Just a few more days to help out America’s heroes

Hey, there are just a few days left in Veterans Charity Challenge 2 and we’re raising money to help out folks who are risking their lives for us, and their families. We need your help. I figure, the least we can do is give back. These charities do some really innovative work to support vets, and other American heroes.

If you want to help these orgs out that’re supporting veterans, police officers, military families, and firefighters, now’s your chance to give to the nonprofit of your choice. Over $225,700 has already been raised for causes that are the real deal, but with the important work they’re doing, they can use as much help as we’re able to give.

so far

Folks, a few reasons you should support this Challenge:

  • All money raised goes directly to organizations supporting veterans, military families, police, and firefighters.
  • The participating nonprofits are doing good work, for example:
    • Some orgs are helping to take care of military member’s pets,
    • Others provide educational and employment services to vets who face economic hardship,
    • A few are raising the money to provide scholarships to kids of milfams,
    • Others train service dogs for returning veterans,
    • Some of the money raised will go toward providing mentors to women vets looking for jobs,
    • And a few orgs are providing books overseas. There’s so many more causes you can give to over on CrowdRise, too.
  • With your support, these organizations will have the opportunity to win the prize money awarded to first ($20k), second ($10k), and third place ($5k). But, hey, please remember that even if the org you support doesn’t end up coming in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place, they’ll still keep all the money they raise.

Email CrowdRise with all questions and they’ll be ready with great customer service.

Tips to Drown out the Twitter Noise

Folks, this has become a big issue on Twitter –  how do you get to the real good stuff on your Twitter feed? Where are the tweets from your community? And how do you make an effort to use Twitter most effectively for you and your organization? My team and I compiled a list of tips to drown out the Twitter noise so you can easily access the most useful content and conversations.bird

  • Use hashtags – Hashtags are still really useful. People and orgs will tag their content based on the topic, and this lets you find the latest trends or the niche content that interests you. For example, nonprofit tech related tweets tend to use the hashtag, #nptech, progressive groups use #p2 and #activism, feminists tend to use #fem2, and other good hashtags include #gov20, #vets, #milfams, #philanthropy, and #socent (social entrepreneurship).
  • Keep an eye on #FF When tweeters that’re the real deal post a Follow Friday (#FF), they’re carefully selecting people who are the real deal. This is an effective way to find “friends of friends” in the Twittersphere.
  • Don’t be afraid to unfollow tweeters – If you follow someone and realize that their tweets just don’t interest you, don’t hesitate to unfollow them. It’s not rude, it’s efficient.
  • The mute button – Twitter just rolled out a new mute button yesterday, and everyone will have it soon. The point of the button is to silence people you don’t want to unfollow, but are tired of seeing their tweets in your feed like if they are live tweeting a conference for several hours. According to Twitter:
      • To mute a user from a Tweet, tap more and then mute @username. To mute someone from their profile page, tap the gear icon on the page and choose mute @username.
      • The muted user will not know you’ve muted them, and of course you can unmute at any time.
      • The muted user will still be able to favorite, reply to, and retweet your Tweets; you just won’t see any of that activity in your timeline.
  • Build lists on Twitter – You can organize your Twitter followers into different lists. If you’re into tech, for example, you can have a tech list where you group all the techie folks, if you are following people who tweet about journalism ethics, you can make a list for them. Once you have a list, you can click on it and just see a stream of users’ tweets who you’ve assigned to that list. To manage your lists, go to your Twitter dashboard, click “More” then “Lists” and you’ll be taken to a page that lets you do everything Twitter List related. (See image below for more…)
  • Subscribe to lists on Twitter – Other people have already done a lot of the work for you by creating their own lists. You can seek out lists that interest you, and subscribe to them. This will help you to further involve yourself in the Twitter community, and is a good way of finding others who tweet about your interests without much effort.

Craig Twitter Dash

What tricks do you use to manage your Twitter account and drown out all the extra noise?

How your charity can raise $50K+ for Vets and Heroes

Hey, we’re launching the Veterans Charity Challenge 2 to raise money for good causes.

