Trying to break your consumerist habits? Set-up a recurring donation to charity every time you check into the mall on FourSquare…The possibilities are endless and allow givers to get creative about the meaning of microphilanthropy in their own lives.
—  Snoball Links Life’s Passions to Charitable Micro-Gifts,” via GOOD
Happy One Week

Last Tuesday, we celebrated the launch of iMpact Maryland. Happy one week iMpact Maryland!

If you haven’t already heard, iMpact Maryland is an online tool that helps connect the Maryland community with student-led causes that highlight the University of Maryland’s philanthropic spirit. It’s a project that has been several years in the making and we are super excited to announce its start.

iMpact Maryland is the result of a millennial study conducted by the University of Maryland Alumni Association. The study found that the millennial generation expressed a desire for greater transparency and wanted to know where their money was allocated. Alas, iMpact Maryland does just that. Providing a platform for alumni and current students, iMpact Maryland is committed to advancing the university’s mission by building a greater sense of community.

iMpact Maryland is accepting applications on a rolling basis. Students may apply here.


"Microfinance is most simply thought of as providing — and managing — small loans or financial services to poor individuals or small communities who otherwise wouldn’t ever get on a regular bank’s radar screen.

Microphilanthropy is similar — philanthropy aimed at helping meet the needs of poor individuals or small organizations that otherwise might get the attention of many large non-profit, humanitarian organizations.

There’s a crisis of confidence in microfinance right now, usually, inaccurately, personified in the recent trials and tribulations of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning economist Muhammad Yunus.

The real crisis is not so much about Yunus as it is due to the rising commercialization and emphasis on profits in this financial scheme. Yunus has criticized some microfinance organizations for acting like “loan sharks,” for losing their focus on the true mission of microfinance — to help people get themselves out of the cycle of poverty.

Check out the link to see a few young people in Seattle who remain focused on the true mission.” (Lumana!)

Mobile apps that give back


The explosion of mobile technology (including applications) in recent years has caused many nonprofits and foundations to begin considering ways to include mobile technology in their marketing and operational strategies. Most often these strategies include converting websites into a mobile-friendly format, sending text message alerts and developing mobile applications.

However, these measures can prove costly, and sometimes unnecessary. There are several applications already in existence that can engage citizens in giving back to causes of their choice, and nonprofits that are late in the mobile game can potentially benefit from several mobile application platforms.

One great example is Instead, a mobile app that inspires citizens to make philanthropic choices in their everyday lives. Encouraging people to “live below their means to give more,” Instead provides a platform for people to make less expensive (often healthier) choices - and donate the difference to charity.

For example, a couple could decide to forgo the movie theater on a Saturday night, stay in and use Redbox, and donate the difference. It’s a more sophisticated version of donating what you would spend on a cup of coffee to charity, with a high-tech facilitator. Overall, Instead aims to change the daily habits of consumers, and instigate microphilanthropy. The application is available on iTunes, and nonprofits can suggest their organization for inclusion here.

A second application, Reward Volunteers, makes it easy for nonprofits to, as the name of the app suggests, reward their volunteers. Developed by tech startup Chalo, Reward Volunteers provides a social platform where volunteers can log their volunteer hours and tasks, unlocking gifts along the way. Prizes include cash, food baskets, and even vacation packages.

While this application creates great incentives for citizens to volunteer for organizations they care about, the Reward Volunteers program is limited, only running through July 7, 2012. However, hopefully applications such as Reward Volunteers and Instead will inspire a new era of mobile technology - one that inherently seeks to give back to community organizations through innovation.

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Photo courtesy JD Hancock

After being barraged with social media outpours of molasses thick “thankful for..” posts and statuses, I wasn’t encouraged in the least to post anything, knowing full well these people are the same who Black Friday will be putting up play by play blows of grumbling and selfishness. Okay, yes, we all want a deal and there’s nothing wrong with Black Friday, but my renewed hope in humanity has come in the form of GIVING TUESDAY. The Tuesday after Thanksgiving, the day directly following Cyber Monday, dedicated to donating money to non-profits or simply, just what it implies — giving.

As aspects of the JOBS Act unfold the word crowd-funding is becoming common and widely understood, and in the same facet the YMCA is promoting micro-philanthropy of small, online donations by people who otherwise are considered “non-acredited investors” under Giving Tuesday, now trending on Twitter. Even more so, in the newly coined name “crowd-giving”, allows the choice of exactly what to give, where, and how much. The “well I don’t have thousands, but I wish I could do something” is no longer relevant. It’s no longer the adopt a child, send money and get a picture days that it was when I was growing up; now, in a matter of minutes through several platforms it is possible to contribute to non-profits and initiatives.

Welcome to The GOOD 30-Day Challenge (#30DaysofGOOD). Each month, we challenge ourselves to improve the world around us—and our own lives. The challenge for December? To give away $30 (total for the month, not every single day) in the most creative and inspiring way possible. It doesn’t have to be $30. It could just be $10. Or even a single dollar. We’re aiming to make giving more creative and personal…