Sunday 15 August 2004

Strengthen The Good Network

Here's a quote from an e-mail I just received:
Here's the idea: Create a network of bloggers who raise awareness of "micro charities"-charitable opportunities that are simple, personal, non-bureaucratic, and, like Susan Tom, inspiring. Charitable opportunities where someone can feel great about giving $1, or even just from reading the story of the charity, it's sponsors, and it's beneficiaries.

We've had starts at this . TroopTrax and Wiggles' work being examples. But what we've lacked so far is the critical mass in the network to create truly widespread attentiveness to charitable opportunities. Metcalfe's Law states that the usefulness, or utility, of a network equals the square of the number of users. Command Post worked not because it was a great idea, but because of the size of it's network: we had over 100 people all over the world posting to, and more important, linking to the site.

While the Command Post was about aggregating information, Strengthening The Good is about amplifying awareness. And for that to work, the size of the network is everything.

So here's the proposition: I'll find them, if you'll link to them.

Last May I registered the domain, which now is the home for a blog of the same name. (It's a placeholder design for now while Sekimori works her magic.) Every third Sunday night I'll post about a "Susan Tom-esque" micro-charity. I'll find them, I'll qualify them, and I'll post their story with enough detail that people can qualify them for themselves, and feel good (or even inspired) by what the charity stands for and who it benefits.

I will NOT ask for donations, or set a goal for donations, as I did with Susan Tom. Instead, the mission of the site is only to raise awareness of the charity in question . to simply say "Look at this, it's a great and inspiring example of good in the world, and if you'd like to contribute $1 or more or get involved in some way, here's where you go to do so."

All I ask is that you join the network: every third Monday, link to that month's charity post. To help us all remember, I'll send an email to every blog in the network as a reminder on Sunday night, including the permalink for the post.

With enough blogs in the network, we should be able to generate significant awareness for each micro-charity, and benefits for each charity should naturally follow. Further, if traffic on the site is high enough to support ad revenues, I'll donate all revenues for that period to its appropriate charity. I'll also pay the hosting fees.

Now, to action: Charley presents the first opportunity. Indeed, I threw the blog up before Seki's design was ready because we're already getting requests from readers about how they should help. Rather than give to the Red Cross, however, I'm working to identify a more local cause, which should pop up in the next day or so. When it does (and it will), I'll post it as the first Strengthen The Good micro-charity. I'll send the reminder email, and I hope you'll join in with your link.

One link is all it takes. The Strengthen The Good blogger network. If we can do it for Carnival of the Vanities, we can do it for people in need.
So in the future, you can expect me to inform you once a month about a Worthy Cause. One to whom you can donate as little as a dollar, less than the price of a cup of coffee, with the assurance that 100 cents of it will actually go to those who need it most. Even if you can't give any money, you can tell your friends about it. Put a link to the post on your office network. Maybe even write an e-mail to your local rag. Or just read about it, and feel good that someone is lighting a single candle rather than cursing the darkness. Whether you call it Charity, Alms for the Poor, or just plain Balancing Karma and making merit, that's up to you.

And should you have a dollar burning a hole in your pocket - and if you're in work, a single buck isn't very much - you can start now by going over to The Command Post to verify that this is on the level (paranoid, aren't I?). Then going over to

If you believe as I do that going into Iraq was an act of Liberation, then here's an opportunity to show that Right-Wing Death Beasts are not just about Death and Destruction. And if you're a caring, sharing Anti-War Peacenik, here's an opportunity to do more than just barrack from the sidelines, show us RWDBs what Peace and Justice really mean. Shame us with Deeds not words.

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