Thursday, September 27, 2007

YouTube Launches Nonprofit Program

Just got a press release this morning announcing the launch of the YouTube Nonprofit Program!

YouTube’s 2007/2008 Clinton Global Initiative commitment enables nonprofit organizations (in the U.S. those with 501c3 tax filing status) that register for the YouTube Nonprofit Program to receive a free nonprofit specific YouTube channel where they can upload footage of their work, public service announcements, calls to action and more.

YouTube Nonprofit Program participants will receive:

• A premium channel on YouTube that serves as a nonprofit’s hub for their uploaded videos. Through the channel, people can connect with a nonprofit via messages, subscriptions, comments and more. Nonprofits will also receive enhanced channel branding features and increased upload capacity.

• Designation as a "Nonprofit" on YouTube that clearly identifies organizations as a nonprofit for YouTube community.

• The ability to embed a Google Checkout donation button on their channel and video watch pages, allowing people to quickly and securely make a contribution directly from YouTube. Starting today, nonprofits who offer Google Checkout for Non-Profits as a donation option -- whether through YouTube or on their own sites -- will receive 100 percent of donated funds, as Google has committed to processing all donations for free through at least the end of 2008.

• In the coming months, nonprofit channels will have a centralized area on YouTube, making them and their videos more easily discoverable.


Nonprofits can apply for a nonprofit channel type by going to and filling out a short application which will be processed by their grants team.

Check out their participating partners' YouTube channels:

24 Hours for DarfurAmerican Cancer SocietyAutism Speaks92nd Street YAsia SocietyStrong American Schools’ ED in ’08Friends of the EarthInternational Rescue CommitteeMarch of DimesYouthNoiseThe ONE CampaignThe Clinton Global InitiativeWorld Vision Australia

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Power of Giving Circles: An Interview with Marsha Wallace of Dining for Women

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it's the only thing that ever has"
- Margaret Mead
Giving circles, when groups of people pool their donations together to make a greater impact than their solo donation could, are quickly gaining in popularity. Washington Grantmakers Daily points to a Financial Times article that states, "Most giving circles have formed since 2000 and have moved from fringe to mainstream in a short time. As recently as five years ago giving circles were under the radar, and two years ago they were a trend just beginning to grow." As Jeff of Donor Power Blog points out, some nonprofits feel threatened by giving circles, but he offers suggestions for how they can use this donor-driven form of philanthropy to their advantage. For example, Ginna, the Executive Director of the nonprofit Pura Vida Partners, encourages Pura Vida supporters to create a giving circle where everyone comes together to drink Pura Vida coffee and donate $35 each towards scholarships for children living in coffee growing communities.

Marsha Wallace is the founder of Dining for Women, a nonprofit that facilitates women's giving circles to create change for women living in poverty. I recently interviewed her about Dining for Women's successes and challenges for the Big Vision Podcast. You can read a transcript of the interview below.

Marsha Wallace: My name is Marsha Wallace and I started Dining for Women in January of 2003. Our mission is to empower women living in extreme poverty by funding programs that foster good health, education, and economic self sufficiency. And also to cultivate educational dinner circles that inspire individuals to make a difference through collective giving, which is the powerful aspect of what we do.

We are basically a national giving circle, we have over 150 chapters nationwide. Chapters meet monthly and have a pot luck dinner and donate money -- they would have spent in a restaurant - to an organization that has been chosen by our office. All of the chapters can send in their donations and we send in one large check to the organization that we have chosen for that month.

In addition to raising money, education is a really key component of what we do because we really feel like that it is through education that people become motivated to be agents of change and really make a difference.

Britt Bravo: How do you educate people with your program?

MW: We provide educational materials for each program that we feature. There are two; one is called the Program Fact Sheet that has basic information about the mission of the organization, when they were founded, what kinds of programs that they offer, and how they measure their success.

And then we have an additional resource called Making Connections that is an in-depth glimpse into the lives of the women that we are supporting. And it also addresses some of the cultural and sociological issues that they deal with in a lot more detail like; lack of property rights, and female genital mutilation, or the effects of war on women's lives, and the environmental issues in whatever country it is. It also includes recipes from that country, socially conscious shopping ideas, and also quotes from the women themselves. So, it is a lot more in-depth.

