Posted by: Ian Ross | April 26, 2008

Fundraising For Malawi Orphans Using Online Tools

I’ve turned to the power of social media to help support a wonderful Malawi orphanage. We’ll be volunteering with the Friends of Mulanje Orphans this summer during our three month journey through Africa. But more important, we want to raise funds so they can afford the food, medication and clean drinking water the kids need to survive and thrive.

To donate to my Malawi orphanage campaign, visit

The campaign is called Project 42. Before I run 42km in the Ottawa marathon (May 25), we’re searching for 100 people to donate $42. That adds up to $4,200. My wife and I will also be volunteering at least 42 hours of labour at the orphanage. To add a strange twist, I just discovered that ’42’ is the meaning of life according to Douglas Adams.

The first online tool I selected was It allows you to set up a webpage, covers all credit card charges (so 100 percent of donations go to the charity) and helps you ‘spread the word’ and bookmarks/tag. The founder is Canadian Tom Williams, a teenage computer genius who became a philanthropic millionaire. Check out his interview with Strombo on the CBC’s The Hour.

Second, I started a Facebook group. In only 48 hours, we have 25 members already.

Third, I’m posting about my charity drive on my blog (obviously cause you are reading this).

Fourth, I’m not sure. I’m not yet up and running on Twitter. Any suggestions out there??

Web 2.0 hasn’t been the only route to raising awareness and funds. Emails have proven to be critical to reaching many friends and family who are still living in Web 1.0 land. And certainly talking it up with coworkers and friends has helped.

Thanks to Dave Fleet, a fellow runner and blogger, who planted the seed for this idea in a similar campaign he did to support cancer research.

UPDATE: We’ve raised our first $1,000 within a week. A good start.



  1. This is amazing. My sister is also raising funds for an orphanage in Malawi. She is going there this summer to offer help as well. I will forward this post to her. Thanks for posting your story! Good on ya!

  2. […] wife and I launched the campaign (called Project 42) last month using email, a Facebook group, this blog and an online service called The latter allowed us to use social bookmarking, […]

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