Late July of this last summer, Jolkona raised money through our Groupon campaign to fund women grassroots leaders to come to Seattle and participate in a 10 week training program. The deal was this: for every $500 raised, Jolkona would fund one week of training for one woman. In addition, all funds raised would be munificently matched by Seattle International Foundation, and then implemented by iLEAP. Let me say right now that it was – and continues to be – a brilliant success, and on so many levels. And here’s why:

The total raised from the 3 day Groupon campaign, plus the additional donations since then, including the generous match from SIF, is a vertiginous $20,000! (I’m not usually one for wielding exclamation points in my grammar, but that one is thoroughly warranted.) And with that amount raised, Jolkona was able to fund fellowships for two women for the entire 10 week training program. Please, allow me to introduce them to you:

Claudia Vanessa Siliezar (left) and Margaret Edwin Molomoo (right)

Claudia Vanessa Siliezar (left) and Margaret Edwin Molomoo (right)

Claudia Vanessa Siliezar is from Honduras – she is a Sociology and Law professor at CEUTEC-UNITEC in La Ceiba, and is coordinator at GOjoven Honduras, where she is involved in promoting women’s rights, especially those pertaining to reproductive and sexual health, as well as in combating violence against women.


Margaret Edwin Molomoo is from India. She works for Tarumitra, where she educates students, farmers, and women about the methods and benefits of organic farming in villages surrounding Bahir. Her work has assisted many farming groups in changing their use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers in their farming practices.

Thanks to the funds raised, Claudia and Margaret, already stalwart pursuers of a fairer society, are now even better equipped to grow their successful, high-impact programs.

In connection with this, we are inviting you to the extraordinary annual Women in the World’s Breakfast, held at the Four Seasons in Seattle, where you can meet our fellows, Claudia and Margaret, in the flesh. Buy tickets here. And to whet your appetite, here’s the inspiring video of last year’s event:

The raising of the funds and the opportunity and skills it provided Claudia and Margaret were not the only success stories of this campaign. Another aspect deserving of sincere pats on the back was the campaign’s collaboration: the three-pronged spearhead of SIF, iLEAP, and Jolkona. You see, unfortunately, too many nonprofits try to go at campaigns alone, and what this campaign exemplifies is the exponential difference nonprofits can make when they work together. Remember: a problem shared is a problem halved.

Our goal is to fund 5 women; so far we’ve funded 2. The campaign is still running and SIF is still matching every one of your donations, dollar for dollar. Make a difference. See the results. Give to the campaign here: Invest in Women Grassroots Leaders from Around the World.

Groupon Jolkona campaign

Yesterday Jolkona launched a Groupon campaign to support a 10-week training fellowship for women grassroots leaders from around the world. This is a great campaign on so many levels. I decided to share my top 10 reasons why this is an awesome campaign.

10 Reasons to Support Women Grassroots Leadership Training through Jolkona

  1. According to the World Food Programme, for every dollar invested in a woman in a developing part of the globe, $0.90 of it will be spent on the woman’s family or community. So your dollars are going a long way.
  2. Women spend a lot of time with their children, setting great examples for the next generation on how to impact society.
  3. Women are proven community leaders. The training received by these women will be transferred to the rest of the community.
  4. Every one of these women is a great collaborator. Upon their return home, the impact of the training they receive in Seattle will be magnified through their collaborations with others.
  5. These women are champions of a fairer society. Your support for this campaign will lead to more just societies where these women live.
  6. After the training, these women leaders will be equipped with additional resources to grow their already high-impact programs.
  7. Through this training, women grassroots leaders will share best practices with each other. This sharing of ideas will lead to increased efficiency for each of their programs.
  8. All of Seattle will be able to learn from these leaders’ innovative approaches to solving problems in their societies, fostering deeper engagement by the Seattle community in international development
  9. This program works. Watch this video from the 2010 Women in the World Breakfast about the impact it had on a participant from last year.
  10. For every $10 donation you make to our campaign on Groupon, the Seattle International Foundation will match it, doubling your impact. Plus Groupon is covering all transaction fees, channeling 100% to go towards this cause.

If you can give a $1 for each of these reasons, then you will consider buying our Groupon deal for only $10.


You can read more about this unique program here to build capacity among a new generation of women grassroots leaders. With your support, these women leaders will be catalysts for positive change in their institutions and communities.

Invest in Women Grassroots Leaders

“Supporting women is one of the best ways to fight global poverty. Women grassroots leaders are on the frontlines tackling the toughest issues: hunger, violence, access to healthcare and education. By supporting their work as leaders, we can help them have greater impact and improve the lives of thousands in local communities.” — Mauricio Vivero, Executive Director of the Seattle International Foundation.

