I have become more and more impressed with the non-profit social network sites popping up these days. The trend to connect disparate individuals with varying needs can only be good – if in fact those connections really are being made. I’ve detailed out five very interesting non-profit social networking sites most of which you don’t already know about. Promise:
TheCommon.org is a fascinating social fabric concept that’s designed to help individuals connect with existing communities in order to accomplish specific things. For example, Church A is established and sets themselves up as an existing community on thecommon.org . Individual B has a desperate need to have their driveway shoveled, let’s say. TheCommon.org’s purpose is to connect individual B with community A in order to solve this problem without funds being exchanged at all.
Or better yet, you may need help organizing a neighborhood walk in order to raise awareness for the fight against drunk driving. You would simply seek out an organization that is all about fighting against Drunk Driving and would be happy to help you make your walk happen. By doing so you have requested, in essence to become a member of the existing Anti-Drunk Driving community in order to make this task happen.
Overall it’s a fairly interesting model that helps connect usually disconnected end points. One of my favorite churches (Mars Hill, which I listen to on line regularly) is deeply involved with TheCommon.org and use it to help leverage their members more effectively within the inner city. Which is enough for me to say that this web community is legit.
Compassion International is an international child advocacy and sponsorship NGO determined to free children from poverty in Jesus’ name. In doing this they allow sponsors to connect one to one with children in impoverished areas around the globe by working with local churches in these areas. To take these connections to an all new level Compassion has developed OurCompassion.org which allows sponsors to connect to one another and work to increase awareness and even fulfill needs personally themselves.
This video explains the concept better than I ever could.
In the spirit of full disclosure I work at Compassion in my daytime job and was involved from day one in the development of this website.
The world wide open connects the 1 billion Christians world wide to help collaboration and solution of problems within the body of Christ. The solution is presently in limited beta release but for those of you able to get in on the beta congratulations.
Upon signing up to the tool you are highly encouraged to setup your profile. This is a much more involved endeavor than signing up for your facebook account because the site creators envision the site as being not only a connection point site but also a Christian knowledge repository. This seems to be a fairly faulty assumption that this site will replace a user’s blogging site or their other social networking arenas. But regardless, it is a fascinating model and a truly viable conviction. The site creators have said outright that the site isn’t a Christian Facebook… that it is a problem solver through social networking. So, it is very similar – at a grander scale – to thecommon.org in its goal.
Overall a fascinating idea… with all the flaws (and more) of a beta. But if you can get in on the beta do it, it’s a very interesting concept and could very well take off as soon as they release it to the world.
So this is probably the one solution you’ve already heard about, but it bears repeating. Kiva, if you’ve been living under a rock, allows individuals to give a micro-loan to a specific individual living in a 3rd world. This then allows the individual to create a tuck shop (small candy shop, used shoe store, what have you) utilizing the funds. Once the store is off the ground and making money the micro-loan is paid back and you are able to reinvest in a new local business.
Where Kiva really excels is the ability to allow users to do searches against particular criteria. For example a user may want to find a woman looking to develop a local clinic located in Nigeria. What’s great is that even though there might not be anyone right now that meet this criteria, it will let you know as soon as one comes available. With Kiva Alerts you are able to proactively seek out the perfect fit for your money.
MyMission2 is a communal social networking site that allows you to present a problems to the community at large in an attempt to get them solved collectively. My testing seems to indicate that its most of the “missions” presented to the community are pretty asinine. Eg. – help me get 250 Facebook friends. Get 10 people to read my book. Etc. But it is still in beta. But I am fairly fascinated to find out if connections begin happening virally and real problems begin to get solved at the grass roots level. Check it out – I’d love to hear your thoughts.