01/16/2010 05:42 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Capitalizing on Democracy

David beat Goliath with a stone. Can ThinkImpact (formerly Student Movement for Real Change) win the Chase Community Giving challenge with a vote?

One million dollars are on the line, and with stakes that big, it's a wonder how small non-profits, including ThinkImpact and PeaceJam (a partner in this effort) will ever compete with organizations that qualify for the competition but enjoy budgets over $5 million.

Last year, ThinkImpact reported an annual budget of approximately $350,000.

But the organization is poised for massive expansion; growth around the world that would impact literally 100,000 more lives with an infusion of cash this large. Is it even worth trying to win the contest? This is the strategic question that we face heading into a week long battle for one of the top spots in a contest that sets a new precedent for democratizing philanthropy.

There are several reasons to believe this is exactly the chance we have been waiting for. After all, the only metric of success is an organization's ability to mobilize its greatest resource: its people. And there is no exclusion of people outside of the United States. This contest has the potential to literally mobilize the democratic forces of people across the world - all for social benefit.

In many ways, this is truly breathtaking.

Yet, most of my colleagues who find themselves in a similar situation to ThinkImpact have elected to give little time and effort to this round of the contest. They are discouraged because they have already been through a lot to mobilize their supporters in the first round. Without guarantees that their tireless work will yield any results along with fears of donor fatigue, many organizations have already decided to bow out.

I hear their concerns, but I don't sympathize.

This is the chance of a lifetime. $1 million doesn't come knocking on the door every day, and 1 week of sweat equity is well worth it.

ThinkImpact, while relatively small, is nimble, and we have mobilized an Impact Corps of individuals to help make this possible. Will you take a minute and vote?