Join us as we launch a campaign in partnership with the Seattle International Foundation (SIF) and iLEAP: The Center for Critical Service, to promote and support global women’s leadership. We’re kicking off this campaign with a Groupon G-Team deal that will run today, Tuesday, July 26th until 11:59 pm on Thursday, July 28.

Groupon will be covering all transaction fees so that 100% of your donation goes towards investing in women. Plus, SIF will match every single donation made, dollar for dollar, up to $25,000!

$10 is All It Takes to Improve Women’s Equality

Starting today, you can make an investment in women’s leadership by pledging your support in increments of $10. For each $500 we raise through Groupon, we will fund one week of training for a woman leader to come to Seattle and participate in a 10-week fellowship program. The program will be implemented by iLEAP, which is an international nonprofit that builds capacity in a new generation of women grassroots leaders – creating positive change in their institutions and communities.

How to Fund Leadership Training through Groupon:

  1. Go to Jolkona’s G-Team campaign today until 11:59 pm on Thursday, July 28.
  2. Click on “BUY” and select quantity (e.g., 1 = $10, 2 = $20, etc.)
  3. Complete your order and tell your friends about your donation through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Each donation made will automatically get matched by SIF and our total impact will be posted here as the campaign progresses.


Bonus: For everyone who makes a donation to this campaign and fills out the Jolkona survey monkey at the end, you will be eligilbe to win two tickets to the Women in the World Breakfast at the Four Seasons in November, where the 2011 fellows will be honored. (Here’s a video to last year’s Women in the World Breakfast.)

On behalf of the entire Jolkona team, thank you for your support to empower women all over the world!


Nadia Mahmud
CEO & Co-Founder

Many of us are aware of a certain online coupon company using Super Bowl air time to launch some much-talked about ad spots. Whether or not you find issue and the tactics used to bring awareness to their CSR matched giving campaign, it has certainly garnered them plenty of attention. Friends, let’s at least agree that stirring up emotion was part of their strategy to raise awareness. Really, the big question is how much impact will these ads have on their overall brand? Folks love themselves some deep discounts, yet there is plenty of noise about people canceling their accounts over these ads mentioned in the comment section on the giving campaign page. Time and revenue stream will tell.

If you think it was in horrid taste or you are secretly hiding the fact that you see some of the marketing genus behind these ads –  did it make the masses (or you) pay closer attention to the company or the campaign? It got me to research the campaign and check out the sites of the causes who will receive Groupon’s matched funds – Greenpeace, TibetFund, Rainforest Action Network, and buildOn. All are great, worthwhile projects who are most deserving of support. I just hope that for the causes featured and the celebrities who made time to support this effort, that it truly makes a difference and funds are matched to the fullest. In fact, the Greenpeace project sold out as of 2/9 & is fully funded, with 6,667 units sold at $15 each! That is a whole lot money going to spare our water-dwelling mammals with fins from commercial whaling.

If you got fired up about the strategy and the message used to get your attention, make time to find your own way to impact change in the world, or within your own neighborhood. Find a cause that is meaningful to you and support it. I have several favorites. As many of you know, I spend some of free time working with Jolkona. Basically, volunteering my time to make their giving platform a world-class experience and truly make a difference in other people’s lives. I love every minute of working with such smart, dedicated people. This year we are off to firecracker start and we have a lot of exciting things in the works – starting off with our first matching campaign of year – Give2ED. Read more about Brandon’s efforts here, in this blog post.

Starting February 8th, any donation made to one Jolkona’s many Education projects, will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $4,000.  As with any of our projects, donors will receive a proof of impact for their donation and also receive additional details of the proof for the matched donation.

Want to further help Tibet with matched funds?

Here is how you can help Give2ED:

  • Empower a Tibetan Girl for $40 to provide schooling for the 6 months.
  • Fund a rural Tibet middle school library providing them with at least 10 pieces of valuable interactive learning tools (books, CD’s & DVD’s in multiple languages) for as little as $50.
  • Sponsor an Orphan for year’s worth of education at Sengdruk Takse School for less than $195 a year.

These three projects hit on several of United Nations The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These are eight international development goals that all 192 United Nations member states and at least 23 international organizations have agreed to achieve by the year 2015. It is the most widely accepted guideline we have for measuring impact of donations you make. You can find more information about UN’s vision for the MDGs here.

It’s another great way to see how every gift our donors make contributes to a bigger global effort to tackle some of humanity’s biggest problems.

You can support the Give2ED campaign, follow our progress our website, as well as on Facebook and Twitter (@Jolkona, #Give2ED).

Images by mikebaird.

A version of this blog was originally posted here.