Written by Jeff Achen, GiveMN.org’s own interactive media strategist, I promise you will walk away both inspired and enlightened. Here’s a sneak peak:
Here at GiveMN, we’ve harnessed the power of our networks to raise record amounts of money online for nonprofits in Minnesota and engage record numbers of people in an annual, one-day giving event—Give to the Max Day.
On Nov. 16, 2010, we shattered our goal of 40,000 donors in 24 hours by engaging 42,596 unique donors who donated to their favorite nonprofits using the GiveMN.org platform. All told, Minnesota nonprofits collectively raised $10,041,021 in one incredible day. [continue reading]
My big take-away from reading the case study is the amazing, incredible possibility of powerful partnerships and collaboration. Secondly, I am completely awed and greatly admire the approach this effort represents and inspires. GiveMN.org not only achieved its goals–but also united a state around the causes and the people working to improve the lives of its citizens. Minnesotans may have different challenges, interests and experiences, but no matter all of that, Minnesota is a shared commonality that GiveMN.org used to help communicate that we are all in this together–a great message that obviously resonated with donors. Bravo GiveMN.org!
Mass publishing. Did you know this is accomplishable through blogs? This type of experimentation (or application) of guest posting took place earlier this year when Max Gladwell published 10 Ways to Change the World through Social Media, and it was simultaneously published on over 80+ blogs. Today is part two. *Know of other examples of “mass” publishing (i.e. Blog Action Day, Bloggers Unite, or others)? Feel free to share in the comments.*
Social media is about connecting people and providing the tools necessary to have a conversation. That global conversation is an extremely powerful platform for spreading information and awareness about social causes and issues. That’s one of the reasons charities can benefit so greatly from being active on social media channels. But you can also do a lot to help your favorite charity or causes you are passionate about through social media.
Below is a list of 10 ways you can use social media to show your support for issues that are important to you. If you can think of any other ways to help charities via social web tools, please add them in the comments. If you’d like to retweet this post or take the conversation to Twitter or FriendFeed, please use the hashtag #10Ways.
1. Write a Blog Post
Blogging is one of the easiest ways you can help a charity or cause you feel passionate about. Almost everyone has an outlet for blogging these days — whether that means a site running WordPress, an account at LiveJournal, or a blog on MySpace or Facebook. By writing about issues you’re passionate about, you’re helping to spread awareness among your social circle. Because your friends or readers already trust you, what you say is influential.
You should also consider taking part in Blog Action Day, a once a year event in which thousands of blogs pledge to write at least one post about a specific social cause (last year it was fighting poverty). Blog Action Day will be on October 15 this year.
2. Share Stories with Friends
Another way to spread awareness among your social graph is to share links to blog posts and news articles via sites like Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Digg, and even through email. Your network of friends is likely interested in what you have to say, so you have influence wherever you’ve gathered a social network.
You’ll be doing charities you support a great service when you share links to their campaigns, or to articles about causes you care about.
3. Follow Charities on Social Networks
In addition to sharing links to articles about issues you come across, you should also follow charities you support on the social networks where they are active. By increasing the size of their social graph, you’re increasing the size of their reach. When your charities tweet or post information about a campaign or a cause, statistics or a link to a good article, consider retweeting that post on Twitter, liking it on Facebook, or blogging about it.
Following charities on social media sites is a great way to keep in the loop and get updates, and it’s a great way to help the charity increase its reach by spreading information to your friends and followers.
You can follow the Summer of Social Good Charities:
Another way you can show your support for the charities you care about is to rally around them on awareness hubs like Change.org, Care2, or the Facebook Causes application. These are social networks or applications specifically built with non-profits in mind. They offer special tools and opportunities for charities to spread awareness of issues, take action, and raise money.
It’s important to follow and support organizations on these sites because they’re another point of access for you to gather information about a charity or cause, and because by supporting your charity you’ll be increasing their overall reach. The more people they have following them and receiving their updates, the greater the chance that information they put out will spread virally.
5. Find Volunteer Opportunities
Using social media online can help connect you with volunteer opportunities offline, and according to web analytics firm Compete, traffic to volunteering sites is actually up sharply in 2009. Two of the biggest sites for locating volunteer opportunities are VolunteerMatch, which has almost 60,000 opportunities listed, and Idealist.org, which also lists paying jobs in the non-profit sector, in addition to maintaining databases of both volunteer jobs and willing volunteers.
