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list of charity ideas

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 2 months ago

list of charity ideas from springwise.com





Helping travellers help local organisations


Travellers have the potential to bring much-needed supplies to underfunded non-profit organisations around the world, but usually they don’t learn about those needs until it’s too late to pack for them. StuffYourRucksack hopes to solve that problem by showing travellers--before they leave on their trips—how they could help out in a particular region.


The site was recently founded by BBC presenter Kate Humble, who recognized how often travellers end up thinking, ‘If only I had known!” She explains: “How many times have you been travelling and visited a school or community or local charity that you would love to help? The school needs books, or a map or pencils; an orphanage needs children's clothes or toys. All things that, if only you'd known, you could've stuffed in your rucksack. But once you get home you forget, or you've lost the address, or worry that whatever you send will be stolen before it even gets there.”


The concept is simple: local organisations around the globe can visit the site to register what they need, as can travellers who have been there and discovered the need first-hand. Travellers planning a trip can then search to see what they can bring along to help. There are no fees to be paid on either side, and a feedback section of the site allows for the exchange of tips and advice.


StuffYourRucksack is still in the process of getting off the ground, so there are no listings yet for many countries. One look at the listings that are there, though, shows how easy it could be to help. An Indian school for street children, for example, needs children’s clothing. An educational charity in Tanzania needs pencils and used mobile phones. Nice example of a grassroots initiative using the internet to help small-scale aid find its way around the world. Related: Family-to-family aid.


Website: www.stuffyourrucksack.com

Contact: tellusstuff@stuffyourrucksack.com



MBAs without borders


MBA-toting entrepreneurs who want to make a difference may want to look into MBAs Without Borders, a humanitarian venture that partners volunteers from around the globe with local businesses, multinational corporations and NGOs in underdeveloped nations. Similar to Doctors Without Borders and Engineers Without Borders, the idea is for professionals to invest their expertise to help in parts of the world that are not so privileged.


The vision behind MBAs Without Borders is guided by their e3 principles—Enabling Private Enterprise, Educating Locals and Engaging in Local Community. Projects typically fall within five key industries: health care, agriculture, financial, income-generation and climate change. The organization so far has deployed MBAs to Mexico, Haiti, Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Vietnam and Poland.


Projects typically last four to six months, but some may go as long as a year or as little as one month. The organization covers costs for travel, accommodations, travel, business calls and other related expenses, and volunteers receive a generous monthly stipend of USD 1,000. More than that, they gain an invaluable experience—and one that looks great on a resume! In fact, MBAs Without Borders frequently hears from international businesses and NGOs looking to hire new talent.


Founded in Canada in 2004, MBAs Without Borders hopes to expand into the United States Europe and Australia in coming years.


Website: www.mbaswithoutborders.org

Contact: info@mbaswithoutborders.org



Microfinance meets mentoring


With the aim of eradicating poverty through business, C4-World is setting up a global investment platform that allows individuals to invest directly in African businesses. Last year, we featured something similar: Kiva, a peer-to-peer microlending organisation that connects private lenders to entrepreneurs in the developing world.


Unlike Kiva, C4-World's 'MyC4' investors can expect to receive a return on their investment. The premise is to treat entrepreneurs in Africa as business partners, with return on investment being the most solid foundation for keeping the model moving forward. Another important difference is that MyC4 is focusing on knowledge as well as capital. The Danish start-up is building an online community to share knowledge and best practices from the global community to serve businesses in emerging markets, starting with the African continent.


A closed beta is kicking off in May 2007. Interested investors can currently sign up as MyC4-builders to test the platform and create an active community that's up and running before MyC4 opens to the general public in Q4 of this year. 2,015 builders are expected to invest at least USD 200, with a payback period of 6-12 months for the first projects.


We like the idea of using an online community to create a platform for virtual entrepreneurship, to transfer not just funds, but energy and knowledge, too. Harnessing the wisdom of the crowds and letting them put their money where their mouths are. Worth looking into or partnering with!


Website: www.c4-world.com

Contact: info@c4-world.com





Mobile Schools


Mobile School is a Belgian foundation that provides portable schools for street children.

Instead of taking homeless children and placing them in an institutional setting, which often doesn't work, the Mobile School reaches out to children in their own environment. The goal isn't just to teach them basic reading and writing skills, but also to help them learn that they deserve a better life. They're given time to develop self-esteem and slowly prepare themselves for life off the streets, or if that isn't possible, at least make their life on the streets more humane.


The school itself is a small, mobile cart with blackboards and educational materials that slide out to give kids plenty of room to work on writing, drawing, learning to count and tell time.

The organisation, founded by a young Belgian industrial designer, got started in Guatemala and Bolivia in 2000. The concept can easily be adapted to other countries and other circumstances, like working with children in refugee camps.


Mobile School currently has 16 schools trekking around cities in South America, Asia, Africa and Europe, and hopes to continue to expand. Each school is run by local youth workers, who are trained by the Belgian foundation. It's a low budget project, and one that could go far with the help of compassionate sponsors!