Last year I sponsored the first Veterans Charity Challenge to raise money for nonprofits that support veterans and their families. The challenge was so successful that we decided to host the Veterans Charity Challenge 2 this year, but include more folks who really have their boots on the ground. I’m giving $50k to support orgs who are doing good work.

cc challenge

This challenge is for all nonprofits that support veterans, military families, police, and firefighters. It starts in just a few weeks, over on CrowdRise, and there’s still time for you to get involved. Here are some reasons why your org should sign up:

    • Last year’s Veterans Charity Challenge raised over $445,000 for causes like yours
    • This year’s Veterans Charity Challenge 2 goes from May 22nd at 12pm ET and runs through July 3rd at 11:59:59am ET
    • The charity team that raises the most during the Challenge gets $20k, second place get $10k and third place gets $5k
    • Plus, there’ll be another $15k given away in cash and prizes throughout the Challenge
    • Even if you don’t win a grand prize, you get to keep the money you raised

Getting involved is easy, folks. Just Go Here and click the Start a Fundraiser button.

Okay…now that you know how to sign up for the Veterans Charity Challenge 2, check out the Veterans Charity Challenge 2 Toolkit. It’s a reference guide to help you raise more money than you thought possible for your cause. The Toolkit has really important stuff, including sample calendars and tips.

And, as an extra bonus, if you browse the Veterans Charity Challenge 2 Toolkit and find the hidden movie quote, Email CrowdRise with the name of the movie it’s from and you’ll be entered to win a pizza party for your org on launch day (May 22nd).

Please share this challenge with all the orgs you know that support vets, milfams, police, and firefighters. These folks do a lot for our country, and it’s important to give back. Email CrowdRise with any clarifying questions, they’re the real deal.

This isn’t altruism, it just feels right.

Infographic Reveals Latest Data on Cracking the Crowdfunding Code

It’s the third anniversary of craigconnects, and we’ve really tried to bring good people together to raise money for their nonprofits. We did a lot of support through crowdfunding, and  to celebrate, the craigconnects team and I created an infographic, Cracking the Crowdfunding Code, to show you just how effective and accessible crowdfunding is. Crowdfunding raised more than five billion dollars worldwide in 2013, and peer-to-peer nonprofit fundraising for charities is seeing explosive growth.

crowfundingblog

A few things that we discovered after researching crowdfundings impact on charities and interviewing prominent crowdfunding platforms such as Causes, Causevox, FirstGiving, Razoo, StayClassy, etc:

  • Over 28% of donors on crowdfunding platforms are repeat donors.
  • Fundraisers who use a video raise 2x more than those without videos.
  • More than $19M online donations were processed on #GivingTuesday in 2013.
  • Over $9,000 on average is raised on nonprofit campaign crowdfunding pages.

Other infographic findings detail various crowdfunding results such as the average online donation to campaigns, more data on the success of the crowdfunding initiative #GivingTuesday, and best practices of nonprofits that have raised a significant amount of money with this newer fundraising tool.

Folks, I’ve worked on four crowdfunding campaigns myself in the past three years, and I’m pretty pleased with the results. The campaigns included two that raised funds for vets and milfam organizations, another for Hurricane Sandy relief, and the Holiday Challenge that was open to all nonprofits. I’ve teamed up with prominent crowdfunding platforms to promote the campaigns and have donated prize money for the orgs that raise the most in order to stimulate competition and success. The campaigns I’ve worked on have raised an estimated total of $2.6 million.

I began the craigconnects initiative in March 2011 to organize my efforts to help support nonprofits working in my areas of focus. Crowdfunding’s a natural fit for craigconnects’ efforts to promote the use of tech for the public good because it involves grassroots efforts and involvement. I’m not much for top-down stuff. I only understand bottom-up stuff.

Please check out the infographic, and share it if you think it’s helpful.

 

Unbelievable: Over $2 Million Dollars Raised for Nonprofits

holidaychllng

Hey there, the CrowdRise #HolidayChallenge just ended on Thursday, and you won’t believe how much the organizations raised collectively in small donations for their nonprofits: $2,394,827, more than double last year’s total for the Vets Challenge.

Yup, that’s right, over two million dollars. Plus, I gave $75k, in grand and weekly bonus prizes and that money was distributed between several nonprofits who are really getting the job done.

winners

A much-deserved congratulations to all of the nonprofits who really had their boots on the ground doing good work. Especially the top three winners:

  1. Cure JM Foundation came in first place, winning the Holiday Challenge. The total amount that they raised and won was nearly $400,000 to help advance Juvenile Myositis (JM) research, a rare and life-threatening autoimmune condition affecting mostly children.
  2. US Friends of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust won 2nd place ($40k prize) by raising $133,576 to support care for orphaned elephants in Africa.
  3. Hope and Opportunity Through Literacy won 3rd place ($20k prize) by raising $111,114 to support education and health programs for the poor living in Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Portugal, and the United States.

