The Changemaker Challenge (Le Défi Change ton monde) is a national campaign to inspire and support social innovation among students. Whether you have the beginnings of an idea or a full-fledged project, we want to help you share your story and create the next chapter.

We believe real impact takes community. For this year’s challenge, we invite you to launch campaigns to crowdsource or crowdfund. Turn to your networks. Invite them to co-create.

Ashoka Canada will promote your campaigns to our networks of changemakers. For crowdfunding projects, you may even be able to qualify for matching funds of up to $2,500. (See Rules to learn how.)

Matching Fund

The Challenge is the first of its kind to match the crowdfunding of student projects designed to produce social impact. This year, at least $25,000 will be made available by Ashoka Canada to projects that are sponsored by organizations with whom Ashoka has established a partnership. Another $12,500 is provided by our lead partner, Community Innovation Lab, to student projects in the Durham, Ontario area.

Digital Badge

Open BadgesThe Challenge will also introduce the first social innovation badge in Canada. Qualifying projects that crowdfund $2,000 or more will be issued Ashoka Canada’s CROWDFUNDER badge, a digital certification of achievement. Issued through Mozilla’s Open Badges framework, the badge can be easily shared with schools, employers and social networking websites. (We are crowdsourcing the design of this first badge. Contact us if you’re interested in helping out.)


Fusion KitchenAll crowdsourcing and crowdfunding projects that enter the Challenge will be promoted by Ashoka Canada to our networks. Participants may also be invited to take part in other Ashoka opportunities – global competitions, regional Changemaker Showcases, and a year-end Showcase for the Challenge (May 2014) where successful campaigns will be featured.

Throughout the year, Ashoka Canada and our partners will offer resources and workshops on crowdfunding, how to craft stories of change, how to communicate with authenticity and trust, and how to engage rather than inform.


  1. Projects are student-led and student-initiated and are designed to produce social or environmental impact.
  2. Projects can be artistic, design, DIY, educational, entrepreneurial, research, or service projects that introduce new solutions and bring about positive change. They should also have specific outputs  that can be delivered within a short timeframe (less than 2 years).
  3. Projects should not be (primarily) fundraising or advocacy campaigns for causes. Instead, they should introduce new products or services, although they may lead to some funds raised for non-profit organizations as a side benefit.
  4. All projects must use a short video to mobilize support. The video should explain who the students are, their story thus far, their motivation, their idea, their plan and their campaign goal.
  5. Projects should entail legal activities that do not demean groups defined by age, race, gender, culture, sexual orientation, and abilities.
  6. For crowdfunding projects, funding must be sought as donations, and the project cannot promise or provide to any funder any ownership interest or interest in any profits generated by the project.

Matching Funds

  1. To be eligible to qualify for matching funds, all projects must:a) Have a sponsor. A sponsor is an organization with whom your project is associated (i.e., a school, accelerator, course, non-profit organization). The sponsor must be an organization with whom Ashoka has established a partnership for the Changemaker Challenge. Sponsors have to be a charitable organization or a “qualified donee” as defined by Revenue Canada.

    b) Receive written approval prior to start of crowdfunding. Your project must be approved in writing by both the sponsor (in the manner that the sponsor requires) and by Ashoka (Request approval from Ashoka by submitting this form.)

  2. Once approved by both the sponsor and Ashoka, each project is eligible to participate in the Changemaker Challenge and may become eligible to receive up to $2,500 in matching funds in accordance with the following terms:a) Projects must run a crowdfunding campaign on one of the following platforms: Indiegogo, Catalyst, Kickstarter to raise funds for the project. (NOTE: Crowdsourcing projects that do not raise funds can be hosted at or projects’ own websites.)

    b) Each project must set a funding goal at the start of its crowdfunding campaign and a campaign duration of no longer than 60 days. In order to qualify to receive matching funds, the project must reach a minimum of 50% of its funding goal through the online campaign by the campaign’s end date.

    c) For each project, one funder cannot account for more than 50% of funds raised. This is to prevent anyone trying to top up the campaign simply to leverage Ashoka Canada’s matching funds.

    d) If the project’s crowdfunding campaign reaches a minimum of 50% of its fundraising goal by the end of the crowdfunding campaign, it will qualify to receive an amount that is equal to the amount actually raised by the crowdfunding campaign, up to a maximum of $2,500.

    e) The matching funds will be provided by Ashoka Canada to the sponsor and the sponsor is responsible for providing the funds to the project. Provision of the funds to the project by the sponsor will be in accordance with any terms that the sponsor set out when providing its approval for the project.