But if people really take the time to read it and - we intend for it to be used during the program at the dinner-it really does provide a deeper understanding of the women and what they are going through and helps us connect with them much better.

BB: What is the path that brought you to this work?

MW: When I started Dining for Women, in 2003, I was restless and I really wanted to do something meaningful. I had read an article about a group of social workers that would do that -- get together periodically and have a potluck dinner and put money in a basket instead of paying a restaurant tab. And they would help people in their community.

It just kind of hit me that that same format would work but - my passion is women's issues and specifically women in poverty internationally. So I just took that seed and adapted that to where my own passions lie.

BB: How do you choose the organizations that you support?

MW: Well, we find them through recommendations from members or we are approached. We have had so much publicity so we get approached a lot more by organizations asking for funding. And we do a lot of research on Guidestar and Charity Navigator.

BB: What is your favorite Dining for Women success story?

MW: One of my favorite Dining for Women success stories is a program that we work with called Matrichaya in India and I think it means "mother and child." And they're a very small, really grassroots organization, they don't have-- I think they have one part-time paid employee. And we've donated to them for the past four years, and have set up four different programs in vocational training to help women in those areas become independent. And it's the first program we've ever donated to that they took on money and actually started a vocational program from scratch. And we're going to be going to India in December, a group of us -- 14 of us -- to go visit this program, and we're really, really excited about that.

BB: What are the greatest challenges of your work?

MW: Effectively communicating with everybody, because everybody is so spread out. The Internet is our main method of communication. The other has been getting our infrastructure bolstered to meet our growth, because our growth has been just exponential in the past 18 months. And we've been really, really trying to get our infrastructure strong enough to support even more growth, because I don't see any reason why this concept couldn't expand to literally thousands of chapters across the country.

BB: What are your future goals for Dining for Women?

MW: Well, five or ten years from now, I plan to have an endowment fund established that'll support our operational expenses, because 100% of all the dinner donations we receive go to programs. So we raise money for our operations separately, and it would be really great to have that taken care of. And a really expensive travel program so that we can travel all over the world to visit these programs. And instead of having 150 chapters that donate $10,000 a month to these programs that we choose, it would be wonderful to have thousands of chapters contributing $100,000 a month to a particular program. I just don't see any reason why there has to be a limit on the number of chapters, members and money that we can raise.

BB: How can listeners get involved?

MW: Well, our website is, and we have a chapter application online, and they can just go and fill out that chapter application and I'll get them some information on getting started. We stay in close contact with chapter leaders, and I'm available for questions and we'll help them get started.

BB: Is there anything else you want people to know about Dining for Women?

MW: Well, you know, the bottom line is that our goal is to change the face of poverty worldwide. I mean, that sounds really huge, and it is; I mean it's a big goal. But through the power of collective giving, if every single person just gives a little bit, you know, your $5 or $10 or $20, when it's put into a pool with everybody else's donation, can add up to tremendous amounts of money that can make a huge impact.

And the fact is that 75% of the people living in extreme poverty worldwide are women and children. So it makes sense that the best way to affect poverty is to empower women and help them become self-sufficient so they can educate their children and create a different world for themselves. So it's a huge goal, but it's really possible when everybody just does a little bit. You don't have to be Warren Buffett or Bill Gates; you can just go to a dinner once a month and make a small donation, and know that your small donation is part of the much larger donation that has a huge, huge impact. And every single dollar makes a difference.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

How Does Your Nonprofit Have Fun and Do Good?

I'm Hosting the Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants on Monday, October 1st and am looking for submissions by Friday, September 28th. The carnival is a collection of advice and resources that consultants and other support organizations offer to nonprofits through their blogs each week.

The theme is, How Does Your Nonprofit Have Fun and Do Good? Taking on the world's challenges can be serious business, but to keep doing social change work for the long haul you need to find a balance between serious and silly for your constituents, your colleagues and yourself.

