Rally.org Teams Up with Maker Ed to Support Every Child A Maker!

Rally Maker March Header 2.28.14.004We’re very excited to announce that we have recently partnered with the Maker Education Initiative (Maker Ed), and today we are launching the Month of Making Money! Maker Ed’s mission is to create more opportunities for all young people to develop confidence, creativity, and spark an interest in science, technology, engineering, math, the arts, and learning as a whole through making. In 2013, they engaged over 90,000 youth and families in making activities. Rally.org is committed to educating and supporting the current and next generation of makers and the Maker Movement.

Maker Ed works with local organizations to implement its Maker Corps and Maker VISTA programs, and these organizations do tremendous work to help reach the vision of every child a maker. Maker Corp Host Sites, which range from science rich institutions to libraries to school districts, bring on 2-5 Maker Corps Members for paid summer internships to support their maker programming. Maker VISTA Hub Sites build capacity in high poverty communities for youth to experience making year round. For the Month of Making Money campaign, we’re empowering a selection of Maker Corps Host Sites and Maker VISTA Hub Sites to raise money to support their maker programming efforts.

The participating sites are:

Digital Harbor Foundation in Baltimore, MD is a youth-centered makerspace that wants to provide scholarships for Baltimore youth to attend MakerCamp 2014.

Keene Public Library in Keene, NH serves as an education, cultural, and social center where citizens of all walks of life come together to learn in our small yet thriving New Hampshire town.

Maker Guilds in Los Angeles, CA after school programs, guilds, and camps improve children’s innovative and critical thinking mindset skills, teach them to accept and embrace failure, and prepare them for a rapidly changing future.

Miami Science Makers in Miami, FL is striving to introduce new maker activities that they believe will bring families together to create an open ended learning environment through hands-on projects.

Newark Museum in Newark, NJ is where art and science meet. The largest museum in the state, we are dedicated to using our collections to inspire innovative making and creative problem solving through school, out-of-school and public programs.

SAM Academy in Sanger, CA reaches out to underserved children during out-of-school time and offers children enrichment activities in science, art, and music programs otherwise not accessible at home or in school.

SASTEMIC in San Antonio, TX has a goal to reach underserved populations and provide students with access to 21st Century technologies such as 3D printers, rapid prototyping circuit boards, and computer coding.

Please join us in supporting the Maker Movement today!

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How to Rally for Loved Ones

Spotlight on the Rally for Dana

The Rally for Dana has raised more than $17,000. It’s also one of the most visited campaigns on Rally.org, in one of the most popular fundraising categories: personal health. We reached out to Steve de Brun, Rally leader for this campaign, to see what advice he has for other leaders looking to grow their campaigns:

Dana has spent more than four years battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Dana’s friends and family were saddened to learn that doctors recently found a new growth on her neck, so loved ones are coming together to donate funds to help Dana cover her rising medical costs. We asked Dana’s friend Steve de Brun, who is heading up the Rally, what advice he had for other cause leaders:

Q. What have you found to be the most effective way to spread the word about your cause?

A: 100% of the people who have helped Dana know her personally, or are friends of the fundraisers. So we collectively reached out to these friends and asked them to consider contributing, and to disseminate the message to people who would care. We did this via email, and we also set up a Facebook Group that many people joined, which helped us to not bombard people with too many emails!

Q. What are some strategies you suggest to encourage donations?

A: We carefully chose imagery that reminds people of their love and friendship Dana. We emailed people a few times, and posted more frequently to Facebook, always driving people back to our Rally.org URL. And we created a video, which is essentially a slideshow of many images put to an emotional song, cut in iMovie on my Mac: https://vimeo.com/79963052

Steve reached out to supporters via email to regularly share personal updates, as well as ideas about how to extend the campaign’s reach. One of those ideas was a suggested message for folks to post through Facebook, Twitter and/or LinkedIn. Here’s an example of an email message that Steve shared with supporters to encourage donations:

Hello Friends of Dana,

First off, thank you for giving to our online campaign to support Dana at https://rally.org/dana. Your in kind and monetary gifts are a HUGE relief to Dana, and we are more than 50% of the way towards our fundraising goal!

