans to local partners to finance their community improvement efforts. We then facilitate loan repayment by collaborating with our partners to share their stories through projects that generate income. Finally, we “pay it forward” by recycling repaid loans to help fund Epic Change in other communities.
So, the day I launched Media Awaken I had my first client! Their first project is to rebuild and expand a small pre- and primary school in Tanzania. We hope that by the end of 2008 Epic Change will have raised enough money to help purchase a school bus (as of right now the kids don’t have one), to build a playground (the kids currently play on a dirt field) and to build another classroom (the 4th graders need to become 5th graders!). I am so excited to be involved with this organization and I hope that you will check out their site www.epicchange.org and consider getting involved too!