Steven Weinberg is the CEO of WILL WORK FOR FOOD. After hearing President Clinton speak about the need for global citizens, Steven and some fellow University of Michigan classmates took action. They implemented a local volunteerism project that makes a global impact. Visit their site to learn how you can help!
What is WILL WORK FOR FOOD?
We feel as though our slogan really captures us in a nutshell: “volunteering locally to save children globally.”
WILL WORK FOR FOOD aims to stimulate local community service while raising relief funds to fight child malnutrition abroad. Our participants volunteer in their community and then ask friends and family to sponsor this work with a donation. The money raised helps our affiliates, Doctors Without Borders, get life-saving nutritional supplements to severely malnourished kids in other parts of the world.
We founded WILL WORK FOR FOOD as students at the University of Michigan in 2007 and most of our initiative is still student-led which allows us to stay fresh, innovative, and accessible. In the past year we have been recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative for Universities and selected as an International Semi-Finalist in the Dell Social Innovation Competition. We’re currently launching at over 25 high schools and colleges around the country.
What inspired you to take action and create WILL WORK FOR FOOD?
Motivation for the WILL WORK FOR FOOD initiative came from hearing President Clinton speak at the University of Michigan a couple of years back. He talked about how our world is unequal and unstable and how our generation is facing daunting challenges like fighting infectious diseases, malnutrition and poverty.
President Clinton acknowledged that these issues are unsettling, but he also provided a spark of inspiration by recognizing that with how connected the world is today through the media and internet, our generation has a greater potential to solve these matters by being “21st century global citizens.” Citizens that not just help others in our own communities but also commit to providing relief to those in need around the world.
So, we decided to design an organization that allowed people to better their own communities while also recognizing and helping an international crisis at the same time.
What are you hoping to achieve?
Every year, malnutrition kills 5 million children around the world- that’s one every six seconds. We are hoping to save these kids.
Realizing that our lives are removed from the daily happenings of these severely malnourished children, WILL WORK FOR FOOD gives people an opportunity to help their own communities (something we’re all more familiar with) while raising relief funds to save these malnourished kids.
We hope that people will realize that “we’re all in this together” and that we can now save a malnourished child in Darfur while bettering our own community at the same time.
How are you using social media to promote your cause? What has been most effective for you?
WILL WORK FOR FOOD is based online at our website www.willworkforfood.org. On the site, participants (we call them “workers”) have a profile where they list their community service, write about why they’re involved, and track how much money they have raised. Workers can also join groups with other workers from the same club, team or school.
The site also allows workers to send an email (with a link to their profile in it) to friends and family asking that they sponsor the community service work being done. Sponsors can see workers’ profiles and then decide which volunteer work to sponsor with a donation.
Given that the website is such an important element to our initiative, we are always looking for ways to expand the reach of our social media and online presence. We utilize our Facebook fan page, blog and Twitter to keep our supporters in the loop while continuously reaching out and engaging new people. We were also awarded a Google AdWords grant for the equivalent of $10,000 per month in online advertising which has also helped us drive up traffic to our site and increase involvement.
There hasn’t been one tool that has been the absolute most effective. We’ve found that they all compliment one another and are far more effective when used together.
What’s the most important thing you want someone to know about Will Work for Food?
Our world is more connected and we are all more interdependent than ever before. With living in these exciting times comes an obligation to recognize and help those in need.
Willworkforfood.org allows you to volunteer in your own community while saving a severely malnourished child on the other side of the world at the same time. It doesn’t take a hero, all you need is the internet and a matter of minutes to get involved.
Call to Action: How can people get involved?
Visit Willworkforfood.org today. Commit to volunteering in your community (we give you some volunteer ideas) and then ask friends and family to sponsor this work with a donation. In literally five minutes you will be on your way to helping your community while saving severely malnourished kids abroad.
If you’d prefer to make a donation to sponsor the community service of someone already involved, visit the donation page.