Here are few examples:

* LOLNPTECH.ORG: Comic Relief for the Nonprofit Technology Community
* Do-Gooders and Good Humor Mix Well on Non-Profit Nights, and That's No Joke
* Humorous Amnesty International YouTube video raises awareness about "extraordinary rendition" (outsourcing torture).
* National Cupcakes for a Cause Week October 15-21

Your post can be about:
1. Your favorite fun, creative nonprofit campaign (i.e. fundraising, advocacy).
2. How you make nonprofit work fun for you, your colleagues and constituents.
3. Your own take on the theme.
**Extra points if you include an amusing photo, cartoon or video with your post.

Send an email to with your name, your blog’s name and the URL of the post (not your blog homepage) by September 28th, Friday, 8:00 p.m. ET.

I'll pick 7 posts to highlight during the October 1st Carnival.

Red Velvet Cupcake photo by me.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Blogging for Writers

I'm giving a talk about blogging at the meeting of the Marin Branch of the California Writers Club tomorrow at the Book Passage in Corte Madera. I always like folks to be able to have an electronic handout, in addition to a paper one, so I'm posting the handout I'm using here. Forgive me if you've seen a lot of these links before, and please feel free to add more examples of blogs about writing, or by writers who publish in print, as well as online, in the comments.

Writer/Writing Blog Sampler

100 Mile Diet by J. B. Mackinnon and Alisa Smith
Book: Plenty (US) and 100 Mile Diet (Canada)

9 to 5 Poet: An Annotated Diary of a Working Writer

A.Fine Blog by Allison Fine
Book: Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age.

Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez

Books: Dirty Girls Social Club, Playing with Boys, Make Him Look Good, Haters.

Barbara Ehrenreich
Books: 18! You can see them all here. Nickel and Dimed (2001) was very popular.

Birdie Jaworksi (New blog. Not too many entries yet) (Old blog. More content)
Birdie's stories have appeared in many online and print journals, including Good Housekeeping, The San Diego Reader, Adoption Today, Mipoesias, and the American Press Institute's Media Center blog. Birdie's blogs and stories have been featured in the New York Times, Time Magazine, Positive Thinking Magazine, and the Wall Street Journal as well as many other news outlets.

BlogYoNoMo (Blog Your Novel Month)

Inspired by National Novel Writing Month. Don’t know if they will do it in 2007.

Dispatches from the Final Frontier
by Michael Belfiore
Book: Rocketeers: How a Visionary Band of Business Leaders, Engineers, and Pilots Is Boldly Privatizing Space

Gayle Brandeis
Books: The Book of Dead Birds, Fruitflesh and Self Storage

Getcha Grub On by Anna Lappe
Books: Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen and Hope's Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet

Book: Wake Up and Smell the Planet: The Non-pompous, Non-preachy Grist Guide to Greening Your Day

The Julie/Julia Project
Book: Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen

Katya Andresen’s Nonprofit Marketing Blog
Book: Robin Hood Marketing: Stealing Corporate Savvy to Sell Just Causes

Pause by Jory Des Jardins
Writes about women’s business issues, marketing, blogging, and entrepreneurship for Fast Company, Inc., Corante, and other topics for The San Francisco Chronicle Magazine, Worthwhile, and The New York Times. Essay on corporate authenticity in More Space: Nine Antidotes to Complacency in Business.

Poetry Thursday (Looks like they are discontinuing this series).
Poetry Thursday is an online project that builds community by encouraging bloggers to read and enjoy poetry, as well as sharing it with others.
Has links to two blogs that publish poetry:
Bolts of Silk
The New Verse News

Wish Jar by Keri Smith
Books: Author and illustrator of several books including Wreck This Journal –an activity
book for creative destruction (2007 Penguin Books), and the Guerilla Art Kit
–everything you need to put your message out into the world (2007,
Princeton Architectural Press), Living Out Loud –activities to fuel a creative
life, (2003, Chronicle Books), Tear Up This Book (2005, American Girl), Story
in a Box-Cinderella, and Princess and the Pea (2001, Chronicle Books).

