Twenty million available for your charity ideas

Twenty million available for your charity ideas
Cause-related marketing campaigns, like the “Pepsi Refresh Project,” are starting to pop up everywhere as big corporations come to see that they can make a big difference both in the world and in their bottom line. Pepsi launched its new program in January of this year, pledging to donate $20 million in 2010 to charities and charitable projects across the globe. And how will they decide which projects to support? That’s where you come in.

You see, this is not simply a huge company making a charitable donation. In an effort to foster good will among its customers, and perhaps build an even larger customer base, Pepsi is involving the general public in the process. Not only can members of the public submit ideas, but their votes will decide where the grant money goes.

According to a press release on its website, Pepsi Refresh Project Advisory Board Member Majora Carter says, “All across America, people from every walk of life are producing powerful, creative and fun ideas that can create positive change. Pepsi’s Refresh Project is going to help move ideas from wishful thinking to reality – and that’s an incredibly exciting effort to support.”

Individuals and organizations everywhere can submit their ideas to move the world forward in six categories: Health; Arts and Culture; Food and Shelter; The Planet; Neighborhoods; and Education. Submissions will be accepted each month, from which a board of experts in the charitable field will choose several to be voted upon for final grant awards. These finalists will be posted on the Pepsi Refresh website for viewers to vote for their favorites. By the end of each month when voting closes, the winners for that session will be announced and the process will start all over again.

Among the first recipients of Pepsi Refresh grants were Demi Moore’s chosen charity, Girls Educational and Mentoring Services, and Kevin Bacon’s Six Both celebrities took to their social sites to encourage votes for their causes. In the end, Moore received “more” votes and helped her charity earn a $250,000 grant to support the organization’s work of transforming survivors of domestic trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. Bacon’s charity received $100,000, which will be used to distribute thousands of $20 “Good Cards,” which recipients can use to support a charity of their choice.

Both great ideas and kudos to the celebrities for their social networkanthropy (a term I coined in a recent article about social networking for the benefit of charity.) However, it’s clear that Pepsi is not just reviewing grant requests from celebrities. The average person with a great idea can apply. Pepsi even posts “Ten Tips for Submissions,” to increase your idea’s chances.

So, if you get disturbed when they see people starving, dying senselessly, or struggling to overcome tragedy, you can finally do something about it. Put your idea on paper and send it in to Pepsi. Sure, it might be good for them, but what counts is that it’s good for those in great need.

Pepsi Refresh Project
Girls Educational and Mentoring Services

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