Posts tagged ‘social good’

Twitter Promotes Social Good

There’s been a development with Twitter (surprise). But this time, it’s for social good. A little link found itself on the Twitter homepage, and with it, Twitter has entered a more formal “Twitter for Social Good” status. See the screen shot below.

If you click on that little link, you are directed to “” with a personal note from @ev and @biz, the founders of Twitter. They share that in this space, they will highlight social movements that deserve our attention. Currently, the site features Haiti efforts and efforts for World Malaria Day. A stream called the “Ecosystem of Hope” also provides tweets provided by nonprofits. On individual cause pages, Twitter provides a variety of action-oriented ways to get involved:

  • Highlights tweets from related organizations working towards the cause,
  • Highlights tweets from around the world about the cause,
  • Provides sponsors names,
  • Provides actionable retweets for fund-raising efforts using,
  • Offers real-time fund-raising results,
  • Promote mobile fund-raising efforts,
  • Suggested Twitter accounts to follow,
  • Tips on how to best use Twitter to support a specific cause,
  • and more.

It’ll be interesting to see how this space evolves–how Twitter will choose what to highlight and how nonprofits react. In a way, it reminds me of BlogCatalog’s “BloggersUnite” initiative. For those wanting to be featured, Twitter refers you to its case studies to learn best practices. To be officially considered for what Twitter is calling its “Twitter for Good” program, they provide a contact form.

What are your thoughts–how should Twitter use its leverage for good?

Tonight: Live Chat About Empathy, CSR, American Idol and More

Quick note: Tonight is our Read4Change Book Club chat via Twitter at 8pm EST. To join us, just follow @read4change or follow the hashtag #read4change.

Book: Wired to Care

Special Guest: Co-Author Pete Mortenson

Topic: Empathy + CSR as an Approach to Change

From Chase Bank to Pepsi to now–American Idol, many are integrating social media into their corporate social responsibility and/or their cause marketing efforts. Join us to discus what’s working and what’s needed–could it be more empathy? Co-author Pete Mortenson joins us to share his insights and the lessons gained from the concept of empathy.

FYI: During our chat, American Idol will be highlighting its latest cause initiative with Idol’s Kris Allen and the UN Foundation in Haiti. Thus, it’s a book club and a watch party all in one. (#UNFIdol) Hope you can join in on the fun!


Piqued your interest? Learn more about the Read4Change Book Club –including future topics and books.

The Fight for Good: Disney vs. Pepsi

Lots has been said about Pepsi’s Refresh Everything Project. However, not as much has been said about Disney’s “Give a Day. Get a Disney Day.” Why?

Both projects launched around the same time and both stand to do good. Thus, let’s match them up and see who’s left standing: Disney or Pepsi. Let’s begin.


Disney: Give a Day. Get a Disney Day.
What: Inspire one million people to volunteer a day of service.
How: Individuals can sign-up to volunteer at participating community organizations in their area. In return, that person will be awarded with a 1-day, 1-theme park ticket to the Disneyland® Resort or Walt Disney World® Resort, free.
When: Jan. 1, 2010–Dec. 15, 2010

Pepsi: Refresh Everything Project
What: Award a total of $20 million in grants.
How: Engaging in a social good crowdsourcing experiment.
When: Early 2010

Round 1: Program

Disney: It’s simple–give a day, get a day. It’s easy to understand and process. It’s national yet local–and is on the tail of national calls to service and volunteerism. It’s also collaborative by working with organizations across the nation. It’s also customizable and has something for everyone as any person wanting to participate can type in their zip code and find volunteer opportunities in eight different categories: animals and environment, arts and culture, children and youth, community, education and technology, health and human services, hunger and homelessness, and seniors and elder care.

Pepsi: It’s innovative, creative and “sexy.” It’s also a big investment–$20 million big. Pepsi is also a heavy hitter, and has entered the social good space by doing something new and doing it first, which can work to their advantage. The project is also inclusive–where anyone can submit an idea and anyone can vote up projects and ideas. Pepsi, like Disney, has also divided up the entries into different categories for people to consider: health, arts and culture, food and shelter, the planet, neighborhoods, and education.

