Everybody wants to give back, to make a difference, to leave an impression on the world. But it's hard. So many aspects of life can get in the way.
But what if donating $3.33 a day for three months was all it took? What if doing that, along with 32 of your friends, built a school for thousands of current and future children in India or Kenya?
This is the model on which Taylor Conroy runs his organization, Change Heroes. Based out of Vancouver, Change Heroes follows that exact plan: 33 people, donating $3.33, for three months. The result? $10,000—enough to build a school in a developing country.
"It's at a scale that I've never seen before, and it's because to me, it's the first time in our existence that it's been possible for people to make this much of a financial impact in such a short amount of time," says Conroy, an entrepreneur from Cranbrook, B.C.
"Countries around the world are so reliant on other countries and big corporations making massive donations to float the nonprofits that are operating. What we want to do is make it possible for people that are 20 or 30—or 40 or 50 or 60—to get together with their friends. If that happens en masse, it can make a massive impact on the world."
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Conroy credits a 2009 trip to Kenya for his inspiration for Change Heroes.
"I went there to find a cause that I was passionate about," the 31-year-old says. "As cliché as it sounds, that trip just kind of rocked me to the core."
After visiting schoolhouses in Kenya that taught not only math and science but also gender equality and family planning, Conroy realized the true value of education—and vowed to make sure children everywhere had access to it.
"I didn't want to build one school," he says. "I wanted to build a lot of schools—and make it possible for anyone to do the same thing."
It was about two years later that the specific fundraising model for Change Heroes came about.
Anyone can sign up on the website and run their own Change Heroes campaign. From there, they invite 32 of their friends to pledge the $3.33 for three months. Conroy says some people have raised the money in one month; for others, it takes one week. For others still, the $10,000 is raised in one day.
Once the money is raised, Change Heroes gives it to partner organization Free The Children, which then implements the tools necessary to build an entire school from the ground up.
In 2013 alone, Change Heroes campaigns raised $1 million, which built 100 schools in 11 countries, helping 100,000 people. Conroy says today's digital age of social media and text messaging has made it easy for people to share their campaigns and get people on board.
The organization has also recently branched out beyond education, sprouting campaigns to build libraries, fund scholarships for young girls, and offer relief for survivors of sex trafficking.
"We were nervous that it wasn't going to work," Conroy says of their pilot anti-sex trafficking project. "Because the people weren't funding an actual schoolhouse or a library, or something really tangible.
"But they raised $10,000 in three days."
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