Archive for February, 2008


29 Ways to Make the Most of the Extra Day

Posted by alison on February 29th, 2008

It’s Leap Day – the extra day that comes around once every four years to catch us up on time lost, or as Monica Hesse from the Washington Post describes it: “in all its quadrennial springiness, like a cartoon Slinky boinging into the wall calendar.” Preposterous, according to some.

“It’s like a prolonged version of the languidness found on daylight savings days,” Hesse says, “where no one really knows what time it is and everyone uses that to their advantage…Leap Days are like this, but longer, and grander in their utter lack of ambition.  Nobody makes plans for Feb. 29, because nobody remembers when there is a Feb. 29.  And so the day arrives like a snow day, an empty calendar slot with no obligations and no expectations.”

We’re not entirely sure about the whole “nobody makes plans” part of that at the GlobalGiving office, where in a twist of events, we’re about 1/3 in-house staffed today – but the point is well made, nonetheless.  In honor of this “extra day”, we’re offering a list of 29 ways to make the most of your day.

  1. Understand the history and science behind Leap Years
  2. Tell your family you love them
  3. Go to the library and come home with a book (or bring back delinquent overdue books)
  4. Update your music collection
  5. Get in touch with old friends
  6. Find out how the candidates stand on the issues
  7. Play an extra Set Game
  8. Make dinner reservations to benefit the Tap Project
  9. Take a walk (and bring your dog!)
  10. Indulge your guilty pleasure
  11. Send yourself an email on next Leap Day (February 29, 2012) to remind yourself how great things were this year
  12. Replace your toothbrush (you know you’re overdue!)
  13. Twitter
  14. Eat that piece of cheesecake
  15. Wear the skinny jeans (maybe do this one before #14)
  16. Change the batteries in your smoke detectors
  17. Play Chain Factor
  18. Join a Facebook group about Leap Day, only to leave it tomorrow.
  19. Find out where the candidates stand on issues important to you
  20. Learn a new word
  21. Finish a puzzle (that isn’t on the computer)
  22. Throw out all those old pens that don’t have any more ink but get put back in the drawer/pencil cup anyway
  23. Buy Girl Scout Cookies from your local Girl Scout troop.
  24. Clean out the Goldfish crackers from under the car seats
  25. Take a road trip
  26. Clear your calendar.  Hoo Boy!
  27. Leave a comment on your favorite blog (not necessarily shameless self-promotion) 
  28. Start your own Giving Circle
  29. Add to this list

Taking Over the World

Posted by alison on February 28th, 2008

For those of you interested in taking over the world (heads up, Dr. Evil, Lex Luthor, Joker, Lord Voldemort), things just got a little bit easier.  Forget the millitant game of Risk, we want real estate.  Monopoly is creating an international version of the classic game with favorite cities from around the world vying for space on the game board.

I only first heard about this on The Colbert Report last night, and I realize there are only a few hours left in the competition, but I was interested in the featured cities.  Many that you would expect: New York, Paris, Sydney, Tokyo, Boston (Go Red Sox!).  However, I found that there were a handful of cities in the competition that are home to GlobalGiving projects: Rio de Janeiro, Mumbai and Bogotá, just to name a few.

 In addition to the places you might expect, Monopoly is leaving room for user nominated cities; among the leaders are other GlobalGiving locales: Johannesburg, San Francisco, Chennai.

 Go vote for some of your favorite cities, or the GlobalGiving locations before the polls close.  If you miss the opportunity, follow along to see who will be represented on this international stage.

It’s Not Easy Being Green (Or offsetting carbon emissions)

Posted by dana on February 27th, 2008

Our fearless leader (Dennis, not Dixon) often talks about how energized he feels after trips to California.  The GlobalGiving team makes it out to the left coast fairly often due to many funding and partner relationships, and this week it was my turn to spend a few days in the Bay area.

Maybe it’s all this mid-February California sunshine getting to my head (such a welcome break from the icy east coast!), but I’ve found myself agreeing with Dennis on the California vibe-full of energy, optimism, inspiration, and a sense of what’s possible.

I’m here in San Francisco attending the Carbon Forum America conference-one of the largest gatherings in North America related to climate change and carbon markets.  You don’t have to be Al Gore to know that climate change is one of the largest and most serious problems facing society today, and without a similarly large and serious response to turn this ship around we could find ourselves in a heap of trouble.

But when faced with such a daunting threat looming over our shoulders, how can any one of us know what to do, or if any actions we could take will have an effect on such a huge problem?  Can CFL light bulbs, driving a Prius, purchasing carbon offsets, or calling Congress actually dig us out of this global warming hole we find ourselves in?

