Tips and inspiration for changemakers from the social impact crowdfunding website, StartSomeGood

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2017: A Year for Social Entrepreneurs


Some of you may be entering the year feeling a bit like these guys look.

Despite all the tumult of 2016 I enter 2017 strangely optimistic.

Despite my fears and disappointments, things also have a stark and refreshing clarity to them.

Now is a time for social entrepreneurs.

It’s clear that we can’t rely on our political leaders and processes to create a more equitable and sustainable future. In country after country, politics has snarled to a stop as the ability to compromise seems to evaporate, or been captured entirely by those with little regard for the role of government. Regardless of how you vote and what you believe, now is not the time to sit back and wait for others to make things right.

Instead, you are going to have to help create the future you want to see, if we’re to have any chance of seeing it at all.

The future doesn’t just happen, and by the time it becomes the present everything that matters has already happened. The future is the product of the decisions and actions we take individually and collectively that influence the present we live into. Is it more or less equal, connected, sustainable, just? Do current trends, positive and negative, continue, pause, decline? Which stories do we hear, which voices to we respect, who participates and who is missing?

You have only two choices.

You can either help create the future or you can live in the past, living in the wake of decisions made by others.

If you care about the future, if you have an idea for how to make things better, we need you now. Traditional sources of influence for the common good are weakening, but new forms of collective power are emerging, and the onus is on us to use and master the tools that give rise to these.

Crowdfunding is one of these tools.

At StartSomeGood our mission is to help non-profits, social entrepreneurs and community groups to create the future we need, and in particular to support more innovative projects and emerging social impact organizations and forms – such as social enterprises – commonly ignored by traditional funders.

We are deeply fortunate to work with inspiring changemakers every day, so it’s impossible for us to feel anything other than hopeful. As we go into this new year we re-dedicate ourselves to working in the service of innovation and innovators, to keep increasingly our already industry-leading project success rate, to growing our reaching and community and to create more co-funding opportunities and link you to more investment, so we can move faster and improve more lives.

And so I feel optimistic.

With challenge comes opportunity and today we have a unique opportunity to make a difference. Greater interconnectedness and access to new tools and technologies has made so much possible, and it’s clear more and more emerging leaders are dedicating themselves to creating a positive social impact all the time.

If we can help you launch your social impact project this year, please get in touch! We’d love to help you do crowdfunding right.



Co-founder, StartSomeGood


PS. I want to help some of you start 2017 with a bang! I will personally donate $50 to every campaign that launches on StartSomeGood by January 13, and $25 to any that launch by January 31, when you used the Referral Code HAPPYNEWYEAR (in the extra’s tab when you’re creating your campaign). I’ll also share on twitter and do my best to see you succeed.

So what are you waiting for? Let’s do this.


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Igniting Passion

StartSomeGood team at our global retreat.

Stars in the StartSomeGood constellation share some of what drives their passion and purpose. Check in with Luke Pearson, Tom Dawkins, Kathryn Kreps and Stephanie Arrowsmith on what gets them out of bed in the morning and keeps them going throughout the day.

I asked this inspiring quartet how did they first become passionate about change-making? luke_pearson_creative_commons_paul_hagonLuke said: “I have always been passionate about making positive changes in the world but I didn’t always know how to go about it, and I guess I am still learning things every day about the best way to get people to change their minds about a given issue, or to get active in causes they believe in. Once upon a time I was a teacher, and inspiring a belief that we can all have a positive impact in the world around us in big or small ways was the main reason I became a teacher, but really it was when I took to social media that I saw an opportunity to effect change on the issues I care about, just by telling my stories and watching it resonate with like-minded people around Australia and overseas as well.”

Tom Dawkins also had an early start in changemaking:”I grew up in a politically-minded household, but it was at the age of 16, during a year-old student exchange in the US, that I discovered my sense of purpose. I was fortunate enough to be selected to attend an amazing event in San Francisco – the State of the World Forum – as one of 32 youth representatives from 28 countries, which awakened in me a strong commitment to being a changemaker. TDSSGThe experience I had – of being included, empowered and having my voice heard – was one I felt strongly that all young people, and all people, deserved access to. While I had been the beneficiary of this system I knew the current model of “youth empowerment” was broken. It was haphazard, tokenistic and biased towards wealth. I felt we had to find ways to do better, to activate more people as changemakers and give them the tools, support and encouragement to help them succeed, and that’s more or less what I’ve been working on ever since, with a particular interest in how technology can create more accessible platforms for community-building and changemaking, such as StartSomeGood!”

