The fulcrum for the world-moving lever that is social media is, by my reckoning, distribution. From e-commerce navel-gazing to good old fashioned blogging (just like mom used to post), the ability to send out your words and visions globally and gather minds in from far afield, flying unrestrained by location, location and/or location, is what makes this Series of Tubes so compelling for the for-profit crowd. But the non-profit crowd is also dialed in.

I recently discovered a company that makes a widget. Most of the time, I find widgets neat-o at best, but rarely earth-shaking. But recently I had the chance to talk to Carnet Williams, CEO of ChipIn. ChipIn is a Honolulu-based service that produces a fund-raising mechanism that takes advantage of the distributed nature of “Web 2.0” (oh shut up).

You come up with a campaign you need to raise funds for (under 10K please, what are you the United Way?), drop in your information and ChipIn spits out code that, installed on your blog or website, provides you with a tool that allows readers to contribute and keeps real-time track of your progress to your fund-raising goal. What makes this unprecedented is that friends, coworkers, relatives, readers can grab the code and install the widget on their own blog or website, thus distributing the burden of the fund-raising to a much broader base.

Let’s face facts. Silicon Valley’s millionaires are renowned more for yachts and jets than for tithing. ChipIn’s fund-raising widget allows anyone with a modicum of tech know how to turn their blog, MySpace page or website into a bleeding heart-powered engine of super-mega-ultra do-gooderism. In an era of constant media reinforcement of the rubbish notion that only the extremely famous and extremely wealthy can do anything worth doing, innovations like ChipIn allow we wee little nobodies to do a little something worth doing. Stick it to the man!

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