These nonprofits couldn’t have raised over $2 million dollars without your help, so a big thank you and congratulations to everyone who participated, and to all the good folks over there at CrowdRise, Huffington Post, and the other philanthropists who are really making a difference.

Thank you again for making this happen, folks. A nerd’s gotta do what a nerd’s gotta do.

This is not an exaggeration: Over a million dollars raised for nonprofits

Folks, huge news! The #HolidayChallenge just passed $1,000,000. That’s a million dollars for charities.

As many of you know, I’m helping to fund the CrowdRise #HolidayChallenge to help nonprofits around the country raise money this holiday season. This is many of the orgs’ year-end fundraising campaign, and they could really use your help.

update

There are some really good causes that funds are being raised for, and I’m so inspired. There are animal rights and sanctuary orgs, greenhouse projects, promotion of education, veterans, mental health, human rights groups, women’s health, self-esteem and body image groups, orgs raising money to help children with diseases, literacy campaigns, and the list goes on, and on.

If you’re able, take a look through all of the good orgs participating in this challenge, and give to one that really sticks out to you.

This week the Bonus Challenge is fun, the first two fundraising teams to raise $250, beginning at noon EST each day, will go head to head in a heated game of rock, paper, scissors. The winner each day will get $1,500 for their cause. You can help decide who wins this week.

Bonus Challenge #1 was won by Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance.

Bonus Challenge #2 was won by Cure JM.

Bonus Challenge #3 was won by Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust.

Bonus Challenge #4 is happening right now.

There are seven Bonus Challenges total and they’re all listed here.

There are a lot of Huffington Post winners so far. 119 teams have raised at least $1,000 for their cause, winning at least one of the HuffPost prizes. HuffPost is offering “tiered” prizes during the Challenge, which are called “HuffPost Prizes for Everyone” because they’re non-competitive. If you raise the money required in a tier, you get the prize and when you reach the next tier, you get that prize too.

When CrowdRise was gearing up for the #HolidayChallenge, five charities won “Get your charity profiled by a HuffPost reporter.” They are:

• Building Botswana

ShoeHeals

• Chicago Adventure Therapy

Canstruction

• Toilet Hackers

 Now head on over to the Holiday Challenge, and let’s try to raise $2M for charity, what do ya say?

The #HolidayChallenge is in Full Swing

Hey, the CrowdRise Holiday Challenge that I’m funding with the Huffington Post has really taken off.

It began on Monday, November 18, and over $173k has been raised in less than a week, since the challenge started – this is huge.

Joining me in raising money for charities this holiday season are several actors/actresses and comedians (hey, maybe I can give them some career advice), such as Edward Norton (Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust), Sean Penn (J/P Haitian Relief Organization), Ian Somerhalder (Ian Somerhalder Foundation), Sophia Bush (The Nature Conservancy), Jason Bateman (City Year), Kristen Bell (Epath.org), Olivia Wilde (Artists for Peace and Justice), Christy Turlington (Every Mother Counts), Eliza Dushku (THRIVEGulu), Brittany Snow (Love Is Louder), Will Ferrell (Cancer for College), Seth Rogen (Hilarity for Charity), and  Conan O’Brien (Children’s Hospital Los Angeles).

(Speaking of Conan, his recent TV bit cited my LinkedIn following, and this is my attempt to help him out…folks, even a pity follow will do…follow Conan?)

CrowdRise is an effective way to help out nonprofit groups, and I’m excited we already have more than 500 charities and counting coming together this holiday season to raise a lot of money for nonprofits getting the job done.

It’s not too late to get started. You can sign your nonprofit up by clicking here. And if you’re an individual who wants to participate and support your favorite causes, you can choose an org to support, and join their team!

holidaychallenge

Lately, I’ve been asked if orgs can participate if they’re outside the US. I asked the good folks at CrowdRise about it and they said that their site’s only set up right now for US-based 501c3’s right now, so unfortunately, no. But they hope to change that soon, and told me that it’s on the roadmap. You can read the rest of the Challenge rules here.