For those who are interested in helping out when volunteers are urgently needed in crisis situations, check out HelpInDisaster.org, a site which helps register and educate those who want to help during disasters so that local resources are not tied up directing the calls of eager volunteers. Teenagers, meanwhile, should check out DoSomething.org, a site targeted at young adults seeking volunteer opportunities in their communities.
6. Embed a Widget on Your Site
Many charities offer embeddable widgets or badges that you can use on your social networking profiles or blogs to show your support. These badges generally serve one of two purposes (or both). They raise awareness of an issue and offer up a link or links to additional information. And very often they are used to raise money.
Mashable’s Summer of Social Good campaign, for example, has a widget that does both. The embeddable widget, which was custom built using Sprout (the creators of ChipIn), can both collect funds and offer information about the four charities the campaign supports.
7. Organize a Tweetup
You can use online social media tools to organize offline events, which are a great way to gather together like-minded people to raise awareness, raise money, or just discuss an issue that’s important to you. Getting people together offline to learn about an important issue can really kick start the conversation and make supporting the cause seem more real.
As mentioned, blog posts are great, but a picture really says a thousand words. The web has become a lot more visual in recent years and there are now a large number of social tools to help you express yourself using video. When you record a video plea or call to action about your issue or charity, you can make your message sound more authentic and real. You can use sites like 12seconds.tv, Vimeo, and YouTube to easily record and spread your video message.
Last week, the Summer of Social Good campaign encouraged people to use video to show support for charity. The #12forGood campaign challenged people to submit a 12 second video of themselves doing something for the Summer of Social Good. That could be anything, from singing a song to reciting a poem to just dancing around like a maniac — the idea was to use the power of video to spread awareness about the campaign and the charities it supports.
There aren’t many more powerful ways to support a cause than to sign your name to a petition. Petitions spread awareness and, when successfully carried out, can demonstrate massive support for an issue. By making petitions viral, the social web has arguably made them even more powerful tools for social change. There are a large number of petition creation and hosting web sites out there. One of the biggest is The Petition Site, which is operated by the social awareness network Care2, or PetitionOnline.com, which has collected more than 79 million signatures over the years.
Petitions are extremely powerful, because they can strike a chord, spread virally, and serve as a visual demonstration of the support that an issue has gathered. Social media fans will want to check out a fairly new option for creating and spreading petitions: Twitition, an application that allows people to create, spread, and sign petitions via Twitter.
10. Organize an Online Event
Social media is a great way to organize offline, but you can also use online tools to organize effective online events. That can mean free form fund raising drives, like the Twitter-and-blog-powered campaign to raise money for a crisis center in Illinois last month that took in over $130,000 in just two weeks. Or it could mean an organized “tweet-a-thon” like the ones run by the 12for12k group, which aims to raise $12,000 each month for a different charity.
In March, 12for12k ran a 12-hour tweet-a-thon, in which any donation of at least $12 over a 12 hour period gained the person donating an entry into a drawing for prizes like an iPod Touch or a Nintendo Wii Fit. Last month, 12for12k took a different approach to an online event by holding a more ambitious 24-hour live video-a-thon, which included video interviews, music and sketch comedy performances, call-ins, and drawings for a large number of prizes given out to anyone who donated $12 or more.
Bonus: Think Outside the Box
Social media provides almost limitless opportunity for being creative. You can think outside the box to come up with all sorts of innovative ways to raise money or awareness for a charity or cause. When Drew Olanoff was diagnosed with cancer, for example, he created Blame Drew’s Cancer, a campaign that encourages people to blow off steam by blaming his cancer for bad things in their lives using the Twitter hashtag #BlameDrewsCancer. Over 16,000 things have been blamed on Drew’s cancer, and he intends to find sponsors to turn those tweets into donations to LIVESTRONG once he beats the disease.
Or check out Nathan Winters, who is biking across the United States and documenting the entire trip using social media tools, in order to raise money and awareness for The Nature Conservancy.
The number of innovative things you can do using social media to support a charity or spread information about an issue is nearly endless. Can you think of any others? Please share them in the comments.
About the “10 Ways” Series
The “10 Ways” Series was originated by Max Gladwell. This is the second simultaneous blog post in the series. The first ran on more than 80 blogs, including Mashable. Among other things, it is a social media experiment and the exploration of a new content distribution model. You can follow Max Gladwell on Twitter.
I’m no expert on the Iran situation. But, I do know when a video has that extra powerful “umph.” Talk about responding to current events (Michael Jackson), harnessing in on emotion, and making a statement through visual storytelling.
Have you seen this video of the events in Iran set to the music of Michael Jackson’s “They Don’t Care About Us” yet? What are your thoughts?
