Archive for September, 2008

September 2008 Micro-Fundraising Call with Bilaal Rajan

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Bilaal Rajan

Listen to the Replay…

Want to share in the Mandossian Multi-Million Dollar Giveaway?

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

man counting moneyFor months now we’ve been looking into how we might help all the entrepreneurs closer to home who also have business dreams they’d like to turn into reality. We know, like your counterparts you’ve supported by donating to SMARTSTART Giving, that you’re working extremely hard to make a go of your business. And also many of you tell us you could use some help as well.

So at midnight, Alex is announcing his $2.7 million dollar give back plan to help you, his loyal fans, students and followers. It’s incredible! If you missed reading about it in the media, here’s what you need to know.

On Friday, October 3 he won’t just be handing over the donations to Kiva.org. (Of course the money you donated on the final Friday call will be passed on and put out on loan as usual… it’s just that he’s ALSO going to do something absolutely unique and wonderful for all of you.)

Alex is holding a very special call on Friday, October 3 to explain his $2.7 million dollar giveaway plan during which he’ll actually start the giving. (A really good reason for you to be on that call, obviously!)

You’ll receive an invitation to this call if you’re on any of his lists, which you probably are being a supporter of his already. If you have friends, family, co-workers and colleagues who might also have a secret calling to the entrepreneurial life and no cash stash to fund their education for it, then please tell them to register at SMARTSTART Giving (you’ll see Alex has added a special note to that page so they’ll know they’re at the right place). That way they’ll receive all the details about the giveaway and the upcoming calls during which he’ll make the magic happen.

And, if you feel comfortable helping Alex promote his $2.7 million dollar giveaway, there’s Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Digg, Rejaw and a whole host of other social media networks you can use. A copy of his press release is available here (if it hasn’t been posted on the NEWS page already):

http://www.prweb.com/releases/smartstartgiving/million-dollar-giveaway/prweb1378904.htm.

We sure hope to hear you on the “big give” call too!

SMARTSTART|Giving 60-Second Spotlight

Friday, September 19th, 2008


Bilaal RajanIt’s been awhile since we featured someone in our 60-second spotlight but I think you’ll agree it was well worth the wait when you hear this young giver’s story!

Meet Bilaal Rajan, a giver since the young age of 4, and the author of Making Change, a book that shows us all how to start small and give big.

Although he has just turned 12, Bilaal has been recognized around the world for his fundraising efforts and he’s really just getting started making his dreams a reality!

After reading all about his giving story in my previous post, please check out his web site at www.handsforhelp.org to learn more about this enterprising and truly inspirational young man.

Bilaal’s “Giving” Story

Monday, September 15th, 2008

Occasionally, on our journey through life, we meet a truly extraordinary person who literally changes the world with seeming ease and grace, who knows no limits, and is content to do nothing less than set new records and inspire the world to heights never before dreamed. Young Bilaal Rajan, of Toronto, Canada, is just such a person. Bilaal made the decision to become a “giver” when he was just 4 years old! He raised funds ($350) selling clementine oranges door to door to help the 2001 earthquake victims in Gujarat, India.

How a four year-old could possess an understanding of money and the impact it can have is incomprehensible, but he must have found it personally rewarding, because from there he targeted global poverty and by 2007 raised over $50,000 for The World Partnership Walk. He found a powerful benefactor in the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) who matched that figure dollar for dollar.

Bilaal then went on to support the ravaged island of Haiti after the hurricane of 2004. He knew his $10 allowance would not be sufficient to help on the scale he had in mind, and his desire to help in a big way sparked a brilliant solution. Bilaal asked his father’s company to donate boxes of cookies to sell at school recess to raise awareness and funds for the starving Haitian children. Bilaal was bright enough to realize he could be more successful if he leveraged the time and energy of others, and formed a team of 12 other children to help.

Do you see the pattern here? First, he decided to give. Then he acted on his decision without letting himself be bogged down by obstacles, instead focusing only on how to make it happen.

This inspired young man also set up a dedicated website, (www.handsforhelp.org) to raise awareness for children in need. In October 2004, Bilaal and his teammates presented UNICEF with a cheque for $6,387 from cookies sold. They’d never heard of such young people generating this size of donation, but the elated UNICEF representatives accepted with gratitude and amazement.

In fact, UNICEF Canada was so impressed with Bilaal’s achievements, that they made him their official child spokesperson. As such he publicly read Toronto Mayor David Miller’s proclamation to make October 31, 2004 “UNICEF Day”. Bilaal made front-page news and has appeared on television many times since to raise the awareness of the plight of the Haitian children.

