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Givepocalypse

Givepocalypse

The end of the world came and went on December 21, 2012.  The end of the world also did not happen on December 31, 1999.  I am not up on my apocalypse dates, but I am sure there are many other end-of-the-world scenarios that we have lived through and many more prophesized.  One man, Joe Oakland, decided to turn the most recent apocalypse on its head and create a “Givepocalypse” instead.  I asked Joe a few questions just before the “Givepocalypse”.

 

Why are you doing the Givepocalypse?

About a year ago, while watching T.V., I had noticed the ridiculous amount of End of the World/Apocalypse programming on the Discovery Channel, History Channel, Science Channel, etc. I thought, “With all of these organizations trying to capitalize on the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse, why is nobody trying to actually do some good around it?”  Somebody should do something good around this idea- why not me?

Then something occurred to me that I had seen in an episode of the NBC show, Parks and Recreation.  In this show, one of the greatest characters of all-time, Ron Swanson, explained how he made a killing selling hand-carved wooden flutes to a group of Pawnee residents that predicted the apocalypse a few times every year. They would spend the night preparing for the apocalypse by playing these flutes in a park.

Predictably, the apocalypse never came, but Ron still was able to grift his ill-gotten flute money. Then I had a thought that made me laugh; if I could bring the two ideas together and organize people to donate to charity on the day before the apocalypse (instead of buying flutes) I could really do some good – and maybe give people a chuckle, too. The Givepocalypse was born.

After shelving the idea for a few months, revisiting it, and finding it basically unworkable, with too many moving parts in the concept of the organization I thought I would need to pull it off, I re-shelved the idea (maybe permanently this time).  But on November 26th, 2012, while feeling a little guilty about letting my Givepocalypse idea die on the vine, I thought “maybe I am completely overthinking this idea,” so I scrapped all of my previous ideas, and looked at the Givepocalypse anew.  I had the answer almost immediately – become an advocacy group for giving, plain and simple.

Here is the concept we have stuck to: On December 20th, 2012, the Givepocalypse, donate at least $5 to ANY charity that you support.  This was clean, simple, and doable – except that there were only 25 days until December 20th and nothing had been done besides registering email accounts and the Givepocalypse URL.

This difficulty turned into opportunity when I realized what an amazing achievement it would be to pull of any level of success in such a short period of time.  I created the concept of a “sprint-charity,” which, if I was writing the Dictionary definition, I would describe as: a charitable endeavor with a life-cycle that spans less than three months from concept development, to completion of the charitable goals or charter. Further, I would create my own blog on Tumblr called “Behind the Curtain: Making a Sprint-charity,” where I would chronicle my experiences with this new concept daily, and hopefully inspire others to chase their crazy ideas to create good as well.

Our mission was simple: Create the Givepocalypse sprint-charity drive, work extremely hard, and see how far we can get!

Finally, one of the cleverest parts of the Givepocalypse (if I do say so myself!) is the idea of giving to ANY charity that you support.  By giving to the charity that you already support, you are already motivated to follow through and actually make sure you donate on the Givepocalypse.  All we are asking you to do is make an extra donation of at least $5 on the Givepocalypse

So, how did it go?

In just 25 days from creation to the Givepocalypse and only $39 invested in its creation the co-founders Joe and Candice Oakland made a significant impact.

The following statistics are just those that were confirmed through the pledge forms and Facebook event.  The actual numbers may be higher since people may have been inspired to donate without making an official pledge.

  • 302 Pledges from Awesome People
  • At least $1510 in Donations Pledged to Organizations (though the estimate of actual donations is $6000 or higher)
  • 82 Organizations Supported – See these organizations listed the Pledge & Donate Page and keep supporting them!
  • 21 States reached including Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Connecticut, Virginia, Massachusetts, Ohio, Arizona, Maryland, Oklahoma, Oregon, Missouri, New Hampshire, Kansas, and Hawaii
  • 6 Countries reached including the United States, Morocco, Costa Rica, Iraq, Sweden, and El Salvador

Do you see another Givepocalypse in the future?

For now, this was a one time event, but if we feel that there is more room from growth, and the idea of a day dedicated to giving, pure and simple, is an idea that people would like to get behind, we may look to do something like this again.  Rest assured though, if there is another apocalypse predicted, we will be there to do some REAL good before the “end.”

You can watch for updates on the Givepocalypse website, givepocalypse.com, and connect with them on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2012 in Philanthropy

 

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Earth Rangers

Earth Rangers

My daughter loves animals.  She has been reading about animals since she was old enough to read.  She loves all animals so when I saw today’s organization I immediately thought of her.

Earth Rangers is a Canadian conservation organization for kids based in Woodbridge, Ontario.  The organization was founded in 2001 and is focused on communicating a positive, science-based message on the importance of protecting biodiversity.  Their programs, including a children’s website, earthrangers.com, a television presence, and a School Outreach Program, educate children about the threats facing animals and their habitats.  These programs allow Earth Rangers to reach, inspire, and enable millions of children each year to take action to help ensure the lasting survival of species in Canada.

The Earth Rangers Animal Ambassadors are the live animals featured in the School Outreach Program that visit over 550 schools across Canada annually with the organization’s Wildlife Biologists.  The program includes an animal demonstration in front of a full school assembly focusing on the natural science as well as the challenges facing Canadian biodiversity today.  The program inspires students to learn more about animals, their habitats, and protection of biodiversity.

The Animal Ambassadors call the Earth Rangers Centre home.  This building was designed to embody the Earth Rangers values and inspire everyone who walks through its doors.  The building is certified LEED Platinum for Existing Buildings utilizing advanced green building features such as energy monitoring, solar generation, green roofing, and geothermal heating and cooling.