There are certain people you get really excited about meeting. One of those people for me was Geoff Livingston. A couple of weeks ago, I finally got the chance to meet him in person. During our conversation, he referenced me as an activist.
This was another first for me. I know Geoff said it with love, but no one has ever called me that, and I found myself pondering: Do I consider myself an activist? So, I let it marinate. And I came to three conclusions:
1. I do consider myself an activist. But then comes the question, what am I advocating for? I feel the answer to this question will continue to morph, evolve, and develop with time. For the longest time and presently, I am an advocate for a cure to multiple sclerosis. I’m also an advocate for my family, for human rights, for literacy and for social good. It may be cliche, but the quote, “Stand for something, otherwise you stand for nothing.”
Well, when my name is called, I want to feel confident about where I’m standing and why. This blog helps document my approach to activism as it’s deeply rooted in the belief I have in the process of social marketing and behavior change.
2. Being considered an activist is a good thing. I consider it a badge of honor. I know the word “activist” itself carries with it many ideas and immediate connotations from a variety of people, which is all great and dandy. However, what I realized was more important, was what it meant to me. I started thinking of others that I would deem “activists.” Maybe I’m just a little too on the optimistic side, but I first thought of those like Susan B. Anthony, Martin Lurther King Jr., Nelson Mandella, and my family.
You see, I feel like I come from a lineage of activists so to speak. One, my grandfather of about five generations ago was a Cherokee Indian Chief. Another super great uncle was an abolitionist with John Brown and was actually hung with him as documented in the book Man on Fire. Though I know that one is a bit extreme, there was my great-grandpa Russel who was a teacher…A teacher who lost his job because he didn’t believe in the segregation of his classroom. To carry on the torch and encourage others to join, well, to me, that’s a good thing.
3. This, inherently, implies action. The word itself carries the word “act” in it. Are there “activists” that you don’t agree with? Yes. Are there activists with bad intentions? Yes. Are there activites who use approaches you don’t agree with? Yes. But, then, if that’s the case, act on it. =) Being an activist is what you make of it.
Find your voice. Channel your purpose….and I think you’ll find that you will want to ACT on whatever you feel called or led to do more than ever. Are you with me?
(*I hesitated writing this post, because I thought the word “activist” might lend itself to be controversial. But then I thought, hey, SB readers are pretty smart folks. They’ll have some good insights to stretch me even further on this. I’m counting on it. In the meantime, thanks Geoff for the compliment!)
Get out of your comfort zone. This includes myself, often I am use to comfortably perusing my usual blogs in my RSS reader, however, when I first found DigiActive over the summer, I immediately knew I needed to get out more. DigiActive brings together a team of international bloggers from SIX continents and offers great content from diverse perspectives. The change movement knows no boundaries.
I must also give Amine, from DigiActive the award for patience. Amine and I conversed at the end of August, and I am just now getting up their interview. Thank you Amine and the DigiActive team for your world-class patience. Without further adieu, enjoy!
Blog Topics: Being the Intersection of Technology and Grassroots Activism
Blog Explained: The group blog at DigiActive.org is part of DigiActive’s overall mission to help grassroots activists around the world use technology to increase their impact. DigiActive also publishes guides, such as “A DigiActive Introduction to Facebook Activism” and maintains a digital activism map. DigiActive is also in the process of launching a research program (R@D), which will provide actionable analysis for the benefit of digital activists around the world.
About the Author(s): The site features an international group of bloggers from six continents from countries including Iran, Morocco, China, Cameroon, the US and Germany. We come from a wide range of backgrounds and professions. Some of us work for NGOs while others are students or journalists. All our bloggers are volunteers and write for the site because of a passion for digital activism.
Why do you blog? A few answers from some of the DigiActive team members include:
“I write for DigiActive because it gives me an excuse to keep up to date on the cutting edge of digital activism. Activists “hacking” online applications, creating new uses for platforms like Facebook or Google Earth and turning them into tools for change, that’s what gets me up in the morning.” – Mary Jocye
“I’m blogging for DigiActive because I have a crush on digital activism. Blogging let’s me share the product of this splendid connection with a global community, which is another thing I will never really understand, but always be amazed of.” – Simon Columbus
“It is a fantastic opportunity to investigate and learn about this increasingly important movement. I work in a part of the world where these tools are underutilized but needed with urgency, and I use my work to educate and involve the people around me.” – Tamara Palamakumbara
What first prompted you to blog? DigiActive was started by Mary and Amine, who met on Facebook and built DigiActive together before ever meeting in person. Our ambition was “to create a center for the global digital activism movement.” With an ever-increasing number of partners, we are still working to achieve that goal.
