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Half the Sky Game: What went Right and What went Wrong

Asi Burak Since its debut on March 4, the Half the Sky game has seen more than 500,000 players (!) , who in total have contributed more than $160,000 in donations directly…

Clean Energy: Is Crowdfunding the Solution?

by David Bornstein This originally appeared in the New York Times as a Fixes column. **** If you wanted to get large numbers of people actively engaged in helping to solve…

Mini case study: BlueEngine addresses the need for academic rigor through intensive tutorials

PROBLEM: The “achievement gap” in education is one of the most pressing equal rights issues in the United States: all over the country, public schools students in low-income, largely minority…

Mini Case Study: How to recruit top talent, when you can’t pay top dollar

PROBLEM: In 2009, the co-founder of Anza Technologies, a startup that designs and delivers high-quality, income-generating products to African farmers, was confronted with one of the biggest obstacles facing most…

Mini Case Study: How to resurrect a social service cut by tight government budgets

PROBLEM: In 2006, residents of Arlington, VA were close to losing an after-school program that taught kids how to fix bikes. Community Spokes, as the program was known then, recruited…

Mini Case Study: How to leverage social media for action not just commentary

PROBLEM: While some applaud the power of social media to create social change, others doubt that information and discussion moves users to action. This fall, Malcolm Gladwell took a strong…

Mini Case Study: Catchafire pairs professionals with social change organizations

PROBLEM: People generally want to volunteer in some capacity; social change organizations generally need volunteers. Soup kitchens and Habitat for Humanity seldom have a shortage of volunteers, because most anyone…

Mini Case Study: Heal The Bay on how to make a video go viral

Social innovators can learn from each others’ successes and failures. That’s the idea behind Dowser’s Mini Case Studies, real-world stories showing how changemakers confront practical challenges. PROBLEM: The environmental advocacy…

Mini Case Study: Why VolunteerMatch rejected venture financing and the prospect of fast growth

PROBLEM: VolunteerMatch, an online service that matches volunteers and organizations, had operated for about a year when it faced a wrenching choice: either become a for-profit business, which would allow…

Mini Case Study: How KaBOOM! uses the Web to teach thousands of communities to build their own playgrounds

Social innovators can learn from each others’ successes and failures. That’s the idea behind Dowser’s Mini Case Studies, real-world stories showing how changemakers confront practical challenges. From time to time,…

Mini Case Study: Operation Warm’s Kim Fortunato on how to leverage a coat drive for maximum impact

PROBLEM: When Kim Fortunato joined Operation Warm as president in 2006, she was impressed by its vision and reach. The Pennsylvania-based organization provides new winter coats to kids who can’t…

Mini Case Study: Idealist struggles to survive the Great Recession

PROBLEM: Idealist is a leading online portal for social organizations, job seekers and volunteers to connect with causes, resources and employment opportunities. Despite its well-established brand and loyal user base,…

Mini Case Study: How Common Ground reinvented its homelessness strategy

PROBLEM: By standard measures, Rosanne Haggerty and her staff at Common Ground had achieved stunning success attacking the problem of homelessness in New York in the 1990s. Haggerty had won…

Mini Case Study: Build Change lays off Indonesian staff, then major earthquake hits

PROBLEM: On September 30, 2009, at 5:16 PM, a 7.6 magnitude earthquake ruptured the Sunda Trench, offshore from Padang, Indonesia, killing over 1,100 people and causing 250,000 families to lose…

Mini Case Study: Global Citizen Year’s recruitment quagmire

PROBLEM: When Abby Falik started Global Citizen Year (GCY) in 2008, the last challenge she expected to encounter was not attracting enough applicants for the organization’s program. GCY offers intense…