• Women 2.0 HowTo Conference San Francisco, September 30 - October 1, 2014

Fasting For Joy

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The cost of feeding a child in a third world country is relatively small and just fasting or skipping a meal or three can feed so many children.

By Grace A. Belangia (Community Manager, Elluva)

One of the great privileges of leading a new startup is the ability to set its culture, initiatives and values.

We believe as entrepreneurs it is our duty to be a ninja, hack the system, challenge the status quo and kick ass. We also believe that giving is equally as important as product and marketing. This has evolved from an idea into an ideal.

As we started to form our company Elluva, the idea of Inflict Joy kept permeating itself throughout our entire mission and business. It is now the very heart of our organization. The catalyst for giving resulted in the concept of Inflict Joy. These are not just assets and ideas or marketing vehicles. This is truly in our DNA and the very heart of Elluva.

Our super small and super motivated technology startup based out of Palo Alto, California is in the process of building a powerful marketing and customer engagement platform. In doing so, we will produce happy things to good people around the universe. These ideals are an extension of us, our team, and our team is a reflection of our love for diversity and these values. Our worldwide web of employees represent six countries, five languages and we live/work in every corner of the continent. Initially, we will provide a mobile and web-based platform for marketing promotions, which will enable our business customers to create, test-market, roll-out and track their activity. Our customers will, in turn, have instant access to exclusive promotions that connect with their interests and past behavior, and are relevant to their current and/or specified locations

But then we started thinking during our research phase… why spend money on traditional marketing if we’re out selling a revolutionary new marketing tool ourselves? Why not spend that money instead on doing good in the world and create an incredible force for change and love? This is a combination of creative marketing and giving. We kicked ideas around for our first Inflict Joy Operation, but nothing really stuck.

Over the past two months, after many conference calls across numerous time zones, we launched Fast For Joy, a worldwide event to encourage people to fast and donate the money saved from their meals to feed children in the third world. Kicked off on Thursday, November 15, we have already received almost $2,000 in donations – our goal is to raise $10,000 by December 1, 2012.

We have partnered with Rice Bowls, a non-profit to receive 100% of the proceeds. All donations are funneled through this non-profit with 100% proceeds going to provide meals to orphanages. A $75 donation will provide 300 meals. The statistics are staggering, and I am thankful to be in a position to fast and donate the money instead.

So this season, instead of eating too much and too often at family gatherings and holiday parties, I am going to fast in support of Fast for Joy. My stomach will be fine, and my clothes a little looser. Gotta love that.

We hope that this can become an annual event that is recognized globally and signals the beginning of the holiday season of giving. It has been an incredible adventure so far. From design to partnerships to organizing to promoting, it has been a wonderful experience.

Hopefully you can join me – for the day or at least a meal. Maybe you can’t fast all day, and that is totally cool. How about just skipping your most expensive meal of the day and donating that money? By the time you buy a breakfast burrito, visit the coffee cart, order the half/half sandwich, more than 160 meals ($40) could be bought. The cost of feeding a child in a third world country is relatively small and just fasting or skipping a meal or three can feed so many children.

Please support and share our super hacker secret mission in making the world a better place for our children.

Women 2.0 readers: How is your startup giving back? Let us know in the comments.

About the guest blogger: Grace A. Belangia is the Community Manager and an early employee at Elluva, a high-growth startup based in Palo Alto, California. Prior to joining Elluva, she co-founded a digital and print quarterly magazine and was a marketing and communications consultant for a wide range of companies. Follow her on Twitter at @GraceBelangia.