Creative Charitable Organizations Accomplishing Amazing Results
Thinking outside the box has historically yielded some fantastic results, and this isn’t limited to the business world. Several innovators have taken the nontraditional ethos and applied it to the charity sphere with very encouraging results. Their imaginative methods and heartening results set a new example for philanthropy in the modern era. The following are just a few organizations whose innovative work I’ve found inspiring and thought provoking:
There are brilliant doctors around the world, but unfortunately, not all have access to the resources that allow for the most groundbreaking and innovative research. Seeding Labs arranges for donation of modern equipment to underfunded medical labs in the Caribbean, Africa, Southeast Asia and others so that they can carry out their research. The donation doesn’t end with delivery of a machine; Seeding Labs also provides follow-up services and assessments of the benefit as well as mentorship and networking opportunities.
One of the most exciting trends tying together finance and philanthropy is impact investing. Essentially, donors contribute money as an investment, but with an additional aim to improving conditions for the recipients in a non-monetary way. One outstanding organization making waves in this field is Acumen, which uses investments/donations in a continuing fight against global poverty and utilizes cutting-edge analytics to ensure their projects are having the greatest possible impact. Initiatives supported by Acumen include supporting green energy in rural Pakistan, developing fuel-efficient stoves for low-income Kenyans, and malaria-fighting wall coverings with aesthetically pleasing designs.
For young people who have decided they want to help others, the number of options can be overwhelming. We all want to maximize our charity efforts and while it can be difficult to decide which cause deserves your contribution over the others. Do Something’s goal is to get you to do just that: something. They say he who hesitates is lost, and Do Something aims to get young people in action as quickly as possible. They’ve sponsored a varied number of social media-boosted initiatives across the country, from giving used books to help low-income students with SAT prep, to donating over 800,000 pairs of jeans for homeless youth. This social movement engages with young people in a highly interactive, relevant way and emphasizes the fact that giving is open to everyone.
Empowering people often means just giving them the support they lack in order to do what they do best. For Nest, this means monetary and logistical help to artisans in more than 50 countries to allow them to support themselves and their families while simultaneously preserving their culture. Nest’s mission includes spreading the word about the importance of artisan culture not just to their localities, but the world at large. They also dedicate their efforts to encouraging brands to make use of regional artisans rather than mass-production, allowing these craftspeople to potentially reach customers worldwide.
It may sound unusual, but research has shown that direct cash payments to the poor are a highly effective way to bring them out of poverty with the added benefit of enhancing the local economy. Supplying this direct funding also cuts out middleman NGOs with complicated cost structures and simply distributes the cash to those who need it most. With a rigorous program to ascertain those most in need, GiveDirectly supplies the monetary resources to promising applicants. It’s efficacy has been comprehensively studied with positive results, and GiveDirectly is constantly observing their results. This is one organization using unconventional means to solve an unfortunately perennial problem, and the future looks extremely promising.