“People will do good if you incentivize them” is how Elizabeth Edelman, 28, describes the core ethos of Global Citizen, a nonprofit created to fight extreme poverty in developing nations. Small actions (dozens of which are curated on its Web site) like tweeting at a world leader, signing a petition, or protesting at an embassy can earn you points; earn a certain amount, and you’re rewarded with free access not only to GC’s massive annual music festival—this year’s, on September 24 in Central Park, will feature Selena Gomez, Kendrick Lamar, and Rihanna—but also to partner concerts all around the world. “If we get someone’s attention with the concert,” Edelman says, “they might realize they care about these issues and take even more action.”

Edelman, now a vice president of the NGO, discovered it in a serendipitous moment of clarity. “I was sitting in a bar in the West Village,” she recalls, “and I overheard a guy talking about Global Citizen.” At the time, she was working in private equity for a man who, she says, “was not very nice to women,” and was looking for an excuse to leave. She started out donating her free time to working with GC, and after a few months she was hooked. “Action is currency,” she says. “I believe in what I’m selling.”