Beyond systems and at the heart of all changemaking is pebeMWWKPaople according to Kathryn: “I’ve always had what could charitably be called an overdeveloped sense of justice. From an early age I saw that people around me didn’t always have access to the same opportunities, and that never sat right. Over the years my activism has taken many forms, but I’ve never lost people-first focus.”

Making a shift from Indonesia to Australia set the scene for Stephanie to get her first taste of activism in high school.  “I started volunteering for the Oaktree Foundation when I was 17 years old as an ambassador for the Make Poverty History Roadtrip: a national campaign to increase Australia’s contribution to foreign aid and increase public awareness around Australia’s role in international development. It was the first time I got to experience what it was like to be part of a movement that resulted in tangible policy change and action (our PM increased foreign aid to 0.5% GDP – an all time high for Australia!). This involvement with Oaktree led me to take up more leadership positions, align my studies towards international health and development and work in the field projects in India, Guatemala, Indonesia and remote Western Australia. After experiencing developments at the grassroots, I took up a role in campaigning and advocacy with Global Poverty Project in New York City – which gave me yet another perspective on digital activism on a global scale, working with multilateral organisations, corporations and world leaders to influence change.  Since I can remember I’ve always been fired up about poverty alleviation, exploring solutions at a grassroots level as well as at a structural and policy level. dHbXUs-GBefore moving to Australia, I was born and raised in Indonesia and was constantly exposed to extreme inequality that I couldn’t quite understand or accept, so it was hard to ignore. Getting a better education and having the safety of living in a place like Australia was not just an opportunity – it was a responsibility to do something meaningful with my life and to ensure future generations don’t have to face the injustices we have today.”


How did your passion get ignited?

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Starting Right: Building Your Morning Routine


The [social] entrepreneur bug is a dangerous one. One bite and you’re infected. You know what I’m talking about, right?

If not, let me remind you – it’s that week leading up to your annual event where every waking minute is grind time OR it’s that 1:41am inspiration that leads to a spur of the moment work session.

“I had a frenetic pace without any kind of routine and I knew I needed to create some kind of grounding.”Matthew Abrams, Mycelium Co-Founder

Morning routines sound great in theory, but transitioning them to the real world can be a challenge. We work harder when we’re passionate, and social entrepreneurs have no shortage of passion. While it might seem difficult to think about taking 45 minutes (about 3%) out of your day, did you know that you might actually be able to get MORE done? Here’s how:

  1. There are a number of common morning routine elements that can make you live longer, exercise being the most commonly researched. And while we (myself included) might struggle with getting in a full workout each day ever, even just 15 minutes of light exercise per day could make a difference.
  1. On the day to day you can be more proactive, focused and even proactive. It should come as no surprise that those minutes you trade off in the morning can result in a better you all day long, from the food you eat to a morning visualization

Where Do You Start?

This was the challenge I ran into and I bet you have too. Even though there are countless studies and list posts and no shortage of people saying to start a morning routine, I didn’t know how to make morning routines work for me.

I needed examples of real entrepreneurs doing their real morning routines. My quest lead me through hundreds of morning routines (resulting in an ebook) including interviewing almost forty entrepreneurs like StartSomeGood’s own Tom Dawkins:

“I’ve definitely learned about the power of habit and the importance of sticking with something. I also feel that focusing my mind on gratitude for even thirty focused seconds a day has helped me contextualize and cope with the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur.”Tom Dawkins, StartSomeGood CEO & Co-Founder

The infographic below (click to expand) displays some of the top insights from examining the morning routines of over 100 entrepreneurs. If you like the quote above or the data below, I invite you to check out Win YOUR Day on Amazon especially while it’s just $1 for the next 48 hours.



Now it’s your turn – what does your morning routine look like now? And if you had to add/change one thing, what would it be?

Jonathon Knepper is a digital strategist, efficiency nerd, hot sauce fanatic and lover of great eats. He’s called the Internet home since the early 2000s. When he’s not working (and sometimes when he is) you can find him traveling with his wife, daughter and soon to be newborn daughter. You can learn more about him on or connect on Twitter @jonknep.