The Aviva Community Fund Launches this week for it’s 4th consecutive year. This social media based contest puts the power into the hands of the communities around them to have a vote and make positive change possible with much needed funding. The Fund has given away millions of dollars to grass roots organizations and individuals who have come up with ideas to make positive change in their communities. You can check out previous winners here.

“I wanted to make a difference in my community for all children with disabilities, so how could I pass on the opportunity to enter the Aviva Community Fund?” said Kelly Meissner, idea generator behind 2011 Aviva Community Fund Winner Kate’s Kause. After winning $60,000 Kate’s Kause was able to build a fully accessible playground for the entire Elmira, Ontario community to use.

Starting today, Canadians can go to AvivaCommunityFund.org to submit ideas that will have a positive effect on their local community. After rallying support from friends, family, neighbours and co-workers, the most popular ideas will have a chance to be funded with the $1,000,000 Aviva Community Fund.

In the competition’s first three years, Canadians overwhelmingly answered the call proposing over 6,000 ideas and casting more than six million votes in support of causes from every province and territory.

New to the competition this year is a specific prize of up to $150,000 for Canadian community groups or charities that support homeless and at-risk youth programs. – Aviva Canada

Speaking about Change

I am really honored to be Aviva’s Quebec Speaker at the Community Fund Launch, where I where I will be highlighting some of the amazing opportunities this project gives business people and individuals to really get involved in supporting their communities.

Not only does Aviva give an opportunity to communities to grow and receive support for their positive change ideas, they also give their brokers an opportunity to support the projects in their areas. A great way for an insurance company to give back on many levels.

This competition not only uses social media to help spread the word, and allow people everywhere to support these local organizations, but it also creates a pattern of engagement that extends far beyond the contest itself. I wrote about this last year on 12 Most, and I invite you to continue reading below to learn about the 12 Most Ways Aviva Community Fund Excels at Community Giving.

You can also check out the ideas starting to appear here, and remember it doesn’t cost you anything to support a cause, just a click of support every day to help your favorite cause make it through to round two!

12 Most Charitable Ways @AvivaCF Excels in Community Giving

by Mila Araujo

What if I told you I had a million dollars to give away, and all you had to do to get part of it was to send me your request and if you could get your friends to support you, I’d hand it out? What would you do?

Well the Aviva Community Fund is doing just that, but they aren’t throwing it at you directly, they are giving it to your community so that not only you benefit, but your whole area can share the wealth, improve your life, your family’s and everyone around you.

What really sets this social good project aside from the rest is that it is not just a giveaway, its a competition. A competition that touches every single area of community in a positive way, and all anyone has to do to make it happen is embrace the idea of community. The true idea of working together and seeing the results of teamwork for social good.

Here are the 12 Most ways that @AvivaCF Excels in Community Giving

1. Its about getting what you need

Want a million dollars? Well you can’t get it yourself. You need your friends, your family, your community to get involved. Doing this instantly creates positive energy in your group. In today’s world we are often too busy to talk to each other, to take the time out to stop and connect with those around us.

In creating this competition, Aviva is creating an opportunity for you to get out there, meet the people around you, talk and plan with a common goal – improving your environment. A positive common goal, harvesting positive energy and drawing people together to make positive change.

2. It’s about corporate social responsibility

Aviva is an Insurance company. How many people think of an insurance company and recoil in disgust? Well Aviva is showing that they aren’t just about taking money, they are showing that they want to give it back back to your community so that it improves, and flourishes. Giving back in a big way to the people that make them great. They have nothing to gain from the process, other than to spread good will and highlight what their values are, one important part of which is being a force of change.

3. Its about opportunities

What would you do in your community if you had a million dollars? Simple have the question asked, and the true possibility that it is attainable instantly creates the opportunity to think. To think about what you would do, ideas springboard from ideas and the seeds of change are planted. In today’s economy, in today’s world, we all need a little inspiration. Aviva recognizes that sometimes its just money that holds things back, and so they open our minds to the possibility that the money is out there, and what would you do. That simple question drives change forward. The community changes simply by having been asked.

4. Its about motivation

The competition is structured in such a way that there are timed “rounds”, people need a push to start moving, and the competition structure is perfect for creating a momentum and a reason to start moving in your community quickly and with force. Change requires momentum and force. They set this up perfectly to build that positive force and keep it moving.

5. Its about learning

When the competition launches, Aviva invests a substantial amount in promoting the competition around Canada. People hear about the project and want to know more. Word spread and person to person, people learn more about what is needed in their communities, and how to help.

6. Its about empowerment

Individuals all have equal vote. You don’t have to know someone who knows someone to get this funding. You don’t have to be rich to contribute to this kind of cause. All you have to do is get together with your friends, your family, anyone and everyone you might know and cast a vote. If you’re dedicated, if you work hard, if you believe in your cause, the structure they have put in place makes it a fair race for the finish. The finish that brings social good home.

7. Its about community pride

Knowing that YOU can make THE difference by just getting involved and spreading the word and seeing those results when people come together for a common goal. it just feels good. Their competition is a vessel of positive energy and its contagious.

8. Its about good business and relationships

The business community, whether it be partners like brokers, employees, or business people – everyone gets a chance to support a good cause by spreading the energy, encouraging participation. Everybody wants to talk about something positive, now is the time, they’ve given it to you. It gives business people a positive reason to reach out and get involved. The effects of which will not end with the competition. This is priceless a community gift that will keep on giving.

9. Its about using Social media for Social Good

Getting people to see the power in communicating and working together using online tools. It motivates individuals to learn more about how to connect, and see how these tools are so powerful in fostering change. The lessons learned in this competition of using these tools are gifts that will not end with the competition. People will still maintain the relationships they built, they will still maintain the knowledge of what they saw happen in the process – social good accelerated and expanding reach, person to person, extending reach and forcing momentum. If we all take just that away from the competition, imagine how much good can be spread.

10. Its about being an example and giving hope

There are hundreds of insurance companies out there taking the money from their profits, how many of them do a nation wide give-away to give back to the people?

11. Its about putting power in the hands of the people

How many companies make a decision about who they will donate to? Everyone has their favorite charities. That’s the easy way. Aviva Community Fund chose to give that choice to the people who give them the money. They said YOU choose.

12. Its about building a better world together

If more companies took this approach to give away money and put the decision making in the hands of the people who are at the grassroots level, the world would be a better place. They fund so many local projects that directly impact society at its roots. This is where change starts, one person at a time, one community at a time. We can all learn from this. They have given every single person the chance to be the change, and shown the power of working together for a better world.

Whether you win or not, anyone who goes through the process and jumps in will benefit substantially from the connections and sharing in making this competition work. The Aviva Community Fund Competition (@AvivaCF) gets A+ on community giving simply from giving people the tools to make communities tighter, to empower and to support positive change. A reason for people to pull together and shine by caring, developing ideas, enhancing existing programs, improving outreach and building on all the strengths of human potential in a fun and engaging way!

There are lots of ways that running a campaign for social good could play out, but in this one, I think Aviva nailed it with a winning formula that has benefits which will continue to give back to the community long after the campaign ends.

Are you up for the challenge?

This article originally appeared on 12Most. Full Disclosure: I am the Aviva Community Fund speaker at the Quebec event launches and an Aviva Broker Partner. As an employee at an independent brokerage, I am not being compensated for this, my interest in this project is to help communities grow, and support the success of this initiative I believe in.