Betty Crocker helps kids give back through OLPC

General Mills is reprising their “Win and Give” program from last year to help kids win an XO laptop and give one to a child in an African deployment. Last year this resulted in almost 1000 donated laptops.

From now through May, specially-marked packages of Betty Crocker fruit snacks will feature a “Win & Give” campaign, giving people a chance to win laptops themselves and donate laptops to children in Africa.

The campaign shows moms and kids that even the smallest act can make a big difference, and that giving to others can be fun. “Research shows that providing children with opportunities and experiences to feel the joy and impact of giving to others helps them grow into kind, empathetic and respectful adults,” said Dr. Michele Borba*. “The ‘Win & Give’ campaign truly makes a difference and it’s so easy for kids in the U.S. to get involved.”

Having a giving heart is important, as 93 percent of moms would exude more pride if their children grew into giving adults than if they were wealthy, according to the Kids’ Altruism Indicator**. But, between work, school and after-school activities, it can be hard for families to find the time to give back. Dr. Borba recommends five ways families can incorporate giving into their everyday lives: Tap into kids’ passions. For instance, an animal lover may get excited about helping at a local animal shelter. Encourage children to become involved in causes they care about. Let them lead the charge and follow-up with support. When watching the news, take the time to explain hot button issues and how people have been affected by local disasters, like hurricanes or tornados.

Kids are compassionate and may proactively want to help by donating clothes or writing letters to those affected. Especially when they know they can make a difference. Take that moment to mobilize compassion – “What can we do?” is a great question that empowers children to lead the way. Be on the lookout for local opportunities to help.

Each package contains a code that can be entered at to see if they’ve won an XO laptop; for every laptop one, another is donated to a child in Africa.  The website allows parents and kids to see the impact laptops have on kids in Rwanda with videos from the students and teachers who received the laptops, and includes tips and comments from Dr. Borba.

* Michele Borba is an educator, author, and parenting expert working with General Mills.
** The Kids Altruism Indicator survey was conducted by Kelton Research in December 2010, among children ages 7-12.

OLPC in eBay’s spotlight

Thanks to eBay for keeping us in its spotlight this month. OLPC is one of the 3 nonprofits featured in their Giving Works Spotlight on Education. A portion of all proceeds bought or sold through that page will go to OLPC.

And we will again be one of the nonprofits on display at checkout during the second week in August — an invitation for eBay users to donate when checking out with PayPal, which has so far raised roughly $20k.

We are also talking to Causecast about ways to make OLPC more visible as a force for educational change, particularly within the US. If you have a story about an OLPC fundraiser you have participated in or want to share, let us know.

Save the Children and scheduled giving

I became a Save the Children sponsor this week, both because I admire their good works, and because I want to see how they connect donors to specific recipients — something they do as well as any international donor agency. They strongly encourage small recurring donations over larger one-time donations, and I understand why: this is a reason to stay in touch, a reliable predictor of future support, and forges more of an identity than a one-time gift.

This week Brand Labs in Michigan also started a weekly donation to OLPC – giving one laptop a week. Co-founder Dane Downer said of the project:

“The entire world is rapidly going online and the more people that join the Big Conversation, the better off we’ll all be. If we can do a little bit to add some new voices to the chorus, we’ll be extremely proud… We haven’t put an end date on the program because we don’t want it to end.”

We receive a number of one-time donations of more than $10k, but there’s something compelling about this sort of steady project. Thank you to Brand Labs, and to everyone doing what they can each week to support projects they care about.

Change the World program wraps up

We have been running a Change the World [CTW] program since November, which (along with the Give Many program which preceded it) allowed groups that wanted 100 or more XOs to get them at close to their raw production & shipping cost.

This was a nice way to engage potential G1G1 supporters and others who were interested in supporting an entire school or educational work done by local charities.  It has had only limited popularity, however, and minimal overlap with our goal of getting countries and districts to embrace olpc for their children at scale.  As part of refocusing on our mission this year we are wrapping up CTW.

This is a program we would love to support if we had time to do everything — it has produced some lovely stories, and on rare occasions starts a process that leads to larger, lasting commitments.  In time we may make a similar program available again, and welcome feedback here from those who have taken part, or considered taking part, over the past year.

If you are waiting to finalize details on a Change the World request, including longer-term fundraising plans, please do so this week (emailing us; those who have written in already should have received similar updates by email).  The page describing the program will stay up for a short while longer, and all current CtW conversations and transactions will be completed, even after the program has ended.

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