Why digital activism? What is it, and how do you know when it’s successful?
Digital Activism is defined as digital actions taken by grassroots organizations or individuals to achieve a social or political change. It means taking the power of the new global reach of user-generated content and turning it towards the purposes of social justice.
It’s hard to know when digital activism has succeeded. Clear-cut cases of digital success, like the Help Fouad campaign in Morocco are rare. Even when a goal is achieved, it is often the result of multiple campaigns, not only digital ones, and often it takes years to achieve these goals. I don’t think there’s a clear formula for success. Digital activism is not about quantity of people you can reach, but it’s about the quality by which you reach them.
What’s the impact digital activism has, or could have, on our community?
One of the greatest strengths of digital activism is that it allows people to collaborate closely regardless of physical location. As mentioned previously, Mary and Amine developed the idea for DigiActive and built the site without ever meeting. In fact, they still live on different continents. Talia edits for the DigiActive blog from Boston, even though our correspondents are dispersed across the globe. I think the two biggest technical advantages that digital activism has are 1) the speed at which technology is being introduced, improved upon, and made widely available and 2) the number of tools that are available, which enables users to use the one that best suits their situation. It’s not a one-sie-fit-all. It’s a custom-tailored approach. The biggest qualitative advantage of digital activism is, as mentioned, the ability to connect to so many people and get yourself in front of large number of eyes and ears!
If you could live on any street, what would that street be named and why?
“Hope Street” – Simon
“The Beginning” – Kate
“TechCanHelpUChangeTheWorld Blvd.” – Mary
Who would be your dream real-life neighbor?
Some of the answers from the DigiActive team include: An international group of passionate grassroots activists, committed to the goal of realizing the human dignity of all the world’s citizens. Dalaid Lama and Dave Barry. Maybe Jon Stewart too.
Successful digital activism campaign are always fun to write about. Whether it be about young Egyptian activists using Facebook to organize a country-wide strike, about Jamaican gay rights activists who use blogs and the internet to fight to get into a UN AIDS meeting or about activists in Morocco who used the web to coordinate a successful international campaign to free the “Facebook Prisonner”. However it is also important to consider the limitations of digital activism and provide useful information and guides on how to best harness its potential.
What’s one lesson you’ve learned from blogging?
Don’t be afraid to express yourself – everyones experience and opinions count.
That it takes a global village to write a blog.
It’s a great way to meet and to get to know incredible people from around the world.
Liked what you read? Feel free to share with others:
The DigiActive International Blogging Team, nominated by SocialButterfly
This continuous series highlights different blogs and their respective bloggers in the blogosphere neighborhood. Following the great Mr. Rogers, who tells us to ‘Get to know your neighbor,’ this series introduces us to our blogger neighbors, making for a more unified, collaborative voice for the social sector. Like to nominate someone or be featured yourself? Contact me @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today, over 10,000 bloggers from around the world will unite to raise their voices on behalf of more than 40 million voiceless refugees.
Some have wondered about the potential of blog awareness days and what their potential and impact may be beyond raising….[wait for it]…awareness. However, awareness can lead to action. To be honest, before Bloggers Unite announced it’s “Bloggers Unite for Refugees United” initiative I was not that connected with the issue. However, due to BU + RU efforts, I am now more engaged. And that in my book, is a direct result of Bloggers Unite.
As the BU resource page says, “Knowledge can bring change.” Though it may not be a direct correlation, change begins with individual action, and individual action must be born with passion and knowledge. (Some of my social marketing friends will argue there is much more involved in behavior change. I concur. This being one of the reasons I encourage the study and application of social marketing.)
Because I concur, Bloggers Unite brings the issue before us. The challenge then, is how will we respond? On the BU resource page, they offer a number of resources to begin with, including:
In honor of today’s Blog Action Day on poverty, here is a background on poverty and how social marketing can be applied, as I saw broken down by Philip Kotler himself at the World Social Marketing Conference.
Additionally, join over 40 of DC’s influential changemakers at Buffalo Billiards at DC’s 1st Changeblogger meetup. We will recognize and commemorate Blog Action Day, connect with Alex Steed’s social change tour, mingle and share re: living and working for positive change.
What is poverty?
In researching the answer to this question, I couldn’t escape the purpose behind a campaign by the Association of Public Health Schools and the Pfizer Foundation recently created called “What is public health?” This campaign works to better brand ‘public health’ to the public, while also raising awareness, education and encouraging participation in the public health conversation. Participants are asked to put red “This is public health stickers” on items that they feel represent public health. My challenge: What would this look like if the question: “What is poverty?” was asked?