  3. Projects may qualify for fund matching by following the procedures set out above for as long as funds remain available. At midnight (Pacific Time) each day, we will do a daily tally of how much funds each project has qualified for.


  1. Projects must deliver rewards promised to backers and provide their sponsor a 6 month report on how the funds are spent.


  1. All projects that are led by Canadian secondary and post-secondary students and that meet our guidelines (General Rules) are eligible to earn Ashoka Canada’s CROWDFUNDER badge, whether or not they qualify for matching funds or are sponsored by an Ashoka partner.
  2. Projects need to raise $2,000 or more through online crowdfunding to earn the badge.
  3. In most cases, Ashoka Canada will issue no more than two badges per project to students who have put in at least 40% of the work on their campaign. A phone or skype interview will be used to help assess each team member’s role and contribution. More than two badges per project will be issued in rare instances and on a case-by-case basis.


Badges may be more familiar to Boy Scouts and gamers but they may soon gain currency among learners too. In today’s rapidly shifting world, new knowledge is being generated at an exponential rate. Learning happens everywhere and all the time. We need a better way than degrees to measure what people know and what they can do.

This is especially true for the field of social entrepreneurship where meaningful learning comes from the doing. That’s why Ashoka Canada and our partners are exploring the potential of badges to accelerate the learning of social innovators.

We will begin by issuing, through this Challenge, the first “social innovation” badge in Canada. The CROWDFUNDER badge will recognize youth who are able to mobilize their networks to fund their social change projects (by at least $2,000). Reach that threshold and you’ll earn your badge. (See Rules for guidelines.)

Built using Mozilla’s Open Badges framework, the badge can be added to your personal digital backpack along with all other badges you will earn from other issuers. Together, they can tell schools, employers, and funders not just what you know but what you can do.

So launch your project and be one of the first to earn the CROWDFUNDER badge.

Note: We are crowdsourcing the design of this very first social innovation badge. If you’d like to contribute, Contact Us.

crowdfunder badge

Watch our interview with Mozilla’s Mark Surman on the disruptive power of badges.


We invite colleges, universities and other educational institutions to partner with us to support youth-led social innovation. If you are a charitable organization (or a “qualified donee”), as deemed by Revenue Canada, then you may also receive matching funds from Ashoka Canada to disburse to your students. Below is just an initial list of partners we have for the Changemaker Challenge. Contact us to discuss forming a partnership with your institution.

Secondary Schools (Pilots)



Indiegogo’s Campaigner Field Guide – A must read before you begin.

We encourage you to explore resources listed below before designing your own campaign. They contain insights and wisdom from thousands of crowdfunding campaigns that have gone before.

Create Campaign – Use this button to create a campaign on Indiegogo that will be associated with our challenge.

Featured Projects

Crowdsourcing – Share Shed

If you don’t have immediate needs for funding, invite people in your network to collaborate and co-create with you. Daniel Dubois is asking his classmates at Capilano University to take part in the pilot of his project, Share Shed, an online platform for people to share items and skills. Help him out by sharing something you have… an item or a skill. View Project

Crowdfunding – The Green Events Program

If you need funding, think about who’s in your network and how you can create value for them… in return for their financial support. Burnaby students Tomas Lang and Jacqueline Shen are offering different perks to different audiences so they can support the expansion of their Green Events Program. Lend them your support! (View Campaign)

If you think you meet our criteria and want to step up to the challenge, click button to tell us about your project and we will guide you on how to proceed.

Submit Project