How you can make a difference in just 15 minutes

What can you do in 15 minutes?

Save money on your car insurance? Sure. But we’re looking deeper here, we want to make a difference in the world. I mean, everyone wants to help out, right? Well with the introduction at Mashable’s Media Summit yesterday of a new DIY fundraising Web site called Crowdrise, actor Edward Norton says you can bring about your own social change in just 15 minutes.

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Crowdrise allows you to start your own fundraiser or contribute to an existing one with just the few clicks. It gives people and organizations access to resources for organizing campaigns from the grassroots level.

Well nothing new so far, there are plenty of other mission-oriented, social  good sites out there. In fact, Causes is the most successful app on Facebook, with 110 million regular users.

So what makes Crowdrise different?

It’s mostly in the company. You can search the user profiles of your fellow organizers,  such celebs as Seth Rogan, Jonah Hill, Russel Brand, Will Ferrell and others. Consistency entails a quirky and irreverent air of humor throughout the site that we quite enjoyed. Hey, everyone needs a little comic relief, right? How many other campaign organization sites include a disclaimer explaining:

“Please only read all this if you’re super bored or you’re writing a paper on ways to give back and you’re looking for something to plagiarize… “

OK, so they’re pretty funny and creative. And we always think it’s a great thing when celebs use their pull and popularity for a truly good cause.  But will this go anywhere? Or will the trendiness of being involved in charities, relief efforts, and all of the other causes out there quickly pass with the other latest online fads?

Things look promising.

Several large nonprofit organizations have already signed up, including Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, The Art of Elysium, Oceana, City Year, the Conservation Lands Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Association, Partners in Health and Malaria No More.

And Norton seems to have a clear idea of how to leverage this business plan in the midst of the social universe. At the media summit he explained that social networking sites are about allowing people an outlet for personal narratives, and that Crowdrise lets them express these narratives through sharing their passions for specific causes.

With so many big names and connections behind them, we think Crowdrise has quite a head start. But what do you think? We just hope that the main focus and goal does not shift from it’s initial good intentions.

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