That Was Easy
Showcasing Youth Venturers who are using their skills and passions to create a positive impact in society. Inviting YOU to vote and comment on their work to advance the best strategies in youth social entrepreneurship, and spread the word about this youth-led social change movement that is transforming the world.
"To deal successfully with an issue, [YOU] have to develop a passion for it. Passion is what enables someone to become an effective advocate, to touch other people's hearts, to move . . . public officials, to get the public mobilized to want to do something." -Tony Hall
The That Was Easy Competition. Calling all young people who are passionate, who are driven, who are committed to making a difference in the world in which they live.
The That Was Easy Competition. Showcasing Youth Venturers who are using their own skills and passions to create a positive impact in society.
The That Was Easy Competition. Inviting YOU to read about these Youth Ventures and be inspired, to comment on their work and participate in a discussion to advance the best strategies in youth social entrepreneurship, to spread the word about these impressive youth and support the youth-led social change movement that is transforming the world.
The Need For Changemakers
When was the last time you heard about people who every day looked hunger in the face, woke up to poverty, faced barriers to education, encountered violence in their own homes, neighborhoods or schools, felt digitally disconnected from society, couldn't afford a healthy lifestyle or access to care, or were ignorant of cultural differences and you did not feel compelled to act? In a world where people encounter such problems every day, we feel a necessity to help others less fortunate than ourselves, to make life easier for those around us. The key to acting effectively is seizing our impulse and doing something about it. Cultivating our passion and applying it to problems in our community allows us to succeed in our pursuit to alleviate poverty, hunger, and neglect for the elderly, to promote cultural awareness and foster dialogue, to provide access to education, digital resources, and health care. The time is now to embrace our passion, influence others, and think of tomorrow. The projections of our future are determined by the foundation of our past and the catalyst of innovation in our present. This catalyst in the twenty-first century is the global movement of young change-makers. If the young people are our future, now is the time to equip, encourage, and support them in helping to make life easier for others in this world.
The Impact of Young People
THOUGHTS turn into words -> WORDS turn into seeds -> SEEDS influence decisions -> DECISIONS determine behavior -> BEHAVIOR determines results -> RESULTS are measured by IMPACT
It is not enough to describe how influential young people can be, but rather more vivid to let the young people illustrate for themselves the impact they have been making in society. It is not just thought, but action that Youth Venture endorses, supports, and proudly celebrates. The That Was Easy Competition asks young people to evaluate their own work and describe the impact they have achieved, the footprints they have left, the ripples they have created, the lives they have changed. It prompts young people to take a step back, look at their work and say, "I not only Dreamt It. I Did It." It compels young people to recognize with pride their important role in creating a better world for all of us.
The Culture of Youth-Led Social Change
The That Was Easy Competition is designed to celebrate the power of youth and to draw attention to the important and growing movement of young social changemakers. It asks us to pay attention to their ambition and ability to address social problems by using their passions to transform their communities. While many stand back in discouragement, these phenomenal young people jump right in to deal with the problems they encounter and then boldly assert, "That Was Easy!" The That Was Easy Competition gives you the chance to encourage these young people by believing in their endeavors, assisting in the development of their social entrepreneurship skills, and getting involved with this national competition. To our youth, we salute YOU!
Eligibility Criteria: This competition is open to all current Youth Venturers that have a currently active organization, club, or business that has received a seed grant as a Youth Venture team in the Unites States. We consider all entries that:
- Reflect the theme of the competition: identify ways that the Venture makes life easier for others.
- Are beyond the stage of the application process and selection panel (they have received a seed grant) by the time entry closes (February 7, 2007).
- Are submitted in English and are complete. (Please note: If you are a Spanish-speaker and need help with writing an application in English, please contact us and we will work to assist you.)
(Note: If you are interested in participating in the competition but are not a current Youth Venturer, please click here to learn about how you can launch your own Youth Venture: www.changemakers.net/journal/thatwaseasy/launchventure.cfm.)
Assessment Criteria: The winners of the "That Was Easy" National Competition will be those entries that best meet the following criteria:
- Innovation: The Venture introduces creative elements or methods to positively impact the community. For example, the Venture might use a new approach to tackle a challenge, might employ creative methods to raise awareness of a problem, or might use innovative strategies to raise funds or engage volunteers.
- Impact: The Venture addresses a major challenge or need that people face and has the potential to benefit a significant number of people. Because some Ventures have been in existence longer than others, two aspects of Impact will be judged:
- Achieved Impact: The impact the Venture has already had since it was launched.