Round 2: Usability

Disney: The landing page for this initiative is a bit buried and there is no friendly URL. However, once there, Disney outlines the steps a person needs to take pretty well and makes the process relatively simple. The downside-there’s a lot of small print.

Pepsi: For both Disney’s and Pepsi’s initiatives, you have to create an account. However, for those less technical, the Pepsi site may be harder to navigate and understand–given the complexity of the competition.

Round 3: Authenticity

Disney: This is being promoted–but not as heavily or perhaps just more traditionally as I have seen TV spots. You can argue you this two ways: First, perhaps Disney doesn’t want to dedicate as many resources to a do-good promotion. Or secondly, maybe they don’t want to wave their do-goodness around. Out of the two companies, I’d say Disney has had a tougher road to climb to gain consumer’s trust.

Pepsi: For Pepsi, the Refresh project was a cheaper investment than the Superbowl, and some would argue, is having a higher return on investment. However, it may be too early to tell just what the return on investment really is. What I have noticed–is that they are definitely promoting it through blogger outreach, social media, celebrity endorsement, television ads and Pepsi was also a sponsor to the Superbowl Fan Jam that aired on VH1. Some have also commented that Pepsi’s set-up of the Refresh Project doesn’t express a true commitment to the social change community and dub it more cause-washing. Either way, we’re all talking about it.

Round 4: Impact and Sustainability

Disney: In the short-term, a lot of projects will be accomplished. In the long-term, hopefully people will be inspired to continue volunteering and giving back to their communities. In addition, the participating organizations have an opportunity to engage new community members to their cause and build a long-term relationship with them.

Pepsi: In the short term, people can be inspired by the dreams and ideas for a better world. In the short term, many groups and individuals will receive much needed resources to make things happen and take the efforts to the next level. However, it will be the responsibility of these organizations to put the funds to good use and create and drive the impact and its sustainability. One could also argue it’s the voter’s responsibility to vote for those projects that will be sustainable.

Winner: Disney

While I give props to Pepsi, I think Disney edges them out and this is why:

1. I understand it. My friends, who aren’t bloggers and aren’t techy, know about it, get it, and are participating. It’s simple.

2. It works for both the short-term and the long-term. In the short-term, it encourages volunteering, while working to inspire volunteering as a normal and frequent experience in the long-term.

3. Everybody wins. The organizations get help and an opportunity to build a long-term relationship with volunteers. The volunteer gets a free ticket to Disney. Disney gets people in their parks where they are bound to buy food, souvenirs and more–not to mention the engagement and positive press.

4. It’s collaborative. Disney found a way to not just talk about collaboration, but actually do it. The Huffington Post even claims Disney’s program “is beautiful on so many dimensions.”


Where the Rubber Meets the Road

When defining the success of these initiatives, here’s the more important question:

  • For Pepsi/Disney, did the project increase sales of Pepsi or encourage more people to visit?
  • For the do-good community, what is the overall impact of these initiatives to our communities?

Now, what if it’s found that there is a larger impact to our community, but not an advance in sales? That is where I think the rubber will meet the road.. My hope, is that we can continue to learn from one another to make it a win-win so that more organizations think about doing good.

What are your thoughts–Disney or Pepsi?

Note, this write-up is without any specific background knowledge, research or documentation about these initiatives. Also, thank you Pepsi and Disney for embarking on these efforts, as I hope all of us continue to learn and discover new ways to make our world better.

flickr credit (in order): mrkalhoon, vrogy, Express Monorail

One Word of Advice for Voters of Pepsi’s Refresh Project

Sustainability. In a fast-paced, 140-character world, short term and one-hit wonder thinking is rampant. But when it comes to making a difference and solving the great problems of our times, we need to be thinking for the long-term. This is why I hope the voters of Pepsi’s Refresh Everything Project will keep the concept of sustainability top-of-mind.

Let me first say that I applaud Pepsi’s jump into social good–and I hope more groups follow their lead. Perhaps if more did, then we’d have more case studies, a deeper set of lessons learned and more refined best practices. In a sense, we’d have more to talk about. This post is not for the folks at Pepsi. Rather, it’s aimed at the people who are engaging in Pepsi’s Refresh Everything Project.