Book: Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century

You can find more blogs using blog search engines:

Google Blog Search


You can read blogs in a feed reader like:

Google Reader

Create your own blog with one of these “platforms”:

Movable Type

Your blog readers can subscribe to your blog via email with:


Find photos for your posts with Flickr and Creative Commons:

Photos with Creative Commons Licenses

Photos with Attribution License

Find new readers and build community with Blog Carnivals

Let blog search engines know you’ve added a new post with a "Pinging Service":


See what sites are referring people to your blog with a Stat Counter:

Google Analytics

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Do Good Blog Carnivals

Do you have a blog about making the world a better place that you want more people to read? One way to spread the word about your blog is to participate in a blog carnival.

Wikipedia sums it up nicely:
"A blog carnival is a type of blog event. It is similar to a magazine, in that it is dedicated to a particular topic, and is published on a regular schedule, often weekly or monthly. Each edition of a blog carnival is in the form of a blog article that contains permalinks links to other blog articles on the particular topic.

There are many variations, but typically, someone who wants to organize a carnival posts details of the theme or topic to their blog, and asks readers to submit relevant articles for inclusion in an upcoming edition. The host then collects links to these submissions, edits and annotates them (often in very creative ways), and publishes the resulting round-up to his or her blog.

Many carnivals have a home page or principal organizer, who lines up guest bloggers to host each edition. This means that the carnival travels, appearing on a different blog each time."

You can see a list of over 2000 carnivals on the Blog Carnival page.

The Giving Carnival was started by Sean Stannard-Stockton of Tactical Philanthropy. This month it was hosted by Gayle Roberts of Fundraising for Nonprofits. The theme was "Fundraising for Nonprofits" and had 22 contributors (including me).

The Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants was started by Kivi Leroux Miller of Nonprofit Communications. This week the Carnival was hosted by Nancy Schwartz of Getting Attention and the theme was, "How to Use Online Video to Strengthen Your Nonprofit Marketing Impact." Jeff Brooks at Donor Power Blog is the host for next week's Carnival. He will give bonus points to posts that argue one of these two positions:

--What's good about fundraising

--What's bad about fundraising

Submit your posts by Friday night to or use the form at Blog Carnival.

Camphor hosted the 94th Carnival of the Green this week and next week it will be hosted by Green Style.

What other do good Blog Carnivals am I missing?

Photo Credit: Carnival 1 of 11 by Ben.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Be the Change! Share The Story! School Video Contest

Teachers! Dig out that camcorder 'cause Quantum Shift TV has launched a video contest with social impact for students in the U.S. and Canada grades one through twelve: Be the Change! Share the Story! School Video Contest.

Student teams will work on social or environmental projects of their choice and document their progress in a series of two short videos. The first video, introducing the team's project, must be uploaded to by December 15, 2007. The second, reporting on the project's execution and results, is due by March 31, 2008. Teams will be ranked based on Web metrics such as number of views on their videos, viewer ratings, puzzles completed and social network activity.

In May, the 25 top-ranked videos in each age category will be reviewed by a panel of 21 celebrity judges including Paul Hawken, Kenny Ausubel, Eric Utne, Van Jones, Howard Rheingold, Lynne Twist, Simran Sethi and John Wood.

Friday, September 07, 2007

A Little Press for Moi

Anna Gordon of the Warrior Momma blog was nice enough to e-interview me about my work recently. She asked some pretty self-reflective questions--you can tell she is a coach! I enjoyed the process of answering them and hope you enjoy reading them.

A while back I was also interviewed by the East Bay Monthly, a small, neighborhood paper where I live, about carbon offsetting. When they called me to ask if they could take my photo near the BART I said sure. Little did I know I would be standing on the BART platform beneath a light stand as people streamed off the train during the afternoon commute. Embarrassing! The photographer also asked me if I would hang from a tree! I said no way. I am grown woman and am not going to be photographed hanging from a tree. Yeesh. You buy a couple carbon credits and people think you're Julia Butterfly Hill.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Sierra Club's Ray of Hope: Engaging and Inspiring Supporters

Sierra Club has a lovely outreach tool that engages their nature-loving, photo-taking supporters while also delivering a much needed product: inspiration.

