SOCAP11 Social Entrepreneur Spotlight: Toan Lam, GoInspireGo.com

Posted by on September 4th, 2011

What are the main roadblocks keeping you from your goals?

SOCAP comes at a critical time in the lifecycle of my passion project and life’s work GoInspireGo, a video based website that inspires civic engagement.

My name is Toan Lam. I am a former broadcast television reporter and Chief Inspiration Officer (CIO) of GIG, an innovative, social enterprise 501(c)3 start-up that has gained much traction since it’s genesis two years ago.

GIG is a multimedia platform that “Uses Social Networking to Inspire Social Change.”  Our website and movement features inspirational character driven stories about “regular people” going above and beyond, to help their community. GIG’s goal is to encourage positive, productive civic engagement.

At the end of the each video, there is a “call to action” that inspires and challenges people to use their own power, resources and talents to give back to the featured cause. The enthusiasm and sparks of civic engagement around GIG are contagious.

Within three months of launching GIG, Arianna Huffington asked me to blog for The Huffington Post. Simultaneously, I blog for Deepak Chopra’s website Intent.com. ABC’s Good Morning America also featured GIG’s stories and I was recently interviewed on ABC News Now regarding the Yahoo! Front Page blog, “2010 Year In Review Inspiring Acts.”

In our second year, GIG continues to produce and highlight inspiring stories that spark involvement, and encourage viewers to “discover and use their power (talents, network, resources) to help others.”

Many nonprofits say their main challenge is finding funding. Our roadblock extends beyond – GIG is trying to change the way funders think about and support projects. We’re on the front lines of this morphing medium called social media, or multimedia platform, where the game and rules are created, tested and constantly changing.

Our biggest roadblock is that our project is innovative, new and unique – it’s not a physical product or program, etc., Fitting our concept into a traditional category is the biggest challenge we face.

GIG is fueled by the dedication of its volunteers and donated services.  I gave up the TV reporting gig and have turned down several lucrative job offers, to fund GIG and am now making less than half the salary I used to earn by teaching and writing curriculum for a local university two days a week. The other five days are spent growing my nonprofit.

We have surpassed many milestones. Now it’s time to find an intrepid, new funding model to bring our mission, vision and videos to the masses and use social media and technology to inspire social change. We have big dreams for GIG 2.0 that includes creating an app that aggregates good news and creating a show that inspires the world to “use their power to help others.”

You can help GIG!