For those not familiar, Pepsi is foregoing its Superbowl Ads and instead, engaging in a social good experiment. Pepsi will award a total of $20 million in grants over the course of the year. Who will receive the grants? That’s for you, me and everyone else to decide by voting–and a big reason why I hope, each voter, keeps in mind the concept of sustainability when reviewing the proposed projects. (More on how the project works.)

When reviewing the proposals, a thought kept pulsing, growing bigger and bigger inside me. Pepsi is awarding $20 million dollars in resources–but what if you had $20 million dollars or your organization did–how would you allocate those resource and why?

Sure–Recruiting people to help clean the highways is great–but what if we knew of a way to make it where people didn’t litter in the first place?

Sure–It’s great to offer a summer camp to kids to teach them to better appreciate the earth, but how can we scale this to reach more children in more places?

Sure–It’s great to find ways to get people up and moving. But, there are so many good people working to achieve this already. What strategies do they find working? Let’s invest there.

The Pepsi Refresh Project is a great initiative, but it’s just a start. I expect (and hope) we’ll start to see more of it. I also agree with Beth Kanter that, with crowdsourcing efforts, this is where having a key group of content experts involved is key. But, to me, the biggest take-away is that we, as a community, need to be thinking more strategically with our resources–this is why I love social marketing. It addresses both the short-term and the long-term. It looks at advocacy as well as promotion and a wide range of other various tools. It thinks both upstream and downstream. In other words, it offers a framework for us to create sustainable programs, products and services that truly can make a lasting change and a better world.

Thus, to all you voters, when reviewing, please keep in mind the idea of sustainability. What’s going to make the biggest difference for the amount of effort, resources and time?

What about you–what advice do you have either to Pepsi or to the fellow voters?

The Pollyanna Principles for Social Change

Have you ever been frustrated about the impact of your efforts? I have–even when we’ve been successful, if not especially then.

For example, you may reach the number of donors you set out to reach, but still feel disconnected. You could have a bigger list of e-newsletter subscribers, but still question if what you’re doing is achieving the change you want. You can change the life of one person and wonder how you can change the life of another.

This is why I turned to social marketing. Social marketing is something you address, plan and implement at the strategic level. If you are considering how social marketing applies during materials development or media placement, you’ve missed the boat and instead are floating on driftwood. We need to think bigger and longer.

This weekend, I found someone online who I feel understands where I’m coming from: Hildy Gottlieb. After about five years of consulting, Hildy and her partner felt frustrated. They saw themselves doing great work and achieving the mission set before them, but then noticing their work wasn’t aiming for extraordinary community change.  She explains best in the video below (minutes 4-6 is where it hit home with me, as I feel social marketing can help create the change she describes).

If you are working on community-based change or social change in general, Hildy outlines six Pollyanna Principles to guide your efforts:

The Ends

  1. We accomplish what we hold ourselves accountable for.
  2. Each and every one of us is creating the future, every day, whether we do so consciously or not.

The Means

  1. Everyone and everything is interconnected interdependent, whether we acknowledge that or not.
  2. “Being the change we want to see” means walking the talk of our values.
  3. Strengths build upon our strengths, not our weaknesses.
  4. Individuals will go where systems lead them.

I like these principles because they aren’t media focused–they are value focused. What about you–can you relate to the frustration Hildy or I describe?

Bonus: If community-based change interests you, I recommend looking up the name Doug McKenzie-Mohr.

flickr photo credit: khoraxis

Change Between the Pages

The #read4change book club met twice in 2009 to discuss Tom Watson’s CauseWired in November, and Actions Speak Loudest in December. This January, we decided to take a break to take some lessons learned, tweak and plan for the rest of 2010. We hope you’ll join us in gathering and sharing community amongst some good books and great thinkers.

What to Expect

Once a month–using the Twitter account @read4change and the hashtag #read4change–do gooders, social changers, nonprofiteers and the like gather around the last Wednesday of the month and read a social change-themed book–chosen by the community. The hope is to have authors or experts join us in the conversation as a unique opportunity to have meaningful conversations in a meaningful way.

Everyday–Be on the lookout for #read4change challenges where we identify ways where you or I’s reading can have a direct impact into a positive change. It might not be everyday, but we’ll do our best. If you or your organization has an action you want highlighted, just shoot me an email or direct message.

Bonus–Any funds raised through our online bookshelf (run through Amazon’s Associates program) will be donated to a charity of the group’s choice at the end of the year.

