Michael Norton worked as a scientist, merchant banker and publisher before becoming a social activist. He has spent more than forty years supporting voluntary organisations, developing creative ideas for a better world and turning them into successful projects.
In 1966 Norton created the first language-teaching programme and supplementary school in the UK for non-English speaking immigrant children and their families, run entirely with volunteers. In 1975 he established the Directory of Social Change, which became the UK’s leading provider of information and training to the non-profit sector.
In 1995 he set up the Centre for Innovation in Voluntary Action, where he has initiated a range of innovative projects worldwide, including street children’s banks in South Asia; village publishing and village libraries in Andhra Pradesh, India; UnLtd, a UK foundation which makes awards to social entrepreneurs and affiliated foundations in India and South Africa; YouthBank which enables young people to become donors, supporting local initiatives run by young people; MyBnk, which enables school students in the UK to set up and run a microbank for saving and borrowing to help develop financial literacy and enterprise skills; FoodWorks, where students cook donated food in donated kitchen space to provide meals for the needy; and the Otesha Project UK, in which young people promote the ideas of sustainable living in a fairer world through cycle tours and theatre.
In 2009 Norton co-founded Buzzbnk, an internet platform to enable the crowd-funding of social ventures. He is author of 365 Ways to Change the World (which has been published in many editions around the world, and also by Myriad in 2008), The Everyday Activist and numerous books on fundraising.