Earth Rangers also has a kid-powered conservation program called Bring Back the Wild.  This program is design to help protect endangered animals in Canada by raising funds to purchase, restore, and protect their wild habitats.  Since launching the program in September 2010, over 150,000 children have registered to help protect animals and their habitats.  The Bring Back the Wild program allows children to visit the Earth Rangers website to learn more about the threats to a species and their habitat, and then create a fundraising campaign to help make a difference.

Some kids have done so much to make a difference, Earth Rangers have featured them as Super Rangers.  Some recent Super Rangers include:

  • Natalie and Haley who are selling cakes to save wildlife,
  • Alex who is selling chocolate chip cookies to save Caribou, and
  • Veronica who started an Earth Ranger Club at her school.

How can you help?

  • You can encourage the children in your life to visit EarthRangers.com to learn more about the threats facing animals and their habitats.  You can also help them create a Bring Back the Wild fundraising campaign.  Families can support children by getting involved and helping them to raise funds to meet their goal.
  • Children and adults can also hold an Earth Rangers themed birthday party to raise funds for wildlife.
  • There are also opportunities for corporations to get involved through the Corporate Volunteer Program.
  • There are also opportunities to make a donation on the Earth Rangers website.
  • You can also follow the Earth Rangers blog to stay updated on their work and organization.   

You can find out more on their website, earthrangers.org.  Their children’s website can be found at earthrangers.com.  You can also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest.

 

Related post: One More Generation

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2012 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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Nisha Varghese

I am a lucky person…I have never had to wonder where my next meal or glass of water will come from.  Not everyone is that lucky.  Today I am profiling a volunteer that believes no human being should die because of lack of water or food.

Many of us have heard of The Water Project – they are an organization that brings relief to communities around the world who suffer needlessly from a lack of access to clean water and proper sanitation.  Nisha Varghese set a goal in March 2010 to raise $6,500 for The Water Project.  This is the average cost of building a well in Africa or India.  She created a fundraising site through FirstGiving.com to collect donations and has promoted her fundraising efforts on her blog, on Twitter, and on Facebook.  She has already raised over $6,000 and with our help she can meet (and maybe even exceed) her goal.

Nisha doesn’t stop there.  She also created another project called Virginia’s Sandwich Run.  The idea is simple, raise enough money to put together 48 sandwiches a week for the people in her current housekeeper’s neighborhood.    This project is named for the housekeeper that Nisha’s family had as a child.  According to Nisha, Virginia was a person who gave her best to the world and the people around her.  You can make a donation to Nisha’s sandwich project here.

When I asked Nisha why she volunteers she said, “I believe that it is up to each and every one of us to create the world we want.”  Her most memorable volunteer experience is “knowing that 15-20 kids don’t go to bed hungry because I spent an hour every Saturday making sandwiches.”

Nisha recommends that those who are new to volunteering should contact their local homeless shelter for volunteer opportunities.  Nisha is an inspiring 20 year old who is wheelchair bound as a result of Cerebral Palsy.  She says, “if I can be of service to the world in spite of my ‘disability’, nobody else has an excuse not to be.”

Update: Nisha’s fundraiser is complete and the well has been built!  Stop by The Water Project to see photos of the well.

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2011 in Volunteer Profile

 

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Great American Backyard Campout

You have probably all heard about the National Wildlife Federation and their mission to inspire American’s to protect wildlife for our children’s future.  For 75 years the National Wildlife Federation has been protecting wildlife, protecting habitats, and educating us all on the great outdoors.  But today’s post is actually on just one program promoted by the National Wildlife Federation…The Great American Backyard Campout.

I grew up camping.  Each summer the family would take the popup camper to some campground – packed full of bikes, food, lawn games and more.  I learned about nature, saw wild animals, bonded with my family, and enjoyed some fresh air.  Some kids never go camping – so the “Great American Backyard Campout” offers an introduction to camping right in your own backyard. 

This event is part of the special series from National Wildlife Federation’s Be Out There™ movement.  This year’s official campout event is June 25, 2011, but individuals and camping teams are encouraged to participate on a night that works for them.  Registering at BackyardCampout.org will connect you with free camping resources and tools including packing lists, recipes, campfire songs, stories, and activities.  New this year is the addition of a fundraising tool for your camping team to raise money for the National Wildlife Federation. 

Camping in your backyard is a safe introduction to camping because if anything happens – you are close to the comforts of home.  Even if you aren’t into camping, you could allow the kids to sleep outside and you can sleep in your own bed.  No site is too big or too small to spend a night outside.  It could be in your backyard, in a park, at a campground or even your balcony! 

Watch this video to learn more and see some campers in action.

Even if camping isn’t your thing, the National Wildlife Federation has other great resources to help you and your family get outside and get active! 

  • Take a look at these summer games and activities. 
  • Learn more about the Hike & Seek program and find an event in your area by visiting www.hikeandseek.org
  • Learn about the importance of outdoor time and ways to encourage it at the home page of the Be Out There movement, www.beoutthere.org
  • You can also utilize the Nature Find feature to find parks, trails, and other nature sites around the United States.

There are many ways you can help too.

  • To donate to the Great American Backyard Campout, you can visit their website.
  • To donate to a variety of National Wildlife Federation initiatives, you can visit their website to view your donation options.

You can learn more about the Great American Backyard Campout at www.backyardcampout.org or connect with the event on Facebook.  The Be Out There campaign is also online at www.beoutthere.org and on Twitter.  You can also learn more about the National Wildlife Federation online at www.nwf.org, on Facebook or on Twitter.

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2011 in Nonprofit Organization

 

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