I landed on the BellaOnline site for the first time today during a web search and saw a banner ad for “free rice” and the World Food Program. (BellaOnline provides an encouraging, supportive publishing community for women. They provide free training, support and promotion so writers may reach their personal and business goals.) I have a M.S. degree in nutrition with a focus on international development and maternal child health. While I no longer actively engage in international hunger-related work, things related to combatting hunger still catch my eye!
FreeRice.com is a relatively new site with a great idea. The site is in essence a “vocabulary game” which lets you build up your vocabulary as you play. Everybody can benefit from having a better vocabulary! Each time you do well, the game donates actual, real rice to a starving family. So by playing, you feed people. I played for about 10 minutes and donated 330 grains of rice. Today September 23, 2009, 57,758,900 grains of rice have been donated. That is a HUGE number!!
How this works is that sponsors pay for the banner ads to show up on the site. You don’t even have to click! Some people do click, though, and that helps to ensure that the rice can keep flowing.
Who pays for the donated rice? The rice is paid for by the sponsors whose names you see on the bottom of the screen when you enter a correct answer. These sponsors support both learning (free education for everyone) and reducing hunger (free rice for the hungry). For information about how you or your company can sponsor FreeRice, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Each time you get a word right, you feed someone 20 grains of rice. The grains add up quickly! Just how many grains does it take to feed a person, though? Lisa Shea, owner of BellaOnline stated on her website that she had been “very curious about this and actually sat down with a container of rice and counted them. It took a while :). The answer is there were 2,345 grains of Uncle Ben’s rice in the quarter cup of dry rice. That then equals a cup of cooked rice to eat. Looking at various packages of rice, a 1/2 cup of rice is considered a serving. So a serving of rice, in grains, is about 1,100 grains.” Glad Lisa figured all that out, it saved me a lot of time!
This is an interesting example of cause sponsorship. FreeRice itself does not make any money from this. FreeRice is a website committed to the cause of ending hunger around the world. It is run entirely for free and at no profit. All money (100%) raised by the site goes to the UN World Food Program to help feed the hungry. Sponsors make all payments to the UN World Food Program directly.
Check it out! What does your company do that you could tie to a cause, give back, AND build awareness and sales for your brand?