Crowdfunding Social Ventures at SXSW

March 14, 2012       Amy Sample Ward      

Start Some Good, a platform for social good groups – whether nonprofit organizations or not – to raise funds and build community, highlighted eight diverse projects working for social impact at an evening event hosted by Center61 at SXSW. Each project was given five minutes to pitch to a packed room before each attendee had the chance to vote for their favorite project. The winner received $1,000 from rackspace and a free organizational membership to NTEN.

All eight projects showcased innovative responses to real issues and provided solutions to questions or problems many in Austin and around the country, even the world, deal with day to day. Here are the eight projects, in alphabetical order:

Cost of Freedom Project

A location-based mobile application to educate voters about their state’s photo ID requirements, and how to obtain a voter ID, including what documents they need to establish their identity.

FourTechers Project

Four teachers trying to foster grassroots educational change and develop a vehicle for collaboration and networking between teachers nation-wide to share ideas, lesson plans, and teaching tools, all while maintaining accountability to state and federal teaching standards.

HourSchool

A platform to build a social school from your community, enabling learning exchanges in one hour increments.

The Meta-Activism Project

A think-tank for digital activism working on projects like turning qualitative case studies of digital activism from around the world into a non-proprietary quantitative data set, creating and aggregating resources for the study of digital activism.

OpenCurrriculum

A free and open source community creating a global exchange for K-12 education curriculum.

Pocket Hotline

A platform to create a hotline on a topic you are passionate about to support organizations and your community.

Real Good Food

A social platform to enable neighbors to share food and find others to share with locally.

The event was abuzz with these great ideas, as well as countless other projects starting up locally in Austin, and beyond. Conversations tended towards opportunities to connect people directly with each other, a theme of many of the conversations about new tools throughout SXSW hallways. As technology continues to advance, we, the developers and users, continue to look for opportunities to use technology to help us more directly and seamlessly find each other and the things we are interested in – whether it is local food or resources to do our job.

With about 75 social innovators and nonprofit professionals voting, everyone I asked told me they knew it would be a close vote. The winner: HourSchool! You can learn more about the project and connect with them directly at http://www.hourschool.com/

Start Some Good hosts many projects like these, providing them with a platform to raise funds, share their message, and build community. Learn more about Start Some Good in the video below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=C24jwrWWvyw