I started off writing another “grumpy philanthropist” bit, but decided to mellow out a little for once.  I’d been getting cheesed off at high-fuss low-impact online (and offline) awareness campaigns that didn’t really do enough for the causes.  Stuff like Facebook causes and those annoying ribbons and bracelets and pink everything that might or might not help with breast cancer research.

But it turns out some of this stuff is having non-trivial impact.  I was disappointed in Social Media for Social Change because I didn’t think it was really using social media and wasn’t particularly open or transparent, but you know what, they raised $20k.  I donated the price of two tickets and skipped the event.  Maybe they could have raised more or included more or operated more efficiently, but $20k is going to make a difference to Jane Doe.  And they’re starting to plan something else maybe even bigger.

On the other side,  there’s something called Pink for October that seeks to raise awareness and funds to fight breast cancer in part by encouraging people to turn their blogs pink for the month of October. Hundreds of blogs have gone pink (it doesn’t really look so good on limeduck)

but last I checked, there were only a handful of donations, and today the donate link isn’t even working.  Well, there are lots of other ways to donate to support breast cancer research and treatment, like these good folks.  What if instead of spending that time fiddling with the CSS to turn their blogs pink, hundreds of bloggers just gave some money and wrote a post that said, “I just gave some money and you should too.” ?

That’s more or less what’s happening over at Blog Action Day, unfortunately acronym’d BAD.  As they describe it, “Today thousands of bloggers will unite to discuss a single issue – poverty. We aim to raise awareness, initiate action and to shake the web!”  There’s lots of awareness building stuff, but reasonable attention is being made to raising money.  They have a Kiva lending team with $1,500 loaned, and have raised $1,700 for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.  Still not a lot per blogger, but it’s a start.

As for the dialog on poverty, I’m a dismal scientist with a liberal bent.  I don’t believe in voodoo economics but I do believe in microenterprise.  More learned folks than I can contribute more to the discussion.  I will contribute to the awarness and also some money.  I’ve added the banner, pinked the blog (every so briefly), and even made a couple of donations.  I hope you can find something woth doing that will help.  There’s no shortage of choices, that much is certain.  Just choose.