I stayed with a good friend in Berkeley on Sunday night before the conference and I asked him about what it was like living there.  “It makes it easy – to ride my bike, buy local food, carpool to work, or use alternative energy sources – because these things are available and supported by the community.”

And while GlobalGiving isn’t exactly available at your local farmer’s market, I connected his point to the work we’re doing with supporting international projects.  By making solutions available, and easy to find and support, it can drive people to take action that they might not otherwise feel empowered or inspired to take.

Although the prospect of climate change is scary, a speaker today pointed out that one benefit of needing to address climate change is the power to force new levels of cooperation between people across national or international boundaries.  And finding these collective solutions will drive new levels of business creativity, entrepreneurship, problem solving, and empathy.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers about the climate change monkey on our back, but I am excited that-like health care, education, technology, and women’s rights – it is a global issue that uniquely impacts developing countries, and GlobalGiving is hoping to provide donors with even more impactful ways of addressing climate change in the coming months.  By providing climate change solutions that our community can support, we just might uncover some powerful new strategies for change.

Stay tuned…

Let’s kick some ball……

Posted by robert on February 25th, 2008

“Sports teaches you character, it teaches you to play by the rules, it teaches you to know what it feels like to win and lose-it teaches you about life. Sports are a microcosm of society.” — Billie Jean King

Her comment cuts through to the true nature of all sport. Sports brings out everything that is the worst and the best in us. It brings out our true spirit – grit, courage, grace, empathy and so much more – hidden by the many layers of our personality. But it’s about who we are and what we can do; no matter your ethnicity, gender, caste. It’s about achieving something exclusively on merit. It’s about walking the talk.

For GlobalGiving Project Leader Tommy Clarke, it’s a way to create incredible social change in Zimbabwe. A former pro football player Tommy Clarke came up with an extraordinary idea – he was going to turn around the tide on AIDS amongst youth in Africa, beginning with Zimbabwe. And he was going to do it by getting them to play soccer – a ubiquitous passion even in the most impoverished areas. Today, nearly 23% more youth now understand the importance of using condoms than they did before. “Now we know we can cure HIV/AIDS with our knowledge and power.” Susan Bulaya, 15 year old recipient of Tommy’s program.

Tommy Clarke isn’t the lone visionary to understand the power of sports as a way to influence and alter behavior, establish new ways to communicate, to empower and heal. Click here to read about another outstanding social entrepreneur who is using sports to provide solutions to challenges like women’s right and HIV/AIDS, youth unemployment.

And guess what? You can support these amazing social entrepreneurs win the Ashoka Changemakers competition! Click here to vote for GlobalGiving Project Leaders Tommy (Grassroots Soccer), Matt (Partners of the Americas), Sarah (Kilifi) and Trevor (Kids League).

The Latest GlobalGiver

Posted by Donna Callejon on February 25th, 2008

It  is my pleasure to introduce the latest GlobalGiver, Zoë Finette Conroy. Thanks to John for the very nice post  and kind words. My wife and I are thrilled and couldn’t be happier. I’m breaking the radio silence of paternity leave to share some pictures of our little angel. Much thanks to everyone for all of the warm wishes. Now, back to diaper duty…

Fundraising Their Way to the Top

Posted by alison on February 21st, 2008

With today’s official announcement of the America’s Giving Challenge champions, this large-scale experiment enters the annals of fundraising history – having inspired more than 48,000 people to give $1.2 million to their favorite causes and organizations, using social networking and Web 2.0 tools. But at the end, the Challenge was all about tenacity, networking, and good old-fashioned hard work.

Congrats to the GlobalGiving America’s Giving Challenge Champions, each of whom will receive $50,000 for their chosen cause in addition to the money they raised! Their tales of fundraising are amazing. See if you can match the description to the champion!

Michele Martin
, Philadelphia, PA (supported by Beth Kanter): Sharing Foundation/Route Out of Poverty for Cambodian Children (1,650 donations/$41,673 raised).

Erin Kelly, Fredericksburg, VA: Students Helping Honduras/Fuel Efficient stove for 300 Hondurans in need (1,639 donations/$28,796 raised).

Scott Beale
, Wilmington, DE: Atlas Service Corps/Invest in International Development Leaders (1,615 donations/$32,021 raised).

Suzanne Plopper, Chester, CA: Friends of Burkina Faso/Education for 900 Rural Girls in Burkina Faso (1,598
donations/$41,879 raised).