In true roll-up-the-sleeves leadership style, Bilaal then reached out to over 50 major companies by phone and letter. APOTEX, a leading pharmaceutical company, donated prescription medicine worth $342,700 CAD for his cause. Heinz Canada donated over 2000 cases of baby food and Loblaws and Shoppers Drug Mart responded to Bilaal’s appeal with gift certificates.

Another creative inspiration arose from some acrylic plates Bilaal made for his teachers as Christmas gifts. They loved them, so he decided to make more for a UNICEF drive for children with HIV. In the week prior to Christmas, Bilaal collected over $1,200 selling his unique, decorative plates. He was unstoppable!

Bilaal heard the call to action next when the South East Asian earthquake and tsunami disaster hit. On December 31, 2004, he issued a UNICEF Canada Kids Earthquake Challenge (www.unicef.ca) whereby urging Canadian children to raise a minimum of $100 each to achieve a total goal of $1 million. He also made a personal pledge to raise $10,000. Incredibly enough, the dynamic young crusader personally raised $50,000 and as a result, on January 14, 2005, the Toronto District School Board presented Bilaal and the President and CEO of UNICEF Canada, with a cheque for $1.3 million. The Government of Canada then matched this, making the final donation nearly $4 million!

So you see, it is entirely possible to start small and finish big!

Not surprising, many high profile people and agencies have honoured Bilaal for his remarkable efforts, including the Right Honorable Paul Martin, Prime Minister of Canada, who organized a press conference. Bilaal wowed the crowd with his insights on fundraising and his vision for the world and the next day was front page news! But Bilaal is not driven (or fazed) by media attention. He attracts it through the purity of his intentions.

The “Canada for Asia Concert” organizers invited Bilaal to be an announcer for the event initiated by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in January 2005. Canada’s premiere artists, athletes, and performers joined Bilaal in the program that raised over $4 million CAD that night. Bilaal himself assisted the small Canadian Indonesian community in Toronto in organizing a fundraiser especially for the Indonesian victims. It was no surprise that this event, too, was a spectacular success and raised over $13,000 for tsunami relief.

In March 2005, UNICEF Canada named Bilaal their National Child Representative. Being a curious young man, Bilaal wanted to know how the funds raised for the tsunami victims were being used, and asked his parents to visit four of the most affected countries on his March break.There he met with dignitaries including the President of the Republic of the Maldives. Bilaal returned to Canada and reported back on the situation there, further raising awareness in the public and the media.

Bilaal personally visited Africa and the HIV infected children there. He selflessly spread his reassurance and support to the stricken kids in schools and orphanages. He also spent the summer of 2007 volunteering in Tanzania, Africa to bring awareness and education of HIV/AIDS to their communities.

Bilaal’s motto is “Together we can make a difference“. The young people he’s touched are in awe of his confidence and passion for what he does and are inspired enough to join him and make a difference in whatever ways they can. Adults can learn many valuable lessons from this unassuming, hard-working young man. Though only a boy, Bilaal clearly possesses an astonishing talent for not only bringing out the generosity in people, but for motivating them to join him. The results speak for themselves. Does that not remind you of Alex in at least some small way?

And would you believe it? Bilaal has embraced information marketing too! The experience this phenomenal crusader has gained in his many objectives came to an inevitable climax when he was inspired to design his “Eight Principles to Success” program which he shares by seminar at schools and through speaking engagements. And although he just turned 12, he has written a book called “Making Change” which his publisher is offering for sale this Friday in Chapters and on Amazon.

If your school or organization would like to book Bilaal for a function, if you would like to partner with him and sell his books on your web site as a joint fundraising effort, or even if his story has simply inspired you to stay your own course when it comes to giving, please email him and let him know at bilaal@handsforhelp.org.

Thoughts are Things

Friday, September 5th, 2008
I hold it true that thoughts are things;
They’re endowed with bodies and breath and wings:
And that we send them forth to fill
The world with good results, or ill.
That which we call our secret thought
Speeds forth to earth’s remotest spot,
Leaving its blessings or its woes
Like tracks behind it as it goes.

We build our future, thought by thought,
For good or ill, yet know it not.
Yet so the universe was wrought.
Thought is another name for fate;
Choose then thy destiny and wait,
For love brings love and hate brings hate.

                                                         — Henry Van Dyke