While there might be more noise in the social good space, there are also more tools to make giving easier and more accessible than ever. Many are also calling this a trend towards "democratizing social good." The fact is, you don't have to be a billionaire philanthropist to invoke a positive change in the world.
Whether you want to start a movement, do something to give back or just share your story -- here are some great platforms that are enabling different ways for people to participate and make a difference.
1) SocialVest - Founded by Adam Ross, Socialvest marries shopping and giving together to make it easy for people to support their favorite causes by creating a fundraising channel out of everyday shopping. Then you can choose to donate the money you've accumulated to the charities or causes you care about and give the money you've earned through your SocialVest "Giving Account." SocialVest also allows users to them promote their cause via social networking pushes and set up give groups and fundraising projects through social networking tools.
2) Causes - Co-Founded by Joe Green and Facebook's Sean Parker, Causes is the app inside Facebook that lets people choose specifics causes to mobilize their friends for collective action, spread the word and/or raise money. Since 2007, the app has been used by a community of 125 million people and has had over $22 million donated through the application.
3) DonorsChoose - DonorsChoose is a platform that connects donors with classrooms in need. Go on the site, choose the project that interests you, donate, the site delivers the materials to the class and in turn the students will send you thank you notes and photos of the impact made.
4) MicroPlace - For as little as $20, you can open an investment account, use their search tools to find an investment on their site, pay with paypal or your bank account and then receive interest payments to make your money back. These Socially responsible investments in microfinance can alleviate global poverty helping the billion people who live on less than $1 per day.
5) Kiva - Kiva has been a prime of example of online micro-financing allowing people to give "loans that change lives." As of September 19, 2010, Kiva has distributed $160,822,200 in loans from 757,183 lenders. A total of 220,977 loans have been funded. Make a loan for as little as $25 to one of their deserving entrepreneurs, follow their progress and get your money back too over time.
6) Vittana - Co-founder, Vishal Cakrabarti was named one of Huffington Post's 2009 Gamechangers. With its motto "Students in school, one loan at a time," Vittana uses person-to-person microlending of $1,000 or less to enable students to pay for their college education, highlighting "high-achieving, deserving" students in developing countries on its website in the hope that visitors might be inspired to help out.
7) KickStarter - Kickstarter is like a Groupon for raising money for projects. Powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method, people can kickstart their project and goal by raising money through donations on the site. Projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands.
8) CrowdRise - Co-founded by actor Ed Norton, Crowdrise allows you to raise money online for over 1.5 million charities with its personal fundraising pages, charity fundraisers, and internet tools.
9) Splashlife - Launched in September 2010, Splashlife describes itself as an AARP for millenials. Members can accumulate Splashlife points for doing social good -- online and offline in-person volunteerism -- which can then be used to get discounts off all sorts.