For the second phase of our campaign, we are asking you to share this to your networks & communities who also know Dana (or don’t!) but don’t know about the campaign — and might also be looking for a general update to how she’s doing.  There are a select few of us on this email list — but we each represent a much larger crew of people who know and love Dana.

Here’s a sample message that you can use as a starting point, which includes a link to a video that we made for Dana:

“My friend Dana needs your help – she’s in the middle of a 4-year fight with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and we, her friends, have organized and online fundraiser here: https://rally.org/dana . Here’s a video that tells her story in images and song: https://vimeo.com/79963052

Thanks so much for reading this and loving Dana. And thanks for sharing this with your communities.  And don’t forget that we have an active Facebook group to support Dana and keep the conversations going at https://www.facebook.com/groups/318125168328619/.

Best wishes,

Holly Roberson & Steve de Brun

To learn more about this campaign, visit Rally for Dana. More advice for running a successful Rally campaign can be found here.

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Innovation and Progress in the New Year

SPOTLIGHT ON KARTIS

Kartis, a project launched by residents at the Harvard Innovation Lab, is a crowd-sourced map of nonprofit organizations around the globe. Residents are designing this map to help nonprofits connect with one another to share ideas and resources.

We asked Rally Leader Andrew Cole for some crowdfunding advice to help others along the way. Here’s what he had to say:

Q: What have you found to be the most effective way to spread the word about your cause?

A: Sharing on Facebook is great, and we managed to pull in a lot of money that way.  But I think what’s even more important is reaching out to possible supporters who you think have a personal stake in your cause, and explaining to them on a person to person level what your project means to you, and what you think it means to them.  This could be through an email, or in person. That way, your campaign becomes a part of a larger conversation, and the more personal the better.

Q: What are some strategies you suggest to encourage donations?

A: Networking, networking, networking! I’ve found that the Rally campaign has given me an excuse to reach out to a lot of interesting people I haven’t spoken to in a while, and on a personal level that’s been really great for me.  So use it as an opportunity to reach out to the professor or family friend you haven’t spoken to in a while, but who you know would be interested.

Visit the Rally campaign for Kartis to learn more. For more tips on how to create a stellar Rally campaign, check out our Rally 101 blog posts.

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Rally.org Hosts PDF Liberation Hackathon, January 17-19

Courtesy of Open Knowledge Foundation Blog

Photo Courtesy of Open Knowledge Foundation Blog

Rally.org is all about inspiring leaders and inciting action to foster social change. That’s why we’re excited to host the PDF Liberation Hackathon’s West Coast event at RallyPad in San Francisco, CA, Friday through Sunday, Jan. 17-19.

This innovative 48-hour event, which will also take place in Washington D.C., New York City and Chicago, will bring developers and researchers together to come up with new ways to answer to old questions. Hackathon participants will troubleshoot different solutions for extracting large amounts of data sets from PDF documents. PDFs (in their current format) restrict the way that open source models can analyze data.

Read this excerpt from Marc Joffe’s guest blog post for “Math Babe” about the importance of this hackathon. The entire blog post can be found here.

“[O]pen source models can bring much needed transparency to scientific research, finance, education and other fields plagued by biased, self-serving analytics. Models often need large volumes of data, and if the model is to be run on an ongoing basis, regular data updates are required.

Unfortunately, many data sets are not ready to be loaded into your analytical tool of choice; they arrive in an unstructured form and must be organized into a consistent set of rows and columns. This cleaning process can be quite costly. Since open source modeling efforts are usually low dollar operations, the costs of data cleaning may prove to be prohibitive. Hence no open model – distortion and bias continue their reign.”

Visit this page to register for the PDF Liberation Hackathon.

