Before spending a grueling day of interviews and judging, the 24 Finalists were treated to an amazing workshop where they learned about speaking to the media, budgeting, marketing, business development, working with foundations, how to find and receive grant money, and more. This was serious, no-holds-barred, "how-to" instruction that helped train the finalists in how to make their community action work more efficiently and effectively. The idea was to give each of the 24 Finalists the tools and resources to take their work to the next level.
The day included a surprise visit from Academy Award Winning Actress and renowned activist Susan Sarandon. Sarandon held a question and answer session with the Finalists, answering their questions about subjects including the power of youth to change the world, approaching celebrities to get them involved in causes and weighing the merits of social interaction versus political advocacy. She stressed that these Finalists were, in her eyes, the real hope for lasting social change. Sarandon believes that these grassroots organizations, working from the bottom up, are the key to the future.
Wrapping the afternoon up was marketing guru and best-selling author Seth Godin, who challenged the Finalists to better market their "products." He taught them that everyone has their own "worldview," a way of seeing the world. The finalists’ job is to find the worldviews that are predisposed to their cause. Godin stated that they should not waste their time chasing after people who will never listen or never respond.