Anyone can subscribe to Ray of Hope, a daily email that includes an inspirational quote with a photograph taken by a Sierra Club supporter.

You can submit your photo for consideration on the Sierra Club's Ray of Hope Flickr group. I'm gonna go sign up and submit some photos right now. Fun!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Peace Primary by the Ploughshares Fund

Peace Primary Blog AdThe Plougshares Fund is celebrating its 25th anniversary by sponsoring the Peace Primary. 12 organizations are in the running to win $100,000 to amplify their message during the 2008 election. You can vote for your favorite organization by making a donation to them through the Peace Primary site. One of your dollars equals one vote, and the organization with the most votes by October 31 wins. It is ok, and encouraged, to vote for more than one organization.

You can pick up a button or badge (like the one above) on the Peace Primary site to promote the contest on your blog, web site or email.

Brown-eyed Girl voted and posted an, "I Voted for Peace" badge on her blog.

Wendy is spreading the word for people to vote for the Genocide Intervention Network through her MySpace blog.

Women's Action for New Directions put out a call for votes on their blog writing, "(WE need your support. WAND operates on a shoestring and some tape. You should see our office. Seriously. Not that I'm complaining. I love working here, but if those shelves above my head ever fall down, I'm a goner: books and videotapes smack on my head. Just to give you the idea...)"

I hope this contest gets a lot of press to re-establish the importance of human rights and peace for the next administration, and to shine a light on the important work these organizations are doing.

Here are the nominees:

American Friends Service Committee

The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
Citizens for Global Solutions
Faithful Security
Genocide Intervention Network
Global Green USA
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
Peace Demands Action
Refugees International
True Majority
Union of Concerned Scientists
Women's Action for New Directions

Monday, September 03, 2007

Kiva and Bill Clinton Discuss Giving on Oprah September 4th

Set your TiVos! Tuesday, September 4th former President Bill Clinton will be on Oprah to discuss his new book, Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World (which I can't wait to read), and he will be joined by Matt and Jessica Jackley Flannery, the husband and wife co-founders of

You can read Matt's account of the taping on his blog, The Kiva Chronicles. Here is a little piece from his post:
"The President and Ms. Winfrey spent the next few minutes talking about the power of the Internet and "the Kiva model." Watching this was truly surreal. If you had told me a year ago that I would watch these two people discussing Kiva in front of millions on TV, I would have laughed."
You can read or listen to my interview with Jessica last fall here, and hear Matt's presentation and interview at NetSquared's December 2006 Net Tuesday in San Francisco on the NetSquared Podcast.

Yay, Matt and Jessica! Yay for you too, Bill (:

Kiva logo from
Giving cover from

Razoo's Speedgranting and Change Your World Contest

Razoo is a social networking platform built to, "promote social good and to inspire others to get involved by making giving and serving fun, easy, and meaningful." It's a sister company of Geneva Global: Performance Philanthropy.

To celebrate their beta launch, they are offering a $10,000 Change Your World Contest Prize to the social change group or organization (this includes non-profits, student groups, volunteer networks, fundraising groups, or other networks organized around social issues) that starts a group on Razoo, and recruits at least 100 members by September 15th. The Razoo community will vote on the winner from the pool of eligible organizations.

Its primary platforms are: The social network itself.
Good Happens: Their blog.
SpeedGranting: A Facebook funding application.
BrewingGood: Face to face meetups they are piloting in Washington DC.

Here's the scoop on their SpeedGranting program:
"SpeedGranting is a tool for the Facebook community to help spread the good by getting funding for worthy projects. It's pretty simple...we (Razoo) set the dollar amount, the theme (e.g. "Children's Health" or "Education"), and the duration for the grant. Any Facebook member involved in a project that needs funding can submit a proposal, outlining things like the problem they are addressing and where the money will go. Once enough people "validate" (vote for) the project, it becomes active and visible to anyone using the SpeedGranting application. At the end of the grant period, we tally the votes and distribute the money to the winner."
At the moment they are accepting proposals for their "Change Your WATER World" Grant Contest until 11:59 pm Sep 14, 2007 EST. The winner will receive $1,000.

