From volunteer openings to monitoring your member of Congress
By Vivian Ramirez
We often think of social media tools and apps as a way to connect the global village. But they’re also a great way to interact with supporters, volunteers and donors at the community level.
Social media tools are particularly useful for nonprofits looking to create easy access and sharing among peers and local networks. This roundup is intended to showcase tools and apps that can help spread awareness at the local level, including volunteer opportunities (ultimately, all volunteering is local), civic engagement and collaborating with neighborhood tweeps.
All for Good Gadget: Find local volunteer activities
1All for Good Gadget is an application that allows you to browse and share volunteer activities in your local area as well as across the globe through your iGoogle page, webpage, Gmail, Blogger, TypePad blog, WordPress blog or Google site. Socialbrite uses All for Good as a widget in the right sidebar — just type in your zip code to find local places where you can volunteer.
CitySourced: Empowering citizens to report civic issues
2CitySourced (image at top) is a free, simple, intuitive real-time mobile tool for civic engagement that empowers citizens to take action on local civic issues (graffiti, trash, potholes, etc.) by reporting them to the city government. Through CitySourced, we can help our local government save money, improve accountability to their constituents and take timely action on local issues. (Note: Not all local governments take part!)
SeeClickFix: More than just a place to vent
3The SeeClickFix Widget and Mobile are tools that help communities and residents become better citizens by taking care of and improving their neighborhoods by providing information that will allow local government to track local issues. All issues are published on the front page of the site. For those interested in gathering statistics on issues, SeeClickFix has an advanced search feature that provides this info.
SnapImpact: Making doing good easy
4SnapImpact is an iPhone app, a Facebook app and a WordPress plug-in that allows you to discover places to volunteer within or nearby your location. It makes it easy for nonprofits to recruit volunteers and discover other opportunities for improvement within the local community.
CivicEvolution: Solving problems methodologically
5CivicEvolution is an online public utility that goes beyond the typical inform-and-listen model of consultation. It helps citizens influence their communities by collaboratively developing proposals to solve problems. Through a structured dialogue process, CivicEvolution leads participants through the problem-solving process of defining, brainstorming, deliberating, analyzing and creating defined recommendations.
Social Friends: Find neighbors interested in the same local issues
6Social Friends is a Twitter mashup that enables you to find people from your local area on Twitter who have referred to social actions and have actively participated in certain causes in your given area.
Community Tool Box: Taking action together to change conditions
7Community Tool Box – Workstations are customized, user-friendly online platforms that support the work of local, national and global initiatives by providing quick access to the latest announcements, online tools, shared documents, success stories, discussion forums, chat rooms and more. They enable groups to do effective collaborative work by providing a shared space for online discussions and posting relevant documents and resources.
BeyondtheBite: Act on your Congressman’s record
8Ever wonder if your member of Congress is acting on your behalf? BeyondtheBite is a political mashup that provides briefings about what your Congressman is doing and saying. It gives you and your organization up-to-date information backed by evidence, context and analysis, making it easier for you to act on it responsibly.
ConnectNetwork: Connecting people to ideas, information & each other
9ConnectNetwork is a community knowledge network where citizens, nonprofits, governments and businesses converge. It targets change at the local level by building stronger, healthier and more civic-engaged communities that foster region-wide, issue-specific social networks. At ConnectNetwork every citizen has a voice and a say in shaping their communities.
Meetup: Do, learn, share, change something
10Meetup is one of the largest online social networking portal that facilitates offline group meetings in cities around the world. It was built with the objective of revitalizing local communities and helping people self-organize to encourage change through community work. Meetup allows members to find and join groups through common interests. Each day more than 2,000 groups get together in local communities with the goal of taking action and improving themselves or their communities.
Nation of Neighbors: Online neighborhood watch
11Nation of Neighbors is an online network that facilitates real-time collaboration within communities and between community members and law enforcement. Its mission is to enable citizens and law enforcement to work together to fight and deter crime and improve local communities. It allows neighborhood members to alert other members within the same alert criteria of crime alerts through online reporting or through text messaging.
12GovTrack gathers the status of legislation, voting records and other congressional information from official government sites and then uses new technologies to make the information more accessible to the public. It lets users follow the status of legislation through feeds, maps and other technologies and it powers the legislation database of sites such as OpenCongress.org and MAPLight.org.
Related Classroom Projects: Helping our teachers make better students
13Related Classroom Projects is a WordPress plug-in that allows you to share relevant classroom projects from DonorsChoose.org on the bottom of your blog posts. It makes it possible for you to help teachers in your local area fund classroom projects that will help their students learn and succeed.
Volunteer Connect: Making volunteering easy
14Volunteer Connect is social network application in Facebook that allows you to find volunteer opportunities in your area. With its extensive calendar of activities, this app lets you choose when, where and how you want to volunteer, saving you time that you can spend to really make a difference!
15FixMyStreet is a site that lets people living in Great Britain to report, view or discuss local problems to their local council by locating them on a map. Just enter a postcode or location to see problems already reported in the area or report new ones. There is also a FixMyStreet iPhone app available for download in the iTunes App Store as well as an Android app.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.