A Socially Responsible Online Book Store Raises Venture Capital

Better World Books collects books from university bookstores and libraries and resells them, donating an average of 10 percent of the price of the book to nonprofit literacy groups–Books for Africa, Room to Read, World Fund, and National Center for Family Literacy.

Here’s a link to their website. The company raised a total of $4.5 million in its first round of financing, which was led by Good Capital. Here’s a link to the news story on CNET.

Public Schools Turning to Online Auctions To Raise Funds- Biddingforgood.com

Facing budget shortfalls that are squeezing education basics, more Massachusetts public schools are turning to online auctions this spring to raise money for supplies, field trips, library books, playground equipment, and computers. And they’re raking in from $6,000 to $20,000 in the process – more money than live or silent auctions generate at traditional fund-raisers.

The online auction site is powered by BiddingForGood.com, which is a product of cMarket.

Here’s the link to the article.

MSN Partners With WhatOnEarthIsGoingOn- Cause Marketing

The portal doesn’t seem to be live yet.

As cause marketing gains popularity, MSN aims to help it along. The company announced last week that it would partner with WhatOnEarthIsGoingOn to create an online community by which brands can connect with consumers through issues they find important.

The whatonearthisgoingon.msn.com portal will tap MSN’s existing user base to create an online community where they can learn about and act upon social issues. The site will then target them with relevant marketing programs from “like-minded brands.”


Google.org Provides Guidance

DotOrg officials said they had decided to spend the money on five initiatives: disease and disaster prevention; improving the flow of information to hold governments accountable in community services; helping small and medium-size enterprises; developing renewable energy sources that are cheaper than coal; and investing in the commercialization of plug-in vehicles.

Link to NYTimes article

Maatiam (formerly FreePledge) Launches Today

Officially launching today is www.maatiam.com, the website known as FreePledge during its beta. The release is just in time for the upcoming holiday shopping season. You can read more about the launch here.

The revamped website offers a fresh new look, an even simpler user experience, and a couple of new capabilities to enhance users’ giving and shopping experiences.

These include:
* The Ability to customize your home page with your favorite retailers.
* An inclusive directory enabling to select any of the 800,000 (501(c)3) nonprofits, powered by GuideStar.
* 200+ retail partners.
* An Effortless Tell-A-Friend with webmail contact import (AOL, Hotmail/Live, Gmail, Yahoo, LinkedIn, and more), and contact files upload.

NYTimes Examines The Impact of Social Networking On Charitable Causes

In 2007, the explosive growth of online social networks seems poised to drive a similar upheaval in the world of philanthropy.

A flood of new ventures — like Bill Clinton’s MyCommitment.org and Dollars for Darfur, an initiative by two high-school students — aim to use Web-based communities to raise money for charitable causes.

Check out this NYTimes articles that examines the impact that some online ventures have had on charitable causes. In particular, three organizations are described in some detail: MyCommitment.org, Dollars for Darfur, and SaveDarfur.org. If you are up for it, here’s a related article in the same issue of NYTimes: In the Fund-Raising Game, Blogs Cut Both Ways

The Social Impact of Social Networking

A few days ago, I wrote about MySpace Impact, which is a social networking initiative to help non-profits with online marketing and collecting donations. I’m really interested in how well these programs work, especially because the web can have a huge impact on the marketing component of most charities.

It seems like I’m not the only one interested in this topic– the Berkeley >Play Digital Media Conference is coming up at the end of this month and one of the panels is on the social impact of social networking and features an interesting panel:

Premal Shah – President – Kiva.org

Joe Green – President & CEO – Project Agape

Slava Rubin, Co-founder, IndieGoGo.com

Angie Bush – Development Director – YouthNoise

MySpace Impact, a new way for non-profit organizations to expand online presence

This just came up on my blog reader:

This week News Corp.’s (NWS) MySpace announced MySpace Impact, a new way for non-profit organizations and political candidates to expand their online presence and accepting donations safely and easily. By using a donation badge powered by eBay’s PayPal, fundraisers can disseminate their cause and the fundraising effort. In fact, anyone can take a copy of the PayPal fundraising badge and put it onto their own profile. There are already a bunch of participating political candidates and non-profits. It’s great to see PayPal participating in new and different initiatives.


$100 Laptop (OLPC) Begins Marketing

The One Laptop Per Child project is beginning to market itself with a campaign dubbed “Give 1 Get 1“.

…on Sept. 24, the OLPC announced a money-raising gambit called “Give 1 Get 1.” Originally, the organization had no set plans to sell or distribute the computers in the U.S. Now it’s hoping to capitalize on widespread interest from American gadget fans to raise enough money to pay for shipments of XO Laptops to four countries that are among the poorest of the poor: Afghanistan, Cambodia, Haiti, and Rwanda.

Under Give 1 Get 1, which will run for two weeks starting Nov. 12, U.S. customers will be able to pay $399 to buy two laptops: one for themselves and one to be shipped to a child in one of those four countries. About half of the purchase price will be tax-deductible. Also, starting Sept. 24, people can simply “give” a laptop by making a $200 donation. Those who’d like to participate can sign up for e-mail alerts on the Web site www.XOgiving.org. The machines, which are being built in Taiwan, will begin shipping to U.S. customers in January or February.

This is actually really interesting. I’m sure a few of my friends will pick these up to hack and tinker with them.

Tech Museum of Innovation Announces 2007 Tech Museum Awards Laureates

Check out the Tech Museum Award Laureates!

For the seventh year, The Tech Museum of Innovation, one of the country’s premier science and technology museums, has today named 25 innovators from around the world to be honored by this year’s The Tech Museum Awards: Technology Benefiting Humanity. Presented by Applied Materials, Inc., The Tech Museum Awards honor individuals who are applying technology to benefit humanity and spark global change. The esteemed group of Laureates announced today was selected from hundreds of nominations sent in from 68 countries.

Link to press release.


Established in 2001, The Tech Museum Awards recognize 25 Laureates in five categories: Education, Equality, Environment, Economic Development and Health. These 25 Laureates have developed ways to use technology to improve the environment and the lives of people around the world. All of the Laureates will be showcased at The Tech in San Jose and featured on The Tech Award’s official Web site, www.techawards.org. One Laureate in each category will receive a $50,000 cash prize, announced during the annual Awards Gala, which takes place this year on November 7th. The Laureates are reviewed and selected by an independent international panel of judges administered by the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Santa Clara University.