All Stars–Shoot me an email if you want to be a #read4change All Star list. This means you plan to partake in at least 3 of our 11 chats this year, and you will also be also given some link-love.

2010 Themes

  • February–Approach to Change VOTE
  • March–Going Green VOTE
  • April–Social Entrepreneurship VOTE
  • May–Stories of Change
  • June–Economics
  • July–The Big Screen (Movies)
  • August–Inspiration and Motivation
  • September–Today’s Woman
  • October–Global Issues
  • November–Back to Basics
  • December–Enjoy the Holidays (no book)

How to Get Involved

Look forward to a great year. Open to ideas. Feel free to suggest a book or topic in the comments!

Nuggets of Social Change–Round 2

Perhaps it’s the time of year, but has anyone else noticed that more people are churning out more good content? Many different items I come across deserve its own post, however, then it’s on to the next good nugget I find. Thus, I’m going to do these round-ups every once and awhile as I don’t want you to miss out on all the good information.

  • Have a cause or issue that you’re passionate about? If so, you will love this article by Michael Silberman on the Huffington Post. In it, Michael shares lessons learned when it comes to digital organizing from the 350 days movement–what he terms the “most widespread day of political action in history.” I personally like how Michael emphasizes the importance of mission over technology, and how he creatively shows the importance of creative storytelling by effectively telling the 350 days story to us.
  • Are you or your clients curious about the latest and great in customer relationship management models? Web Strategist Jeremiah Owyang recently wrote up an in-depth post that gives an overview of 31 different CRM companies that are worth a look through.
  • Recently, I touched upon how online contests and competitions were growing in popularity–seems it’s still growing. Pepsi recently announced that they were going to fore go Superbowl ads, and instead, create a micro-site slash giving competition called the “Pepsi Refresh Project.” Beth Kanter shared her thoughts about Pepsi’s move following the Chase Bank fund-raising issue as well.
  • Twitter is the Oxford Dictionary’s 2009 Word of the Year. However, another contender could have been the word innovation. Look at Time Magazine’s list of the “Top 50 Inventions of 2009”. Or, check out Popular Mechanics list of “The Best 50 Inventions in the Past 50 Years.” (Guess Santa isn’t the only one making his list and checking it twice this time of year.)
  • Social marketeers: Are you looking to connect with colleagues? Try one of these three upcoming social marketing conferences summed up nicely by Craig Lefebvre. A conference of sorts that I also look forward to debuting is BIBA, presented by Peter Corbett’s iStrategy Labs. BIBA looks to gather big minds with big ideas to make big actions.
  • Because it’s worth mentioning again, did you get a chance to read Philip Kotler’s and Nancy Lee’s article in Stanford’s Innovation Review about Corporate Social Marketing?

A Social Shout-out

Not only are good news items coming up, but I’ve also expanded my RSS reader with some blogs I encourage you to get to know:

Social Herder: If you don’t know Will Robinson, you might want to. Will writes on all things social entrepreneurship, non-profits and general do-goodery. You can catch Will at his blog, on Twitter, or at his current gig with Ogilvy PR.

Justice for All: If you are interested in a mash-up of human rights, social enterprise, democracy and law, then you’ll appreciate the enthusiasm of Northwestern senior Akhila Koliset. Not only do I share an interest in advocating human rights with Akhila, but I continue to be inspired by her passion and the voice with which she writes. You can tell she loves to be inspired as much as she is inspiring–just check out her reading list!

What We Give: You’ve probably heard of this one, but if not, you should. Larry Blumenthal is the director of social media strategy at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and adds much value back to the marketplace through both his blog and on his Twitter stream where he talks about how social media is changing philanthropy.

What about you? Any newly discovered blogs or colleagues you’d like to give a social shout-out to?

PS: Often, these “nuggets” are shared sooner through my Twitter account. If you’re on Twitter, let’s connect @socialbttrfly.

Making Behavior Fun, Popular and Easy

If you know social marketing extraordinaire Nancy Lee, then you have heard this saying. Recently, on the social marketing listserv, some dialogue has been shared in response to Nancy Lee and Philip Kotler’s article in Stanford’s Innovation Review titled “Best of Breed,” which looks at corporate social marketing. This could be its own post, but alas, I want to focus on the message of being fun, popular and easy.

