The Internet has an extraordinary capability to empower people
to do good things. Here's a look at Internet phenomenon that
started with modest beginnings.
Sports columnist Rick Reilly
wrote a column in which he challenged his readers to
donate $10 for a net to protect a person in Africa from
malaria carrying mosquitoes. The response was so great that it
became an ongoing movement. Within a few months, over 1
million dollars had been raised.
Nothing But Nets
Scott Harrison started Charity
Waterafter finding himself,
in 2004, "for the most part living selfishly and arrogantly."
He said, "desperately unhappy, I needed to change." Here's his
To make people's donations to Charity Water more tangible,
the organization shows each water well project on
One.org seeks to achieve
change through advocacy. They hold world leaders to account
for the commitments they've made to fight extreme poverty.
Using the efficiency of the Internet to keep a large
membership informed, the group regularly sends out emails to
people who've signed up; that number is over 2 million people.
Sites like The
Rainforest Site can generate funds for a cause without
ever asking you for a penny. You click on a link, you see who
the companies that sponsor the program are, and in this way
money is generated to help preserve the rainforest. While you
are there, you can learn about the issue. Since 2000, more
than 153 million visitors have clicked to save more than
40,500 acres of habitat. While at the site, visitors can
navigate to related sites, that raise money for causes like
reducing hunger, ending breast cancer, promoting child health,
increasing childhood literacy, and helping rescue animals.
Aston Kutcher used Twitter to raise awareness about
stopping malaria through the use of bed nets. He challenged
CNN to see who could reach 1 million followers on Twitter
first. He promised to donate 10,000 mosquito nets to
Malaria No More
if he won. He did win, and donated $100,000 to the cause.
Happy Slip started out
as a series of funny videos about Christine Gambito's
Philippine family. The videos were so entertaining and well
produced, that now, hundreds of thousands of people watch
them. Gambito is now using her
Youtube page to raise money for
Operation Smile. The money is generated every time someone
watches a video. She's already raised thousands of
Is there a cause that you believe passionately in? The
Internet provides lots of tools to put your passion to good
use. If you don't have a clue how to proceed, one way might be
to use a social networking site (like Myspace or Facebook) and
make the focus of it about your cause. The people that you add
as friends are likely to be interested in the same cause as
you. You should be able to embed video, from sources like
Youtube, that powerfully educate people about your cause. If
things really get going in a big way, you can expand from
there. You can create a regular website, which is set up to
navigate to your social networking site when people type in
your domain. All of this can be done at virtually no cost to
the user. Sites like
allow you to sell T-shirts, buttons and bumper stickers at no
cost to you. You can even mark
these products if you
want to make a profit. There is pretty much no limit as to how large a user
can make a site like this.