Mobilizing Donors and Activists in an Overwhelmed World

On Friday, I was on a "Darfur Activist" conference call produced by ENOUGH, the Genocide Intervention Network, STAND and the Save Darfur Coalition. Anyone could call in and hear an update about developments on the ground in Darfur and Congo, and upcoming legislation, events and campaigns.

After the call I started wondering, "How do you activate more people to contribute to the solution of a problem that is so horrific it paralyzes people into inaction?"

In a time when our world's challenges can feel overwhelming, and there are 1.4 million nonprofits in the U.S. offering solutions, not to mention all of the organizations in other countries, plus socially responsible businesses, plus individual activists' campaigns, knowing the best way to take action can feel as overwhelming as the problem.

Given the quantity of organizations, and the enormity of the issues we're faced with today, five qualities are important when designing an action:

1. Make it simple.
2. Make it personal (create a human-to-human connection).
3. Make it social (leverage the impact of the group).
4. Make it creative (ignite their imagination).
5. Make it tangible (participants should feel like they have made a direct impact).

Organizations like Kiva and Dining for Women demonstrate these principles well.

It is relatively simple to make a donation using Kiva. All you have to do is:

1. Create a username and password.
2. Choose an entrepreneur you want to donate to.
3. Make a loan of as little as $25 using your PayPal account.

The photo and story of the entrepreneur help the donor to visualize how their loan will make a difference, and the updates written by the person receiving the loan make the lenders feel like they are having a direct impact. In addition, a lender can see profiles of other people who have made a loan to the same entrepreneur. If you scroll to the bottom of this page on Kiva, you will see the nine people (including me) who made a loan to Beatrices Amoka. Our collective donations were able to fulfill her request for a loan of $500.

It is also simple (and fun) to be a part of a Dining for Women giving circle:

1. Find a circle near you.
2. Bring a dish to share to the monthly dinner.
3. Learn about the organization you will be donating to.
4. Write a check for what you would have paid to go out to dinner, or more.

Planning the event is easy for the organizer as well. Dining for Women chooses the organization that all of the groups will be donating to that month, sends supplementary information to share with the group, and processes all of the donations it receives. At the end of the month, an email is sent out to all of the circles telling them the total amount all of the groups across the country donated. According to Dining for Women's founder, Marsha Wallace, they have 150 chapters that collectively donate about $10,000 each month. (I'll be posting the interview with Marsha later this month).

Many people feel like they can't change issues like the genocide in Darfur, they feel too big. On the other hand, more people are taking small actions to stop global warming, like buying compact fluorescent light bulbs, taking public transportation, and unplugging battery chargers when they aren't in use. Somehow, someone needs to think of a way for people to feel like they are making a difference in Darfur through small, simple actions. The Genocide Intervention Network has a good list of 10 Ways You Can Take Action Today including writing to elected officials, divesting from Sudan, holding an awareness raising event, and creating a video for 24 Hours for Darfur.

But why aren't more people doing these things? Why isn't being anti-genocide as "popular" as being green?

Perhaps if you were able to see each logged phone call or letter about an issue on a representative's site (like MAPLight is doing with campaign contributions) it would hold elected officials more accountable to their constituencies wishes and make people feel like their call was heard. Or perhaps if there was a way for people to directly support a family in Darfur's getting to safety, or to fund an activist's going to negotiate, or do research in a dangerous region, people would feel more engaged in being part of the solution.

With so many pressing issues today, and so many organizations that address these problems, a direct mail appeal letter, or a call to march in the streets, or a request to email your senator may not be enough to gain the attention of people who feel short on time, money, and the power to create change.

Keeping campaigns simple, social, personal, creative and tangible might transform feeling overwhelmed into empowerment.

Photo Credit: Camp by Mark Knobil.