Take a look at what is happening around us in the social enterprise space and you may notice a certain trend. The trend is collaboration. Collaboration is everywhere. It happens in many ways. We have open collaborative platforms like OpenIDEO who are solving problems with dialogue and concepts from the online community. We have crowdfunding platforms like StartSomeGood who gather funds from multiple parties to help social entrepreneurs launch their ideas. If anything is going to make an impact in the world, it would be thanks to collaboration.
To me, collaboration was always a good thing. She’s an expert on something, he’s an expert on something else, you’re an expert on this, and I’m an expert on that. Together, we fill each others’ shoes and achieve a particular goal.
The reason I think collaboration has become such a driving force in social change and innovation is because we live on the same planet. True, this was always the case but we’ve done so disconnectedly in the past. Yet because of the urgency of global problems we gradually realize that we share common problems. That means we have similar goals to achieve and achieve fast. I may be affected by pollution, but so may you. And to our advantage, you and I may live on different parts of the world, meaning we may also be exposed to different environments, experiences and even ways of thinking. This allows us to tackle a common problem by bringing together different perspectives and skills. We collaborate.
Another reason is that problems of society are too complex to rely alone on the government, business, or community to solve. Each party has their own resources and their own expertise. We cannot afford to wait and rely on one party to fix problems because they simply do not have the means. Suppose we needed to build a local arena. Without zoning of the government, construction from business, or participation of the community, it would be difficult to realize the project. A simple example as such would put a light on how difficult it can be to tackle issues affecting the world.
Thus as we move forward to create social change, we can expect collaboration to help changemakers achieve their goals. And since everyone is a changemaker, there is every reason you need to participate in collaboration and help the world.
Here is a list of websites to get you started in collaborating for social change.
33needs. 33needs is a crowdfunding website for social enterprises making an impact in either of 6 categories: the planet, education, community, health, opportunity, and sustainable food.
Buzzbnk. Buzzbnk is a crowdfunding website for social entrepreneurs and social ventures to raise funds. It is based in UK and contributions are made in British Pound Sterling (GBP). It is open to ventures from around the world with plans to accept US dollar and Euro in the future.
Causes. Causes supports projects and nonprofits that make the world a better place.
CauseVox. CauseVox helps organizations create online websites for fundraising. They feature a seamless donation processing system for 501(c)(3) organizations on the websites.
ioby. ioby allows individuals to start or engage in projects around their local area by donation and community involvement. The organization is based in New York City and has a strong focus in the surrounding area.
Kiva. Kiva lets individuals give loans for as low as $25 to support entrepreneurs around the world to alleviate poverty. Businesses are usually from low income communities with no access to capital.
Microplace. Microplace allows individuals to invest in projects and causes of the working poor. Interest is earned on the investment which, when matured, may be returned to the investor.
StartSomeGood. StartSomeGood is a crowdfunding platform connecting social entrepreneurs and supporters.
Change.org. Change.org is an online tool that allows individuals to start online petitions on the issues they care about.
Idealist. Idealist is an online community with a mission to connect people, organizations, and resources that help build a world of people living free and dignified lives.
Nabuur. Nabuur is an online volunteering platform that connects volunteers with local communities in Africa, Asia, and Latin America to share ideas and find solutions to local issues.
Ned.com. Ned.com is an online space for social entrepreneurs and social ventures.
NetSquared. NetSquared operates an online community blog for users to contribute their ideas, projects, or lessons learned about working in technology and social change.
OpenIDEO. OpenIDEO is a social development platform. OpenIDEO posts challenges for the online community to develop solutions by contribution through three phases: inspiration, conceptualization, and evaluation. At the end, the strongest concepts are chosen and the goal is that these concepts become implemented in reality.
Social Edge. Social Edge is a global online community where social entrepreneurs and those from the social benefit sectors connect, learn, inspire, and share resources.
TakingItGlobal. TakingItGlobal is an online community focused on youths 13-30 to collaborate on global education, social entrepreneurship, and civic engagement.
UnLtdWorld. UnLtdWorld is an open platform that connects social entrepreneurs, people, tools, and information needed to change the world.
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