Give Hope this Holiday Season

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Our “Rally for the Holidays” collection of causes shines light on some very moving stories that speak to the spirit of this very special season of giving. We hope that these stories of strength, resilience and drive serve as a powerful reminder that a little bit of empathy can go a long way in changing someone’s world for the better.

We invite you to check out a few examples from our collection below.

Christmas is LoveThe Christmas is Love SC Project brings holiday cheer to adults who are physically and intellectually challenged. Many of the young adults and elderly participants who stay at Helping Hands or HopeBridge at the Hollies adult day care centers live well below the poverty line and have little to nothing to celebrate. Learn more about this holiday initiative today.

Rescue, Repurpose, Redeem is working to to help individuals who have suffered from chronic homeless and live with disabilities to get their entrepreneurial businesses off the ground. Handmade cards, ornament, handbags and more can be purchased by clicking “Contribute” on the fundraising page and selecting a specific donation amount. View the video below to find out more about this organization.

The full collection of nearly 50 causes is available at rally.org/for/holidays. Take some time to enjoy looking through these heartwarming projects that have been triggered by compassion and are fueled by love, whether you’re looking to:

Wishing you and your loved ones all the best as we prepare to say goodbye to 2013 and ring in the New Year. Happy holidays!

Comfort and Empower the Leaders of Tomorrow

THIS WEEK’S FEATURED CAUSES

This week, we’re highlighting a few Rally campaigns that are comforting and empowering the leaders of tomorrow by providing professional training, emotional support and a safe place to sleep.

Young Minority Students Learn Valuable Technology Skills

Jason Young’s family was evicted from their home the day after Christmas in 2001. It was a difficult experience for Young. He knew he wanted to do what he could to prevent other low-income kids from facing financial hardships as they grew into adulthood. That’s why Jason co-founded the Hidden Genius Project, a two-year program that trains young black male students in science, technology, engineering and math to unlock their true potential and help position them as leaders of tomorrow. Read NationSwell’s story on this promising program and check out the Rally campaign.

Friends Help Care for a Mother in Pain

Kelly Gray-Sheehan is in pain; constant and severe abdominal pain. Her kids, Ava and Colin, have started to notice the toll that this chronic condition has taken on their mom. Fortunately, Kelly has loved ones who have started a Rally campaign For Kelly to provide a beacon of hope for someone who always goes out of her way to help others.

A Son Remembers His Dad by Giving Toys to Kids

Ryan and Ron Russek started giving toys to hospitalized kids at the City of Hope when Ron was battling cancer in 2004. Ron sadly passed away a year later, but his son has kept up the tradition and grown  the project exponentially. Visit Wish Upon A Toy to see how Ron is spreading joy to the City of Hope.

Group Provides Shelter Beds for Abused and Neglected Children

Need by Need has launched a Rally campaign to give 10 beds to Palmetto Place Children’s Shelter, a safe haven for abused and neglected children in South Carolina. Watch this video to find out more about this initiative to help give kids with little faith in the goodness of others a reason to believe again.

Group Raises Funds to Get Water and Electricity to Community in Nigeria

As Kwanzaa approaches, Yeye is helping a budding community in Lago raise enough money to purchase a generator and water tank. The group is almost halfway to their goal of $2,500, with more than $910 raised so far. Visit the Rally campaign to learn more.

NOTABLE NEWS STORIES

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Remembering Newtown Victims and Lost Loved Ones

THIS WEEK’S FEATURED CAUSES

This week, we’re focusing on remembering Newtown and lost loved ones, with fundraising campaigns to cover travel expenses for gun violence survivors, support a family that lost a son and fund a health clinic in Kenya.

Vigil for Newtown Families and Gun Violence Survivors

Clipped Newtown Vigil

The Newtown Action Alliance held a vigil on Thursday to honor the more than 30,000 people who lost their lives lost to gun violence over the last year. The vigil took place just a few days before the one-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which killed 20 children and 6 teachers. The group created a fundraiser to help cover travel expenses for survivors and families to attend the vigil at the Washington National Cathedral. They’re almost a quarter of the way to their goal of $26,000. A contribution to the campaign will support these families and individuals who have come together to grieve.

