Hello and welcome to my blog on optimism.. I”ll be posting good news and interesting tidbits I find from around the world. One of my favorite magazines is Ode Magazine, and I check their website a few times a week to see what wonderful news I can find.
Today I logged on and saw a story by an acquaintance of mine, Charles Best, who started DonorsChoose.org. I met him back in 2004 when he had just started this wonderful organization. I was working at Acumen Fund at the time, and he was seeking advice based on my experience on the Howard Dean for president campaign. As most people know, the Dean For America campaign really democratized political fundraising.
He felt his organization was democratizing charitable giving, and he wanted to build a similar community around his organization. We sat down and got into it. He was young at the time, around 26 or so, and very earnest, honest, passionate and driven. He struck me as the future of social entrepreneurship mixed with a really smart way to fund projects. Donorschoose allows teachers around the country to post school projects which need funding, and then as a donor you can choose exactly which projects you want to fund. You can see the progress of the project as well and see pictures of the class you are helping. It’s awesome!
So, without further ado I will repost a bit of his article and link to it for your Optimistic reading pleasure!
The goodness of crowds
When large numbers of people give a little, they accomplish a lot. By Charles Best
The global economic recession is an opportunity to fuel social change. While financial instinct says philanthropy will suffer in times of economic distress, there’s evidence that the challenges we face are no match for collective action. I don’t think the road ahead is smooth. But we can’t underestimate the power of “ordinary” individuals in this age of connectedness.
Picture a nest of honeybees, where each insect makes a small but vital contribution. The result is greater than the sum of its parts. A large colony will produce far more honey than two colonies half the size of the larger one. As the colony grows, its efficiency increases.
People can achieve similar triumphs. One of the most promising models is “crowdsourcing,” through which an organization generates content, or gets work performed, by tapping the knowledge and creativity of members of the public. As with a nest of honeybees, each participant contributes a small piece of a greater whole. Zagat’s database of amateur restaurant reviews and YouTube’s user-submitted videos are examples. The more contributors, the better the results.
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