Why? Because whether it’s social marketing or corporate social marketing, you are still working to effectively change or influence behavior for good–and an effective way to do so is making your desired behavior fun, popular and easy–which is exactly what started bubbling through on the social marketing list serv as others started sharing some of their favorite fun, popular and easy social marketing initiatives. Enjoy–and when you find yourself running around ragged, ask yourself: Is anyone having fun? Is this easy for people? and go from there.

The Piano Staircase

To encourage passerbyers to take the stairs rather then the escalator (and thus promote physical activity), this group turned the stairs into a piano–whenever you stepped on a stair a different sound would echo–in effect, making taking stairs more exciting than an everyday escalator. I can’t find the source, but it apparently had a 60% success rate. Who’s behind it? Volkswagon. Apparently, Volkswagon has been trying out some experimental marketing based around “The Fun Theory” to see if they could create desired behaviors if the action was made fun. You can read more about the piano staircase and other initiatives such as the recycling arcade and more at

The Pink Glove Dance

You may have seen this one already, as it’s been circling the blogosphere for a while. But, it’s an example of everyday people–hospital employees–finding a way to make their job fun while communicating a message–that you aren’t alone when taking steps to prevent breast cancer, like getting a mammogram.

Musical Hand Sanitizer

Aas part of Volkswagon’s initiative, they are hosting an awards program on the best “fun” applications for healthy and good behaviors. One entry was a University who had installed hand sanitizers to prevent the spread of germs during the flu season. They found few students using them. Thus, they adopted the fun theory and installed some sounds. Each time someone went for hand sanitizer, a funny noise was created. Results? With the sounds included, students were seven times more likely to use the germ-reducing resource.

Pedestrian TV Traffic Light

In this example, you get some free entertainment while waiting to cross the street. Instead of staring at a red outline of a person wishing it to change with your desired mind control, this traffic light shows TV clips–vidoes from YouTube, funny clips from TV shows, etc. This way, the hope is that you’ll actually wait until it’s safe to cross the street.

Make Your Watermark

Design you own bottle at the vending machine. Granted, I know bottles and paint on bottles isn’t good for the environment. But if you can’t quite get that change initiated, then check out what this group did. To encourage people to buy water over sugary pop or juices form the vending machine, they enabled it so people can design their own water bottle from the vending machine at the point-of-purchase. Now that’s easy, and fun!

Fun, Popular and Easy…Online?

More examples are found on the Web site mentioned earlier, and I have to admit–it’s fun just looking through them. But, my mind started going: How can you make your online and social media communications fun, popular and easy to help you achieve your behavior change mission? Now, that’s a weighty question. Then, I started thinking about what is it in a Web or social media behavior change initiative that makes it fun, popular and easy:

  • FUN: Community-based, drive accountability of others through accountability, collaborative in nature
  • Example: Certain online communities help training for a 5k easier by focusing on accountability or making the desired behavior fun by making it social. Other communities, such as the Sister to Sister Foundation’s online community focusing on healthy behaviors for heart health amongst women. These type of communities make healthy behaviors fun by creating accountabilty and making the behavior social.
  • POPULAR: Driven by influencers and respected peers in the community or content area the desired behavior resides.
  • Example: video-storytelling. encouraged state officials to create their video on why its important to get tested for HIV. Another example? HHS’ flu PSA contest. Not only was this driven and announced by the HHS Secretary herself, but it was also supported and promoted by all of HHS’ agencies. And it’s winner–come on, who’s more popular than a rapping doctor?
  • EASY: This may be the most important when it comes to the online arena. Because, for people to use the technology combined with the messages, etc., the technology must first work. It must incorporate usability best practices, be accessible and depending on your audience, address literacy issues, including technology literacy. You technology could be great, but if it’s too complicated and no one uses it, it’s just techology.
  • Example: Most recently, hosted the “Face AIDS” campaign asking people to join in. The effort involved a few steps, but made it easy and fun by creating a collective flickr account to display all the images. Here’s a thought: Some social media is easy to adopt. one click and your a fan, one click and you are a follower. One click, and you’ve downloaded a healthy recipe book. One click and you have a mobile app to track your physical fitness. How can your organization leverage these easy tools for behavior change?

