Gallagher: Rise to the moment

R.J. Gallagher Jr.

“If you don’t give back, no one will like you.” — Crowdrise, fundraising website

So you have been thinking of making a difference. Trying to figure out the best way to make a splash where one is needed. But there are so many needy causes and so little time. It can be a bit overwhelming when you really start to think about it. How can one person really make an impression?

The first thing to remember is that philanthropy is not just about the raising and giving of actual dollars. Time is money, as they say. Your time is one of your most valuable assets because providing hope where there is none is invaluable. Hope is the only thing stronger than fear. With hope, all is attainable. Being a marketing guy, I can’t stop thinking about the recognized advertising slogans that could be adapted here. “Got hope?” “Things go better with hope.” “Hope makes the world go round.” “Keep calm and never lose hope.” “Where’s the hope?” “Just do it.” Stop me.

Getting started in something brand new always provides its fair share of challenges. As you begin to organize your thoughts and potential programs, always remember that big things often have small starts. If you let your mind wander, I promise you will come up with all kinds of everyday ways to give back.

While volunteering is a wonderful way to get involved, fundraising is still the defining attribute that ensures that the giving keeps on keeping on. A great resource that I became aware of recently is a fundraising website called Crowdrise.

Crowdrise is about raising money online for charity and having the most fun in the world while doing it. The whole Crowdrise story is below, but please only read it if you’re super-bored or you’re writing a paper on ways to give back and you’re looking for something to plagiarize. If you just want the really short version of the story, Crowdrise was founded by actor and activist, Edward Norton, producer and activist, Shauna Robertson, and Internet entrepreneurs Robert and Jeffrey Wolfe. Crowdrise was named a “Top 25 Global Philanthropist” by Barron’s and a “Top Fundraising Website” by Mashable. This entire paragraph was plagiarized from their site. Just as they recommended.

You need to check out Crowdrise at I guarantee that it will get your juices flowing. It’s creative and irreverent at the same time. This is not your grandparents’ website. It makes giving hip and cool. And of course, fun. It will help you think outside of the historical philanthropy box. It will introduce you and connect you. It will walk you through each step where you can create and develop your own personal fundraising website. The FAQ is beyond. There is basically nothing that is left out of the FAQ when it comes to understanding the ins and outs of fundraising and getting out there for a cause. Crowdrise is a practical way to broaden your thought process and at the same time become part of a philanthropic family.

“Crowdrise is about giving back, raising lots of money for great causes and having the most fun in the world while doing it. Crowdrise is way more fun than anything else aside from being all nervous about trying to kiss a girl for the first time and her not saying something like ‘you’ve got to be kidding me,’” says the Crowdrise site.

In life, we always can find the time for the things we put first. For those who are considering making a difference for the very first time, I leave you with these parting words. Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. And join the crowd.

“Philantopia” is a monthly column of The Aspen Times focused on philanthropy and community involvement. R.J. Gallagher Jr. is a three-decade resident of the Roaring Fork Valley. He has served on numerous nonprofit boards, including those of the Aspen Community Foundation and Komen Aspen. His firm, Forte International, is a supporter of local philanthropy that makes a difference on a global level. His email address is


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