Early Solutions to Poverty
Kotler listed 4 early solutions to poverty: alms programs, workhouses for the poor, deficit financing and economic development. With these solutions, four major strategies reveal themselves to reduce poverty:
Economic Growth Strategy
Massive Foreign Aid
As Kotler continued to outline, he stated the “Two Main Thrusts” used to alleviate poverty are population control (from contraceptive campaigns, to abortions, education of women, industrialization to passing laws restricting the number of children) and improving the support of povert-escaping behavior. This umbrellas micro finance and empowerment, education and health programs.
As part of the Millennium Goals, the World Bank and the United Nations have 8 goals and 17 targets to alleviate poverty (Kotler). One goal is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by:
Cutting in half the proportion of people whose income is less than a $1 a day.
Halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.
Everyone hears we need to solve poverty, but my eyes were widened as to WHY we need to solve hunger. And, this goes beyond the humanity of reasons, but puts some more solid evidence to the issue. Kotler spoke of these 6 reasons:
Sympathy and compassion about wasted lives.
Poverty drives some poor people into crime and terrorism.
Poor are more prone to health problems and spreading of disease.
Poor are more likely to follow demogogues.
Poor nations can collapse into “failed states” that cannot pay their foreign debt.
The poor are an untapped trillion dollar market opportunity.
Why Social Marketing?
Kotler, along with social marketing expert Nancy Lee, both are literally writing the book answering this part of the poverty question. I personally can’t wait for the book to come out because I truly believe that social marketing provides the right tools for us to solve global issues such as poverty. In the presentation, Kotler identified a 6-part framework as to how social marketing can be applied to the poverty issue. However, in the book, a larger and more developed framework is offered, as well as further context of the issue.
So, back to the challenge. How would you answer this question: What is poverty?
Liked what you read? Feel free to share with others:
Two weeks out from the World Social Marketing Conference in Brighton, London, and a fabulous new development was announced today regarding social marketing in the United States.
About the Survey
Bob Marshall, along with a slew of other social marketing thought leaders, have launched an open online survey asking others’ opinions about what a national strategic social marketing plan, including a professional organization, would look like in the United States.
The survey I’m very excited to say is designed for respondents at all levels of interest (students, new and career practitioners, experienced expert) across all related fields from social marketing, public health, environment, communication, social sector, education, and more. Basically, anyone interesed in using social marketing as a systematic approach to promoting behavior change and social change that benefits both individuals and society.
The survey is anonymous, and results will be shared on the new blog launched to support the project called the USSocialMarketingPlan in the next few weeks. Organizers are hoping to have enough participants to announce some results by the WSMC in Brighton. Craig Lefebrve also announced the survey on his blog for more information as well.
This is EXCITING news and in my opinion, definitely overdue. But, it’s a start. I had wanted to do this survey myself as part of my master’s thesis, but was advised to wait by others, so I’m happy it is now being conducted, and the collaborative approach will probably encourage more participants. =)
The film combined top music artists (Five for Fighting, Switchfoot, Natasha Bedingfield, ImogenHeap and more!), performing a plethora of heart-awakening music to the footage of modern day slavery images and video that evoke a response.
Collecting testimony from modern day activists ranging from Madeleine Albright to Ashley Judd and Nicholas Kristof and many more, the film calls attention to 27 million of the world’s dirtiest secrets. The film culminates and begs the question: How will YOU respond?
The aspect of the film I find most inspiring is the person behind the film: musician Justin Dillon. According to the film’s website:
“Justin Dillon came across the issue of Human Trafficking while touring in Russia. Justin met scores of girls whose ambition to come west was being preyed upon by traffickers. The young girl assigned to interpret for him would share about the many “opportunities” that were being offered to her to come to west.
Justin looked into the phoney opportunities being offered to these girls and became incensed at how easy it was to trick them. After sharing with them the dangers of these proposals, he vowed to do something about this issue once he returned home.”
And so he did. Justin, with no connections or leverage into the entertainment industry, began on a quest to call attention to the issue. He showed how one man with a strong conviction could inspire a movement. A year and a half later, there is now the film Call+Response with thousands responding to the issue of slavery.
At the live screening, Justin spoke to the crowd and said the sole question he asked himself was: What is he good at, and how could he use that talent to solve the issue? Thus, I ask you. Like Justin, what’s your calling?
What are the talents you have, and how are you being called to respond to the modern day issues plaguing humanity?