Speaking Books


Speaking books for health education in low literacy areas


Low literacy levels in Africa are part-and-parcel of everyday life, and seriously reduce the effectiveness of health care literature. In association with the South African Depression and Anxiety Group, Books of Hope has designed and produced interactive, multilingual Speaking Books that can be seen, read, heard and understood regardless of someone's reading ability.


Each Speaking Book consists of 16 pages of culturally appropriate illustrations supported by straightforward and easy to understand text in a variety of languages. Every page has a corresponding push button that triggers a sound track read by a well-known local personality. So whatever a reader's level of literacy, the information will be clearly understood. Topics include HIV and AIDS, TB, Malaria, Suicide Prevention and Diabetes. Speaking Books are distributed to rural and disadvantaged communities worldwide.


This is a major breakthrough in presenting complex health issues in countries where low literacy levels are prevalent, giving everyone access to vital health care information. Of course the concept of a Speaking Book can be applied just as successfully to a wide range of needs, from educating children to providing instruction manuals for products or services.


Website: www.booksofhope.com

Contact: bjusa@hargray.com







Calling for a cause


Belgian Ello Mobile is a new mobile operator that was established with the sole aim of giving away 100% of its profits. Ello is a mobile virtual network operator – it uses an existing network. Instead of offering bargain-basement cellphone plans, the company offers its customers the chance to contribute directly to a cause with every call they make, and every text message they send.


Customers can currently pick one of six projects, from protecting the jungles of Sumatra to providing mobile schools to street children in South America. Another six projects will be added over the next few months, all of which have been selected by an independent panel of experts. Ello understands the need for charitable organizations to be completely transparent, and will share full profit and loss statements with its customers. To minimize costs, the company is entirely web-based, and works with a small administrative staff.


Profit margins are forecast at 24-33% for the first three years, and are targeted to climb to 41% after 2009.

Meanwhile, just launched in the Netherlands, Tommy Telecom is also forging a link between social causes and mobile telecom. Albeit with a very different approach. Tommy's customers are required to structurally donate time or money to a recognized cause. Which means their customer base is 5 million Dutch citizens.


Like Ello, Tommy Telcom is a virtual mobile provider, operating on KPN's network. Unlike Ello, Tommy offers cheap cell phone plans. For EUR 5 per month, members can call other members at no charge, and non-members at EUR 0,15 per minute. Here, the goal isn't to give away profits, but to offer socially engaged consumers a reward for sponsoring causes and an extra incentive to keep donating. And of course the scheme will also encourage members to ask their friends and family to sign up too, so that all involved can call more people for free.


Whether you make it easy or rewarding for your customers to be good, turning existing consumer behaviour into a way of contributing to a better world is innovation we applaud.

Website: http://www.ello-mobile.be


Contact: info@ello-mobile.be

Website: http://tommytelecom.nl

Contact: http://tommytelecom.nl/contact



Mobile libraries


Doing good while building its brand, Brazilian bus company Itapemirim has set up a library on wheels.

Itapemirim, the major bus carrier in South America, covers more than 85% of Brazilian territory, and its buses travel more than 300 million kilometres per year. The company recently started supporting a project developed by well-known local cartoonist Mauricio de Souza: a library on wheels. The library buses will travel throughout the country to give low income kids the opportunity to improve their reading skills and be exposed to a variety of cultural experiences.


Stocked with more than 1,000 books, the mobile library is decorated with Mauricio de Souza's popular cartoon characters (Turma da Mônica), and is equipped with computers with internet access, aiming to help underprivileged children bridge the digital divide. The library bus also has audio and video installed to be able to show movies, another fairly rare experience for children in rural areas.


The first 'Biblioteca Móvel' has started roaming the state of São Paulo, and the goal is to have 27 buses touring the country: one in each state. (To make this possible, Itapemirim will partner with different brands in different regions. For São Paulo, they're working with Shell.)


Supporting the moving library not only promotes Itapemirim's image as being socially engaged, but also reinforces brand awareness among the company's target audience. For other examples of companies investing in their future customer base, see trendwatching.com's brand spaces & transformation and Springwise's post about driver's ed for customers.



Kiva : p2p micro lending »


A while ago, Springwise featured Zopa, an online platform that matches creditworthy borrowers with individuals who'll lend money to them, thereby taking banks and other financial institutions out of the equation.


Make way for a similar initiative that focuses solely on providing (charitable) microloans to entrepreneurs in developing countries – U.S. based Kiva. In their own words: "Kiva provides a new, sponsor a business option for individuals to connect with small enterprises in developing countries through flexible loans." Anyone with internet access and a credit card can now lend money directly to a farmer in Uganda who needs to buy livestock, or a refugee in Gaza hoping to set up a telephone repair shop.


Loans requested by the entrepreneurs average USD 500. The average lender loans between USD 25 and 100, making payment via Paypal, and does not receive interest over the loan. Compared to simply donating money, Kiva's p2p model appears far more sustainable – both for borrowers and lenders. As founder Matthew Flannery explains: "When you loan to someone and get paid back, you get proof that a business has succeeded -- and you are more likely to loan again." Desktop philanthropists can track 'their' entrepreneur's progress via his or her journal, which includes information about the loan amount, how much has been repaid, and of course how the business is evolving thanks to the loan.