What about you? What are some of your favorite fun, popular and easy social marketing efforts? Any of those take place online?

Four Phases of Online Social Change

red heartYou may agree or disagree with me on this, so I encourage your thoughts as I’m transcribing some of my own observations into the online social change field. These observations boil down to four “phases” of online social change that I think reflect our maturity into using social media tools to meet our organization’s aims:

  1. Awareness Building
  2. Fundraising
  3. Contests and Competitions for Change
  4. Advocacy

In the beginning, I feel many tools were leveraged as awareness-building mechanisms. From the initial launch of Causes to recruiting fans, followers and friends, many tools were initially set out to further awareness-building of an organization.

Then, I felt like the tools and our use of them matured as we discovered ways to leverage the tools into dollars–from Twestival to Tweetsgiving to Goodsearch. Even Causes adapted and identified birthdays as a way to increase micro-donations. You could say that online fundraising in and of itself has seen a phased formation and continues to evolve. See Beth’s Kanter’s recent post: 5 Social Media Fundraising Trends for 2009.

Then, enter the behemoths–contests and competitions like “America’s Giving Challenge,” hosted by the Case Foundation entered in the next rendition. You could say this ties into a more advanced type of fundraising, but I felt like it deserved to be on its own. As, I don’t yet think this area has been “tapped out” and neither do organizations according to Andre Blackman who interviewed the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation who uses contests and competitions to further public health innovation.

However, where I feel we are still in our infancy is with online advocacy for social change. It’s starting to creep up–just look at LiveEarth’s 2009 campaign “Love, the Climate” where people were encouraged to write love letters to office holders who worked to prevent climate change or the “Be a Voice for Darfur” movement which utilized activist and blogger toolkits to further realize the campaign’s objectives. Even provided a way for people to create and spread petitions with a call to action via Twitter.

Like I said, I think advocacy is where we have the most potential to further expand. I could be biased based on my government and citizen engagement day-job type of work–but I think there’s more ways we can get involved, as citizens, in decision making and peace keeping in our local, state and Federal governments–even internationally. What about you? Where do you think we have the most room to grow and what do you predict as being phase 5? Perhaps, partnerships and collaborations might be a phase five as we see how online and social media open up new doors of opportunity across organization firewalls. Or, another phase 5 might be storytelling–as more of these functions become interwoven and organizations get better at telling their story.

What do you think?

flickr credit: flatfield

How a “Place” Strategy Can Change the World: Meet ColaLife

Not too long ago, we talked about the importance of social products as part of the marketing mix. For review, the marketing mix is made up of the four p’s: product, price, promotion, and place. In the world of social marketing and social change initiatives, the “promotion p” has been stealing the spotlight for quite a while. This is why I want to highlight this amazingly wonderful place social marketing strategy–Meet ColaLife.

ColaLife, is a non-profit that is lobbying Coca-Cola to leverage its worldwide distribution channels to provide social products that help sustain life and improve public health. How exactly? –With some creative packaging in the form of “Aidpods.” With the help of these aidpods, Cola Life hopes to help achieve the following three goals:

  1. Reduce child mortality in developing countries (= UN Millennium Development Goal #4)
  2. Improve maternal health (= UN Millennium Development Goal #5)
  3. Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases (= UN Millennium Development Goal #6)

You can read more about the organization’s aims and objectives, but overall, I think the idea is brilliant. At just about any public health conference I’ve been to, someone always references Coca-Cola as having the classic place (distribution) marketing strategy. Now, that same strategy can actually be leveraged to make a difference. There’s just one hitch…

Coca-Cola, or a similar corporate organization, has to sign on first. ColaLife has already had a successful trial of the program in Tanzania, and currently it’s focusing on spreading awareness of the project and gaining influence by talking with stakeholders and reviewing the strategy and overall plan. If interested, here’s five ways we can help:

  1. Follow @colalife on Twitter.
  2. Become a fan of the initiative on Facebook.
  3. Create your own aidpod.
  4. Watch the potential of this project by viewing ColaLife’s online videos.
  5. Donate.

Take away: This is one example of using a place strategy to do social marketing and in effect, create social change for the better. Thought: What distribution channels currently exist in your community that can be leveraged for social good?