The Smelser Family

SmelsersThe Smelsers of Arendtsville, PA, are grieving the sudden and recent loss of their son Adam. A family friend, Stephen Rouse, set up this fundraising campaign to honor Adam’s memory by providing his family with emotional and financial support to help them get through this difficult time.

“Just hearing [Adam’s] name bring so many hilarious [and] encouraging memories,” writes Stephen.”As the Smelser family goes through the coming days and weeks, I know many of you are wanting to help. There is much that we cannot do separated by distance, but I want to make sure that there’s one dimension of all this they don’t have to worry about: money.”

Visit the Rally campaign to see this bittersweet tribute to Adam.

Brothers for Bolo

Brothers for BoloNiall Gannon’s life was forever altered when a priest from Kenya came to speak to his church in Clayton, MO, about his dream of building a health clinic in his native village of Bolo, Kenya.

“Gretchen and I had felt a calling to begin doing more giving outside the U.S. and this seemed like a perfect project,” said Niall. “We told Father James we would build the clinic for him. Two months later, after he returned to Kenya, Father James was murdered by an armed gang. We committed ourselves to continue, and even expand the project to honor his life and his love for this community. Last month, my brother Liam (who is a medical doctor) and I traveled to Kenya to officially open it and see the first patients. You’ll see from the picture (to the left) that it is still at the cinder block level but two exam rooms are open. He and another Doctor (Father James’s brother) saw 500 patients over (the course of) two days.”
Niall hopes to raise $25,000 for an x-ray machine, incubator, medical exam tables and equipment, and also to dig a fresh water well.

NOTABLE NEWS STORIES

Read the news stories below for an in-depth look into some of the important work and worthy causes our Rally leaders are invested in doing to make our world a better place. There are plenty of great

MORE USERS IN THE NEWS

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There are plenty of great ways to stay on top of the latest news, tips and opportunities from Rally.org and our cause leader. Here are a few ways you can stay in the loop.

Give to Causes that Matter on #GivingTuesday

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Forget about those shoes that are half-off and the latest and greatest video game console — #GivingTuesday is a breath of fresh air after your frenetic holiday search for the perfect buy. Now in its second year, #GivingTuesday was created as an antidote to the shopping frenzy that comes with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Rally.org is partnering with #GivingTuesday to showcase a collection of non-profit organizations that are tirelessly working to improve living conditions, create cures and rebuild lives. Continue reading Give to Causes that Matter on #GivingTuesday…

Rally for Typhoon Relief in the Philippines

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We’ve just posted our latest story in our series of inspiring Rally fundraising campaigns on Yahoo! Shine. This week we highlight a special collection featuring a variety of causes that are raising funds to help people of the Philippines in the aftermath of Haiyan Typhoon.

Global relief operations are doing their best to help the victims of Haiyan Typhoon in the Philippines, but still, many communities are suffering. A recent survey from Pew Research Center found that so far Americans are giving less to Haiyan relief efforts than they did in the aftermath of earlier high-profile natural disasters.

Many of us at home want to help, but we’re faced with this challenge: how can we give the people of the Philippines the support they need? There is no easy answer to the challenges facing the millions of people who are trying to rebuild their lives. But we believe that fundamentally, giving starts when you connect with a story.

Learn more about our special collection at “How You Can Help Victims in the Philippines Right Now.”

Rally 101: 5 Tips for a Great Updates Section

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If you’ve followed our earlier Rally 101 posts, you now should be ready to introduce your crowdfunding campaign to the world. One way to inspire people to give and to follow your story is through your Updates section, and we have some pointers on how to create the best updates possible.

Crafting a messaging strategy is key to building momentum for your Rally. Our advice sounds ridiculously obvious because it is obvious, but  for those of you overwhelmed as to where to even begin, we’ve got you covered.

Continue reading Rally 101: 5 Tips for a Great Updates Section…