Just a reminder that:

    • The team that raises the most during the Challenge wins a $100k donation for their charity.
    • Second place gets $40k.
    • Third gets $20k.
    • Another $40k+ in cash prizes, and lots of HuffPost prizes will be given throughout the campaign.
    • Even if you don’t win a grand prize, you get to keep the money you raise.
    • The Challenge ends on Thursday, January 9th at 11:59:59am EST.

Make sure to get your constituents and followers on social media talking about the Holiday Challenge, the more people who know about it, the more chances you have to raise money for your cause. Join the conversation using the hashtag, #HolidayChallenge, on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, and Instagram.

And don’t forget that CrowdRise has created a toolkit for you to get the most out of the #HolidayChallenge, with tips, strategies, and a calendar that outlines all the Bonus Challenges.

How’s your team doing so far?

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Do eCommerce Giving Programs Effectively Raise Money for Charity?

Hey, the idea behind craigconnects is giving the voiceless a real voice, and the powerless real power. I see it as everyone doing some small, or big, part.

One way to do this is by giving back via purchases and a few key initiatives.  Organizations like We-Care.com team up with merchants and give a percentage of the proceeds to charity. We-Care works with more than 2500 online merchants, and it’s the merchants who choose what percentage of proceeds to donate (ranging from 1.5% to 15% of transactions). Participation doesn’t cost anything for the organizations, and there is no extra charge for the person who is shopping. Something that’s really useful on We-Care is their toolbar plugin. You can download a reminder that will pop up each time you’re shopping on a site that will give some money to your cause.

Amazon just started doing something similar to We-Care, but aren’t giving as much (just 0.5%). They’re calling it AmazonSmile.

Perla Ni, CEO of Great Nonprofits commented on Amazon’s new giving program, and what she calls “interesting benchmarks” –

“0.5% is an interesting percentage. Amazon’s revenue was $17B last quarter. It would be $80M/quarter if everybody who purchased something took it up. Even though it doesn’t cost anyone to do it, say 20% of users sign up, so that would be $20M/quarter. That would be about $80M/year donated to nonprofits. Google gives about $100M/year and Wells Fargo gives about $300M/year.”

Efforts like these are making donations an every day thing, and this way, according to Perla, “nonprofits may see donations through-out the year, rather than just at the end of the year for tax-deductions.” Perla does voice a concern though. She says: “the biggest potential downside I see is that it may cannibalize individual giving – ‘oh, I don’t need to give on my own, because I’ve already done it just by shopping.’ It may make shopping replace giving.”

We also contacted Ken Berger, President and CEO of Charity Navigator, about AmazonSmile to get his opinion. He said that Charity Navigator will be looking into the project to see if Amazon will use their API to display the Charity Navigator ratings.

Ken also shared with us that “shopping portals that give money to charity usually don’t generate enough revenue to make a big impact on an individual charity’s bottom line. One of the problems is the change of behavior required – same as with Amazon since customers will have to start their purchase process on a different website than the regular Amazon site. However, the scale of Amazon makes this a unique proposition with the potential to make a big impact on a charity’s bottom line.”

I think the most helpful thing you can do to make sure you’re giving to the good guys is to check out Guidestar, Charity Navigator, and Great Nonprofits (like Yelp for nonprofits, with user reviews). These will help you select good, effective nonprofits.

GNP

I support some nonprofits, and some not (more on that here). I make sure to look into a charity before I donate to avoid giving to one of America’s 50 worst charities. It’s useful to be able to give back to orgs that I support via purchases that I’m already making. Although, I don’t think that shopping should replace giving to an org when you believe in their cause.

How are you giving back, if you’re able?

15 Women in Tech to Follow on Twitter

Hey, a coupla weeks ago I wrote a blog post about the Top 10 Women in Tech orgs. And recently, a lot of folks have been talking about the importance of women’s leadership in tech. The Women’s Media Center released a report with two big data points:

  • At its current pace, it will take until 2085 for women to reach parity with men in leadership roles in government/politics, business, entrepreneurship, and nonprofits.
  • Only 17 women at media and technology companies are on Fortune’s 50 most powerful women in business list.

I’m no expert, but I do have suggestions for some women in tech who really have their boots on the ground, and are doing good work. You should check out their work, support ’em if you’re able, and follow them on Twitter.

craig16womenintech

(in alphabetical order…)

Kimberly Bryant, @6Gems: Founder of Black Girls Code. Black Girls Code purpose is to increase the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering girls of color ages 7 to 17 to become innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology. Kimberly is an engineer, social entrepreneur, technology junkie, and dreamer.