- Impact Growth: The demonstrated ability of the Venture to achieve impact and grow given the amount of time since launch, and the demonstrated potential for future growth. (This is different from Achieved Impact because it takes into consideration how long the Venture has been in existence so that newly-launched Ventures can be strong competitors based on early progress, strong plans and potential).
Both aspects of impact will be measured in two ways:
- Direct Impact: The number of people/animals/trees/etc. that have directly benefited from the Venture program and the way in which they have benefited.
- Engagement: The number of community members that the Venture has engaged as team members, volunteers, mentors, donors, etc.
- Budget: The Venture has used the original Youth Venture seed grant effectively to support the program and, where appropriate, bring in additional funds. The Venture has maintained a balanced budget, has a strong financial plan, and has a solid strategy for bringing in needed funds in the future.
- Strategy/Vision: The Venture has a promising (realistic but ambitious) plan for both implementing the original program and expanding it to create a larger impact on the community. The Venture demonstrates a long-term vision for how the team members and the program will further the movement of youth social entrepreneurship.
- Sustainability: The Venture has demonstrated a successful approach to creating ongoing positive impact in the community. The Venture has demonstrated or has a well-organized plan for transitioning leadership, recruiting team members or volunteers, and sustaining community and partner engagement.
Competition Timeline, Procedures, and Rules
Online competition submissions will be accepted beginning on November 15, 2006 and until February 7, 2007 at noon, U.S. Eastern Daylight Time. Any time before this deadline, competition participants can revise their entries based on questions and insights that they receive in the That Was Easy web-discussion. Participation in the discussion makes a participant more competitive because it demonstrates engagement in the Youth Venture movement and gives the community and the judges an opportunity to better understand the Venture. Furthermore, posting and discussion are encouraged because the exchange of ideas helps the youth movement to develop innovative methods to make life easier in the communities in which we live.
There are three main phases in the competition:
- November 15, 2006 - February 7, 2007: Entries can be submitted by CURRENT Youth Venture teams and anyone can participate in the online discussion board with the entrants.
- February 7, 2007 - February 28, 2007: A well-qualified expert panel of judges selects five competition finalists. Online discussion about ideas continues during this period.
- March: The public is invited to vote online to select the Grand Prize Venture Team from the field of five finalists. *Please note: The timing of the online voting has changed and will not begin until March. Please check back for future updates to the exact voting dates.
On April 27, the Grand Prize Venture Team will be announced at the special award event for finalists at Staples Headquarters.
Two members from each of the five "That Was Easy" finalist teams will receive a $1000 grant to support their Venture and will be flown to the Staples headquarters in Framingham, Massachusetts, for a celebration of their work and an opportunity to develop their strategies with the help of the Staples team. The Grand Prize Venture Team will also win a $5,000 Staples shopping spree!
Participation in the competition provides the chance to get feedback on your Venture and to learn about other youth programs that address social problems across the country. The discussion forum offers a special opportunity to discuss your venture with a wide range of youth and experienced social entrepreneurs and to receive suggestions for ways to revamp or revitalize your venture to better serve your community and effectively execute your venture's idea. Additionally, the competition website and discussion forum allow you to connect and potentially collaborate with other young social changemakers across the country that may be working on similar issues and developing solutions to some of the challenges your venture faces. The Grand Prize Venture Team will also win a $5,000 Staples shopping spree to purchase materials for their Venture!
Youth Venture and Staples comply fully with all U.S. laws and regulations, including Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations, export control, and anti-money laundering laws. All grants will be awarded subject to compliance with such laws. Youth Venture or Staples will not make any grant if it finds that to do so would be unlawful. This may prohibit awards to certain individuals or entities. All recipients will comply with these laws to the extent they are applicable to such recipients. No recipient will take any action that would cause Youth Venture or Staples to violate any laws.
Youth Venture Tips and Tools
Youth Venture Tips and Tools
How to Create a Sustainable Venture
Sustain/s -st n /v. To keep in existence; maintain
- Set Goals and Values. Conveying your goals and values will help you in recruiting members, finding volunteers for projects, and keeping people interested in new projects and events.
- Make Recruiting a Priority. Assign someone to recruit members and volunteers for your project. This important task shouldn't get neglected in the face of other activities.
- Use What You've Got! Use your existing members to spread the word about your organization. Ask them to recruit friends who might be interested in getting involved. Make sure everybody understands your mission statement and the purpose of the project correctly, so they can tell others about it.
