August 30, 2009

UniversalGiving: Tailoring an impact just for you

universalgiving

Amy Sample Ward“First, we’re strictly nonprofit.” That’s how UniversalGiving begins when describing its work. What it should really say is, “We may be nonprofit, but we are not non-impact.”

Why? UniversalGiving is making great impact on communities around the world, both in the work, funds and volunteer efforts contributed to individuals and groups via their platform, but also in effectively and passionately empowering donors and volunteers to contribute. Additionally, UniversalGiving is a member of Social Actions, ensuring that their opportunities to make a difference are heard and seen in even more places around the Web.

What is UniversalGiving?

UniversalGiving is “an award-winning marketplace which allows people to volunteer and donate to top performing projects in more than 70 countries around the world.”

It’s a marketplace, really, of opportunities to take actions for social benefit in various topics you may be after. Want to donate money and leave it at that? Would you rather connect with a group or individual in need halfway around the world? Maybe you want to join forces for a longer-term project for real impact. People simply choose a country of interest (such as China or Thailand) and an area of interest (such as education or the environment) and find a list of vetted opportunities to which they can donate money or give their time. Continue reading

August 30, 2009

At the Summer of Social Good conference

summerofsocialgood

Beth KanterI was honored to speak on Friday at the Summer of Social Good conference hosted by Mashable, a popular social media and technology blog and a big geek favorite. This was the culmination of the summerlong initiative to help raise money for four charities, Humane Society of the United States, World Wildlife Fund, Oxfam, and LIVESTRONG.

The event was hosted by the amazing Shira Lazar, who hosts Mahalo’s This Week In YouTube and is the editor-at-large for Conde Nast’s Jaunted.com travel blog from around the globe. She’s also the founder of The Society For Geek Advancement, which aims to bring together geek culture for social good.

The most dramatic moment of the conference had nothing to do with charity fund-raising.  It was the surprise marriage proposal on the stage from Mashable’s COO Adam Hirsch to Managing Editor Sharon Feder (she said yes)! (You can read more about that here). And while Pete Cashmore announced that he would be doing a charity event in September around his 24th birthday, I’m wondering what charity wedding registry Sharon and Adam will register with? (Kiva?) Continue reading

August 27, 2009

How to add a Facebook Page Fanbox to your site

These easy-to-create widgets are a breeze to customize

wwf
John HaydonThe Facebook Page Fanbox is a social widget that converts casual website visitors into fans of your Facebook Page. The Fanbox does this with three key features:

• Streams content from your Facebook Page onto your website.

• Displays your current fans.

• Enables visitors to “become a fan” of your Facebook Page with one mouse click.

Embedding this widget on your website or blog is an absolute must — for any social media strategy. Plus, it’s very easy to create!
Continue reading

August 26, 2009

How to make your website more accessible

Enhancing website accessibility from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaA few weeks back, at SOBCon busniess school for bloggers in Chicago, I met Glenda Watson Hyatt, a remarkable trainer and conference speaker who gave a presentation on how to make websites and blogs more accessible to the disabled. Glenda, who has cerebral palsy, deals with computer accessibility issues on a daily basis. I wrote about her advice on Socialbrite: 7 tips for communicating with people with disabilities.

After Glenda’s talk and one by Lorelle VanFossen, author of “Blogging Tips” — Lorelle has occasional memory lapses because of traumatic brain injury — I captured some of their advice regarding how to make sure your website or blog accessible to disabled people.

Lorelle says that fully 60 percent of all sites on the Web are not accessible to the disabled — so pay attention, yours may be one. They discuss specific steps website operators and bloggers can take to make their sites and blogs accessible, including adding simple things like alt tags, captions and underlined links.

Tips to make your site more accessible to disabled users

• Include “alt” tags (alternative descriptions) and title tags in all images and videos.

• Make your links look like links. Use colors that distinguish them from regular text and use an underline to set them apart.

• Make your body text legible. The 0.8em default on some blog platforms is just too small for millions of readers out there. Usability should be your paramount concern — not all your readers are under 30!

• Also, make sure your stylesheet permits variable font sizes. If you’re using a fixed font, older browsers don’t let users adjust text size. (In Firefox and IE, you can hit command + or – to increase or decrease the size of the text on screen.)

• Give your photos captions, so the vision-impaired can know what they’re looking at. Continue reading

August 24, 2009

Mokugift: Plant a tree for $1 to fight global warming

By Katrina Heppler, envisionGOOD.tv
and JD Lasica, Socialbrite

Last week, guests at the Digital Summer event in San Francisco “planted” 940 trees in Honduras with the help of partner Mokugift. Co-founder Hans Chung (whom we met at two previous awareness2action events) was in attendance, showing off on his laptop the site’s global reach: You can plant trees in Central America, Africa, Asia — countries such as Belize, Haiti, Nicaragua, India, Cameroon, Ethiopia — for a donation of just $1 per tree. Since the site’s launch, more than 75,000 trees have been planted.

treestandWe have a long way to go: Through its Billion Tree Campaign, the United Nations Environment Programme is calling on citizens globally to plant 7 billion trees. That’s one tree per person. As the site says, “Ordinary people can fight global warming.”

UNEP has partnered with Mokugift to make it easy for everyone to plant a tree. You can help spread the word through social media, including embeddable widgets like the one below. Mokugift tracks how your inspiration spreads from one friend to another friend, and to subsequent friends (3 degrees). You can see the total number of people you inspired and the total number of trees planted by them. For every 10 trees planted by people inspired by you (all 3 degrees), you will get a free tree.

As the site points out, “Sharing the inspiration with your friends is as important as planting a tree yourself.”

Katrina recently caught up with Hans at a cafe in San Francisco’s Union Square. In the video above, hear what Hans has to say about Mokugift and the UN program.

Remember, it costs only $1!


Plant a Tree

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August 23, 2009

How to design a valid research survey

survey

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, NGOs, foundations, businesses

Nora G. Barnes

Nora G. Barnes

JD LasicaIs your organization planning to conduct a survey of your membership or a key constituency? Make sure you do it right.

Nora G. Barnes, Ph.D., professor of marketing at the University of Massachusetts and director of its Center for Marketing Research, offered a presentation today at the Society for New Communications Research about how to properly craft a valid research survey.

Nora has designed scores of major surveys, most recently the First Longitudinal Study of Social Media Usage by the Largest US Charities and The Fortune 500 and Blogging: Slow and Steady.

Your survey can be conducted by mail questionnaire, personal interview, “mall intercept,” telephone interview or electronic (online). You should stick to one chief methodology (say, telephone) and then supplement it with another if you wish (say, offer to send the questions by email). Mail questionnaires tend to have a low response rate (less than 5 percent) while she has been getting a 20 to 25 percent response rate using online polling. Providing incentives, such as the chance to win an iPod or Wii, often increases the response rate and thus increases the survey’s validity.

Tips for composing survey questions

  • Keep it clear and concise.
  • No double-barreled questions (keep each question focused on one thing
  • No overlapping categories
  • No vague or ambiguus questions
  • Continue reading