There’s money out there: 4 good fundraising angles for your passion project

On Idealists in Action, we love to tackle your biggest obstacles to doing good. One we hear a lot is, “I don’t have the skills or knowledge to start something.” This week, we’re taking that behemoth down.

Another way you can defeat the obstacles in your path is by joining the Idealist Network—a new online and on-the-ground platform we’re designing to help people everywhere connect and take action on any issue that concerns them, locally or globally. Sign up to attend our online launch on March 11 and see what it’s all about.

Raising money for a personal project is seldom a walk in the park. But with corporate social responsibility in vogue and the Internet leveling the communications playing field, there’s never been a better time to give funding your passion project a shot. Here are four solid ways to approach the task:

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3 funding opportunities to help you jumpstart your ideas this spring

Spring is in the air—along with a new set of top-notch innovation contests with equally delightful prizes. Now’s the time to pitch that creative project you’ve been mulling over all winter!

GOOD’s Start Something That Matters Challenge

There’s nowhere to go but up.

  • WHO: Any social entrepreneur over 18
  • WHAT: The folks at GOOD are looking for innovators from around the globe with ideas that will change the world for the better. The contestant with the top solution will receive $50,000 to make their dream a reality.
  • WHEN: Deadline for submissions is May 17

Verizon Powerful Answers Award

  • WHO: Individuals 18 or older
  • WHAT: Verizon (yes, the phone company) is on the hunt for inventors and entrepreneurs with smart solutions to social issues of all sizes. The contest has three categories—health care, education, and sustainability—to direct submissions toward. Winners could  go home with up to $1 million bucks—and a marketable idea to boost.
  • WHEN: Deadline to enter the contest is June 30

CCEMC Grand Challenge: Innovative Carbon Uses

  • WHO: Open to (but not limited to) companies, research institutions, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and inventors.
  • WHAT:  A four-year long award program,this challenge aims to find one foolproof tech-based model to convert greenhouse gases into valuable products. CCEMC will narrow down the contestants every two years, first starting with a group of 20, given $500,000 to start developing their idea, and ending with awarding a sole winner $10 million to boost their product into the tech market.
  • WHEN: Deadline for applications is July 15

Know of more opportunities? Let us know in the comments below.

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Contest roundup: Funds to help ideas spring to life

Innovation is in the air! Dust the cobwebs from your brain and polish your ideas for a better world before these opportunities disappear:

Dell Social Innovation People’s Choice Awards

  • WHO: University students from around the world
  • WHEN: Deadline to submit and vote for projects is May 13
  • WHAT: Dell Social Innovation Challenge wants your brilliant solutions to global problems in categories from agriculture to health to technology. The community votes on which projects make the grade, with $1,000 awarded to the eleven most popular ideas.

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    Want your idea to have the best chance at success? Increase the levels of serotonin in your brain by soaking up sunlight, spending time with loved ones, and encouraging others. Photo via Flickr user Spec-ta-cles (Creative Commons).

2012 Rockefeller Foundation Innovation Challenges

  • WHO: Individuals, organizations, and groups across the globe
  • WHEN: Deadline to apply is May 15
  • WHAT: To celebrate its 100th birthday, the Rockefeller Foundation invites you to submit your innovative ideas for the next century in three areas of focus: data, irrigation, and farming. Icing on the cake if your idea shows promise of being scalable and replicable, positively impacts poor or vulnerable populations, respects local context, and finally, is new and exciting. The foundation will grant funding from a pool of $100,000 to nine finalists.

GOOD Maker challenges

  • WHO: Anyone with a good idea
  • WHEN: Deadlines for the challenges vary
  • WHAT: The folks at GOOD are at it again. With their new tool Maker, organizations and individuals want to hear your ideas for social change, with the community deciding which ones will have the most impact. Right now challenges include a call for speakers at TEDxChicago, an ideal car-free day in Los Angeles, and new ways of learning. Rewards for ideas typically run the gamut from funding to promotion to more tailored goodies like—ready for this?—a vacation at a Hawaiian resort.

Know of more contests and awards our community should be aware of? Leave a comment below!

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