- Network. Upon meeting other people at social gatherings, conferences, etc., tell them about your organization and try to rouse their interest. Tell them to contact you if they are interested in receiving regular updates or in coming to a meeting.
- Advertise Regularly. Publicize your project at school fairs, conferences, public places, and community events. Have people sign up for your newsletter or periodic updates, and encourage them to come to group meetings whenever possible.
- Create Media. By creating a newsletter or website, you can easily keep members updated on your events in order to sustain their interest.
- Delegate. By delegating tasks to your members, you will get them involved in your work. By giving them responsibility, you will make them feel part of the group and they'll be likely to take interest in future plans for your project.
Engaging your community on an ongoing basis is the key to creating large-scale long-term change in any community. By creating sustainable relationships and educating your community about your work regularly, you will keep the momentum going between your service projects and inspire your community to create positive change.
- Learn about your community and understand it. Learn about its history, economy, diversity of people, etc. Get to know the people and their stories. Knowing about changes in the community is helpful. By understanding your community you will be able to become an effective communicator of your community's needs and promoter of your project's solutions.
- Get people involved in your work! Ask community members to volunteer for your event/project. Let them know that your event/project is fun and creative. Adapt the task you assign people to their individual skills. You will be giving community members responsibility and perhaps even teaching them new skills and technology. This will make them feel more confident about their ability to make social change.
- Momentum. Develop an ongoing array of smaller projects and events to keep people involved and interested in what you're doing. If you're not doing projects, keep people informed of other projects in the community. This will sustain people's interest, keep momentum going from project to project, and help you collaborate with other organizations in your community.
- Utilize the media and public officials. By engaging the media and public officials, you will keep people interested and aware of your project's work. Follow up with them on what you're doing and always ask if they are able to cover your bigger projects . . .
- Focus on the Positive. When communicating your ideas and thoughts to the community, remember to focus positively on your community and its assets. You're trying to make community members feel like they are part of the effort and not turn them off by negative comments.
- Advertise. Advertise your project and your events regularly to the entire community in order to keep people involved and excited about your work. Some good examples of places to post information are supermarkets, libraries, schools, community centers (especially youth centers), and publications (including websites!), which serve the local community.
- It takes everyone!
- Remember to engage all the people in your community (think youth, elders, minorities, people with disabilities, etc). You cannot be realistic about meeting your community's needs if you do not account for the voice of everybody who lives within it. The best way to do this is to create a space for discussion, be it through informal open meetings, get-togethers or web forums; everyone will have something to say.
- Reach out to different groups—church groups, fraternities, sororities, Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts, block associations, youth organizations, and women's groups in your area, who can help you to expand your volunteer base.
- Reflect. Reflect on how your work is sustainable within the community and among its members. Are you doing something that is empowering people to carry out the goals of your project on their own?
- Go For Grants. Apply for as many as you can! In addition to grants, try pursuing other fundraising opportunities:
- Approach your high school or university for a network of possible funders.
- Work with local businesses to hold sponsorship events:
- Example: Partner with a pizza establishment and suggest that 10% of all the profits made from people carrying your flyer will go to your organization.
- Send out letters to prospective donors explaining your venture team and the need you are addressing and follow up with a visit or a call. Often businesses will offer a discount on materials for events and in return you can put their company logo on your materials and brochures. Remember the importance on In Kind Donations!
- Be Realistic!
- Select a Treasurer
- Encourage potential leaders. Have them assume some of your leadership responsibilities. Teach them about your role and the skills needed to run the project. You can do it in creative ways: keep a leadership notebook, let them fill in for you to practice the role, etc. In this way, you can advise them on their performance and answer any questions they might have.
- Remember. Remember what you wish you would had known starting out, such as effective leadership skills or information, and share this with potential leaders and your most committed members. This way you will be forming the basis for future leadership.
- Bridging the Gap. Maintain good communication between younger members and older members within the project. An effective and fun way to get younger and older members to share ideas and teach each other about leadership is to have a retreat at someone's house, at the park, etc. This can be a time for goal-setting, brainstorming and simply for getting to know each other.
- Get Organized. Make sure you have a good organizational system. For example, contacts of all people associated with your project. Meeting notes, account information, and passwords are all examples of the types of information that need to be passed on to the new leadership. By creating a good system of organizing this information (also called Knowledge Management); you will help the new leadership transition to go very smoothly.
- Let Others Know. Tell internal and outside contacts that you are planning to pass on the leadership, so that those contacts and the new leadership can work together in the future.
- It's Not the End! Lastly, don't abandon your project once you have passed it on. Keep in touch with the new generation of leaders and support them.