Online Competition Aims to Change the World by Changing the Web

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Social Actions' Change the Web Challenge will create tools for citizens to be activists wherever they are online

Web developers who enter the Social Actions' Change the Web Challenge will help make the world a better place, and have a chance to share $10,000 in prize money.

Social Actions, a web-based nonprofit initiative, is launching the Challenge in January 2009 to facilitate the creation of innovative tools to help people find and share opportunities to take action on the websites, blogs, and social networks that they already visit everyday.

Competitors will build web applications that draw on Social Actions' open database of over 20,000 concrete actions people can take across a range of issues - from climate change, to education, to ending the genocide in Darfur.

"By connecting people to high impact actions they wouldn't have otherwise known about, we hope to create explosions of real-world change all over the globe," says Peter Deitz, Social Actions' Founder.

Social Actions currently aggregates opportunities to make a difference from over 30 online platforms, including VolunteerMatch,,, GlobalGiving,, Nabuur, Care2, ThePoint, and The contest's creators hope that the tools created by the Change the Web Challenge will make it easier for web users to find and participate in fundraising campaigns, microloans, petitions, volunteer opportunities and other social change projects created by nonprofits and individuals.

"Imagine if you're reading a story about homelessness on and an opportunity to volunteer at your local shelter popped up - that's an example of what we want to inspire with Change the Web. Making actions one click away could be huge for getting people to actually take action," notes Joe Solomon, Director of the Change the Web Challenge.

The Change the Web Challenge seeks to engage web developers, bloggers, and online do-gooders of all stripes to transform the web for change. One Social Actions community member, TechSoup Global's Co-CEO, Marnie Webb, has already modified a Firefox extension to enable anyone to search Social Actions' database of opportunities just by highlighting a phrase on any web page. After all the submissions have been received, community members and a panel of expert judges will decide who the winners are.

As philanthropy blogger, Lucy Bernholz, writes on her popular blog, Philanthropy 2173, initiatives like Change the Web are essential in these cash-strapped times, "Putting action wherever the people are. Letting you be a 'click away' from volunteering, giving, petitioning, or any other kind of social action whenever you are online, on your mobile phone, or just about anywhere. Making the web into the philanthropic web ... All this 'easy' may just help people give."

The Change the Web Challenge builds on the success of online competitions for social innovation such as The American Express Card Members Competition, The Case Foundation's Giving Challenges, Ashoka's Open Sourcing Solutions, The Knight News Challenge, Advanta's Ideablob Competition and the NetSquared Mashup Challenge.

"Far more than a brain-tickling challenge to the scores of technical wizards and digital activists roaming the Web ... It also holds the potential of unleashing (and sustaining) a massive wave of humanitarian action; ultimately shaping how the Web is used by its audience and maximizing the impact of social change campaigns," blogger Romina Oliverio recently posted on

Social Actions will launch the Change the Web Challenge in late January 2009. More information and current opportunities to get involved can be found at

About Social Actions:

Social Actions ( is a nonprofit initiative committed to making it easier for people to find and share opportunities to make a difference.

A search engine on helps users find ways to take action for the causes they care about from over 30 action sources drawn from sites like,,, DemocracyinAction, GlobalGiving, Idealist, SixDegrees, VolunteerMatch and Care2. Users can also share ways for others to take action on their website, blog, or mobile device with a variety of web applications built from the Social Actions' API.

In 2008, Social Actions was a 2008 Stockholm Challenge finalist, and a recipient of the NetSquared Mashup Challenge and DonateNow Mashup Challenge award. Social Actions has been covered by PBS Online,, The Wall Street Journal, and The Daily Telegraph, as well as leading tech blogs like TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, and Mashable.

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Joe Solomon, Director

Peter Deitz, Founder, Executive Director
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