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6gems

Shaherose Charania, @shaherose: CEO, Co-Founder, and President of Women 2.0. At heart Shaherose is a mobile and telephony junkie. She’s led new consumer products at Ribbit (BT). Previously, she was Director of Product Management at Talenthouse and JAJAH (sold to Telefonica/O2). Shaherose holds a B.A. in Business Admin from The University of Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business.


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shaherose

Sara Chipps, @SaraJChipps: Co-Founder, software developer, and organizer of Girl Develop It, which teaches women how to develop applications from start to finish. The org empowers women of diverse backgrounds from around the world to learn how to develop software. Sara is also the CTO of Levo League, where she focuses on developer happiness as a metric for success.


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sarajchipps

Kaliya Hamlin, @identitywoman: Founder of She’s Geeky, which began as a haven where women who self-identify as geeky could meet in person to support, educate, and share experiences with one another. Kaliya is also Founder of the Personal Data Ecosystem, and is one of the leading experts in the emerging personal data ecosystem and user-centric digital identity.


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identitywoman

Mary Hodder, @Maryhodder: Mary works in privacy and personal data technologies, and is also working on an Android rewrite for privacy (with crowdfunding to finance it). She founded Dabble.com in 2005, a social search site that helps people organize and playlist media they like, while discovering great media through other’s recommendations.


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maryhodder

Allyson Kapin, @womenwhotech: Founder of Women Who Tech and Rad Campaign, a web agency that develops websites for nonprofit organizations, foundations, and political campaigns. Allyson is also the co-author of the book Social Change Anytime Everywhere, published by Wiley. Allyson has been a featured expert on media outlets ranging from CNN to the BBC for her insight on tech and social media trends.


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womenwhotech

Sian Morson, @xianamoy: Founder and CEO of Kollective Mobile, a mobile development agency that helps start-ups design and grow their mobile business by providing strategy consulting and building mobile apps. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Sian makes video art, speaks about technology and mobile, and writes about culture and tech.


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xianamoy

Holly Ross, @drupalhross: Executive Director of the Drupal Association, an educational nonprofit organization that fosters and supports the Drupal software project, the community, and its growth. Holly has a passion for change and has led a career focused on helping nonprofits create more of it.


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drupalhross

Rashmi Sinha, @Rashmi: Co-Founder of SlideShare which was acquired by LinkedIn. Rashmi focuses on product strategy and design. Before SlideShare, she built MindCanvas, a game-like survey platform for customer research. Rashmi has a PhD in Cognitive Neuropsychology from Brown University and conducted research on search engines and recommender systems at UC Berkeley.


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rashmi

Wendy Tan, @wendytanwhite: Co-Founder & CEO of Moonfruit, a design-control DIY website and shop builder; recently acquired by Hibu. Wendy is also a 500 Startups mentor. Wendy writes extensively about the need for greater support and recognition for female entrepreneurs and women in business.


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wendytanwhite

Amra Tareen, @amratareen: CEO of LittleCast, a mobile app and web platform that allows users to sell videos directly on Facebook. Prior to LittleCast, Amra, a former telecom engineer who grew up in Pakistan and Australia, earned a Harvard M.B.A., then joined venture capital outfit Sevin Rosen Funds, where she became a partner, and then left when she founded AllVoices, a citizen news site.


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amratareen

Kristy Tillman@KristyT: Designer, Developer, and a Media Ideation Fellow. Kristy is building Project Phonebooth, a mobile app that aims to make applying to local government jobs easier for those who rely on mobile technology to access the Internet.


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kristyt

Padmasree Warrior, @padmasree: CTO of Cisco. Padmasree helps direct technology and operational innovation across the company and oversees strategic partnerships, mergers and acquisitions, the integration of new business models, the incubation of new technologies, and the cultivation of world-class technical talent.


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padmasree

Dr. Umit Yalcinalp, @umityalcinalp: Dr. Umit Yalcinalp is a former Software Architect turned Salesforce.com Evangelist with a Ph.D. in Computer Science, and is a self-described “seasoned technologist, fashionista geek and web technology veteran.” You can read Dr Yalcinalp’s blog at WS Dudette.


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umityalcinalp

 

Who would you like to see on this list? Let me know in the comment section. Thanks!

 

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