Donny Cards


Not every new business idea needs to be complicated. And not every business idea has to be for-profit! Check out Dutch Donny Cards, a super simple yet very smart way to entice consumers to donate to a good cause of their choice. Donny Cards resemble prepaid phone cards, bar code included, colorfully depicting a good cause. A clear explanation of the cause and/or project can be found on the back of the card.


Currently displayed in a handful of gas stations and supermarkets in The Netherlands, the cards are easily added to other purchases by altruistic consumers. After the cards are scanned at the cash register, the EUR 2 donation is simply added to the bill, and the merchant credits the beneficiary. Launching charities are Dutch Red Cross, Amnesty International and Novib/Oxfam.



Donny Cards' main strength is that they make it easy and fun for consumers to be generous in bite-sized portions. Think of it as SACHET MARKETING for a good cause. The strong visuals add to the appeal. Even donating money needs to be an experience in today's economy ;-)






simple start-up idea: laminated reference guides!


On a regular basis, Springwise receives emails from start-up entrepreneurs requesting new business ideas that don't require trust funds or cut-throat VCs to get started.


Always eager to please, we spotted this simple yet brilliant idea: there's money to be made in selling laminated, 2- or 4-sided, satchel-sized 'Quick Study' guides -- from the periodic table of the elements to the basics of Spanish grammar -- to consumers at news stands, airport kiosks, and on the web.


How is it done? Closely study BarCharts, the world's largest provider of laminated reference guides. BarCharts started with a handful of subjects and now offer over 250 guides for students, computer users and general home use. They've sold 21 million QuickStudy guides, distributed from a 28,000 square foot facility in Boca Raton, Florida.


Rest of the world? Wide open! So get yourself a USD 259 (EUR 215) laminating machine, a handful of one-page guides on anything from health to education to business wisdom, and you're in business. Or partner with BarCharts for an extra fast start. And there's a B2B twist as well: if you offer tailor-made guides, schools, universities and businesses will be willing customers, too. Who would have thought?






Solar-powered vending machines


Vending machines can be found just about everywhere, except, maybe, where they’re needed most—tucked away on a remote beach or at the end of a gruelling golf-course hole. An Anglo-Spanish firm has come up with a solution: an off-the-grid, solar-powered vending machine that can be placed anywhere there’s adequate sunlight. In the process, Solar Energy Vending has greatly expanded the locations that can be served by an industry that matured decades ago. A big challenge for SEV was developing a refrigeration system strong enough to keep the machine’s food and drinks cool, while powered solely by the sun. Solar panels on top keep the machine’s refrigerator running, and a rechargeable battery provides power at night or during prolonged cloudy periods. A wind turbine can substitute for solar cells in less sunny climes, where hot beverages could make the vending dispensers a popular stop-off along ski runs.


The company has been working on the concept since 2004. At last word machines have been placed at locations throughout Spain and on at least one golf course in the UK, and SEV is currently seeking inquiries from potential distribution partners in other countries. Besides revenue from sales of food and drinks, the machines are also equipped to display advertising. SEV’s website touts what could be another major enticement for machine purchasers, at least in Europe, saying EEC regulations waive income taxes on profits from the machines since they rely on renewable energy.


SEV’s vending machines join a growing number of devices that can be placed just about anywhere, thanks to their reliance on solar energy. Lighted road signs and emergency phones are two other examples. For entrepreneurs and inventors the vending machines illustrate how any common device can be retrofitted for solar and placed in out-of-the-way locations. (Related: Vending goes organic & Solar-roasted coffee.)


Website: www.solarvending.com

Contact: graham@solarvending.com




Solar-powered trash masher


The BigBelly is a solar-powered waste container that aims to eliminate those all-too-familiar overflowing trash cans, keeping public spaces cleaner and greener. The flagship product of US-based Seahorse Power Company, BigBelly units compact trash on the spot, optimizing refuse capacity — a BigBelly holds up to five times as much garbage as a regular, non-compacting bin. This reduces the number of times bins need to be emptied, and fewer collections means saved time, fuel and truck costs. Since they don't need to be plugged in, BigBelly units can be placed just about anywhere. The units also are fully enclosed and weather-resistant, are available with optional bear-proofing, and cost USD 3,600–3,900.


The BigBelly system aligns with municipal ‘green’ goals and anti-litter campaigns for cities, parks, beaches, colleges, stadiums. BigBelly units have space for advertising, which can be a nice PR opportunity for companies that want to showcase their commitment both to the community and to the environment. With the environment on the minds of many, this is just one example of how an innovative, eco-friendly concept can take off! One to bring to your own country or region? An obvious enhancement would be to incorporate a solution for recyclables. Might we suggest pairing BigBellies with an industrial version of the Ecopod?

Website: www.seahorsepower.com







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