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Win $10,000 for Your Organization Through Online Charity Badges

February 3, 2007

(Feb. 5, 2007) Six nonprofit organizations can win grants of up to $10,000 through actor Kevin Bacon and his new SixDegree.org website that encourages people to give online through the use of charity badges.

SixDegree.org is working with Network for Good to encourage organizations and individuals to raise funds for their favorite causes. A charity badge is similar to a web banner, except that it can tailored and personalized for each individual with photos, video and text and placed on websites, blogs and AIM pages (AOL’s social networking pages). Badges cannot yet be placed on MySpace pages, though a link can direct people to the badge.

SixDegree.org has enlisted several celebrities to create their own badges to raise funds for their favorite causes. In addition, the six noncelebrity badges that have the highest number of donations between Jan. 18 and March 31, 2007, will receive a matching grant of up to $10,000.

To qualify, nonprofit organizations need to create a Six Degrees Charity Badge. The badge will automatically track donations made through it, and charities automatically will be eligible to receive the matching grant.

More information on the contest can be found here.

Using Badges Effectively

Network for Good offers a few tips on how individuals can make effective charity badges, and several of these can be applied to charities (and charities can always encourage their donors to create badges for them).

1. Build a Great Badge.

The best badges have a personal photo, a compelling and tangible reason to give and a clear call to action. Use the limited space on the badge to make a strong, authentic appeal and consider including your name in the text. Use the “my video” link to link to video or online slide shows if you have them.

2. Donate to Your Own Badge.

People like to feel they are part of a larger effort. It’s not inspiring to see zero donations on a badge, so donate to your own badge to get fundraising momentum started for your cause.

3. Post the Badge on Your Site, Blog(s) and Email Signature.

Put the badge on your website, blog or AIM Page. If you have a MySpace page, you can feature a link to the badge URL. You also can put a link to the badge URL in your email signature. Put a photo in the signature that is hyperlinked to the URL to attract more attention.

4. Send a Link to People in Your Email Address Book.

Send the badge link to people in your email address book. Ask for donations and encourage these contacts to forward your email to others.

5. Ask Bloggers to Join Your Cause.

Go to technorati.com and search for blogs that are focused on your issue. Tell bloggers about your campaign and ask them to post your efforts. They have a circle of active readers who are likely to care about your cause.

About SixDegrees.org

Bacon created SixDegrees.org in partnership with the nonprofit Network for Good, AOL and Entertainment Weekly. Through SixDegrees.org, which builds on Network for Good’s giving system for donating to more than 1 million charities online and AOL's AIM Pages social networking service, people can learn about and support celebrities’ charities or fundraise for their own favorite causes with their own friends and families.

“SixDegrees.org is about using the idea that we are all connected to accomplish something good,” said Bacon in a press release about the contest. “It is my hope that Six Degrees will soon be something more than a game or a gimmick. It will also be a force for good, by bringing a social conscience to social networking.” The game, “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” made the rounds of college campuses over the past decade and lived on to be a shorthand term for the small-world phenomenon.

Network for Good is an easy-to-use, secure website that includes detailed listings of more than 1 million U.S. charities and a searchable database of more than 40,000 volunteer opportunities. Network for Good has raised more than $120 million online for more than 25,000 charities since it was founded in 2001 by AOL, Cisco Systems and Yahoo! Network for Good is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

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