(A) This University of Mary Washington student entered the competition with only 9 days to go, championing a project that is tackling the fourth-most lethal killer in the developing world…

(B) She mobilized an enormous network of returned Peace Corps volunteers, one of whom even crafted this ditty: Awa had a little lamb / His fleece was filled with fleas / But every year Awa went to school / He paid her fees…

(C) She tirelessly poked, prodded, tweeted, blogged and wiki-ed her cause to the top – not sleeping for the last two days of the Challenge and even inspiring a room service waiter in a hotel she was staying at to give… (read more about her giving exploits).

(D) With his wife, he hosted a feverish, impromptu phone-a-thon on January 30th, generating 400 donations for their cause and pushing them firmly into the winner’s circle.

(answers – A/Erin, C/Michele and Beth; B/Suzanne; D/Scott)

A new GG baby!

Posted by john hecklinger on February 20th, 2008

It’s my distinct pleasure to welcome Kevin Conroy, GlobalGiving’s Ninja Java Master, to the world of fatherhood. Kevin and Samantha Conroy just sent along official photos of Zoe Finette Conroy, safely delivered Tuesday, February 19 at 8:32 p.m., a healthy baby girl weighing in at a snuggly 7 pounds, 9 ounces and measuring 20.5 lovable inches. She’s a cutie, and I know cute babies, as my wife, Katie, and I had the first GlobalGiving baby (Miles) almost a year an a half ago. Kevin will be an amazing dad. In his characteristically organized and well-prepared way, Kevin has been fully-equipped, supplied, and geared-up for months. I was much the same way with Miles. Yet, no matter how prepared you are, there are amazing surprises nearly every day. Everyone here is excited and proud to welcome a new member to the GlobalGiving family, and we can’t wait to meet her. We ring a gong at GlobalGiving when something good happens, so here’s a big GONG for the Conroys!

Global Kindred Spirits

Posted by georg on February 20th, 2008

It’s my first blog entry here, and it hasn’t been that long that I started on the GlobalGiving crew. So it was very pleasing to me to, to find out that a couple of filmmakers ( from my home country (Germany) would be making their way to our office.

One reason is the advantage of seeing fellow country men, speaking the same language and having a similar cultural background. The other aspect that really struck me is that I am here – quite some ways away from
Germany – working on something that I think is worth all my efforts.

Then by “coincidence” I happen to run into people from home who believe in similar ideas (philanthropy). In the greater picture, that means to me: No matter what your expertise is in (computer guy or filmmakers; in
the above case), the important point is to work on something that you believe in and that you think you can make a difference with.

Tap That

Posted by alison on February 19th, 2008

I’ve written here before about cultivating a relationship with your donors.  One of the best ways to do this is to get involved.  Rather than trying to create your relevancy from scratch, sometimes it is a better approach to find out what your donors are already interested in and become a part of that.

Joe Waters at Selfish Giving did a great profile on UNICEF’s the Tap Project – where participating restaurants (between March 16 and March 22) will ask patrons to donate a least a dollar for the tap water that they usually serve for free.  This highlights an idea that we, in America, generally take for granted: readily available, safe drinking water.  Joe also suggested that this idea would translate if the donation element was applied to the complimentary bread that is served.

I’m a big fan of DC’s Restaurant Week because it gives me an excuse to dine out – an expense that I can’t often justify (of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t do it anyway…).  Turns out there are a number of DC area restaurants participating in Tap Project – looks like I might be eating out between March 16 and March 22.  Find out which restaurants in your area are participating and make a reservation.

V-Day, Around the World

Posted by Donna Callejon on February 14th, 2008

It’s Valentine’s Day. Or, for many people who are trying to end violence against women, it’s “V-Day.” 2008 marks the 10th Anniversary of V-Day, the brainchild of writer and performer, Eve Ensler. Who would have thought that a little play-ful of vignettes about women’s sexuality, called the Vagina Monologues, would turn into an international movement, with performances of the play taking place all over the world? Events are scheduled on college campuses, in churches, and in dozens of countries throughout 2008. They will attract thousands of people, make them more aware of the unconscionable violence that takes place against women and girls every day, and – we all hope – spur both men and women to become advocates for organizations working to change this dynamic.

Eve Ensler and Jane Fonda were on the Today Show today, talking about the anniversary. Aside from embarrassing Meredith Vieira by uttering a no-no word on network TV, they highlighted the work V-Day is doing in the Congo, where Today’s Ann Curry has been reporting for the last couple of days. Taking on rape and sexual violence again women in the Congo is truly God’s work, and it’s great to see mainstream media putting real faces and voices to the atrocities that continue. Go Ann!

We try to not be to “salesy” on this blog, but if you are interested in supporting some great organizations working to prevent and address this kind of gender violence, check out gender-based projects on GlobalGiving.

Happy V-day.