December 6, 2010

VolunteerSpot: Tips to spur offline actions

JD LasicaI‘ve been impressed every time I’ve stopped by VolunteerSpot, a tool that makes it easy for anyone to coordinate and organize volunteers.

At BlogWorld Expo, I got to chat with founder Karen Bantuveris shortly after she appeared on a panel about fueling real world action through social media.

“Just by making it easier to volunteer,” she says, “we find that 20 percent more people show up to volunteer, and what we call the flake rate — people who don’t show up — drops to almost nothing, because we give them reminders and we give them a chance to change their commitments.”

Watch, embed or download the video on Vimeo

Steps to spur offline actions

How can nonprofits and cause organizations spur supporters to take real-world actions, whether it’s a fundraising action or volunteer action? Other participants in the BlogWorld session tackling the topic were Jessica Kirkwood, VP of Social Media, HandsOn Network, Kerala Taylor of KaBOOM and Robert Wolfe of Crowdrise.

Karen offered some quick tips:

1. Ask people to make small, specific commitments. “So instead of asking in a broad way, say, ‘Can you help me Friday at 2 pm clean up the lot on the corner?'”

2. Next, move those smaller actions toward generating a larger goal, like building a playground.

3. Start with your immediate social networks that contain people — friends and family members who are already engaged — and then solicit those communities to engage their friends.

4. Use social media to publicly thank the people who are supporting you and your cause.

At the Hands On blog, Jessica has some additional ideas:

• Make a personal appeal.

• Tell a compelling story.

• Make folks feel part of something larger than themselves.

• and several other suggestions.

The Real World Action Challenge, by the four panelists, is a great game to use for social media training

VolunteerSpot is one of the nonprofits profiled on our Cause organizations page.

A production note: My Panasonic HD camcorder went absolutely haywire with the auto white balance halfway through the interview, and I couldn’t figure out how to solve it, so tried my best in Final Cut Pro post-production.

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November 15, 2010

Twitter as a force for social good

How Twitter helps the social good from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaMost nonprofits and cause organizations look at Twitter as a key ingredient of their social media strategy. But Twitter offers a number of other opportunities for collaboration to advance the social good — many of which you may not know about.

Claire Williams Diaz-Ortiz, who heads up Corporate Social Innovation & Philanthropy at Twitter (and who just got married), has long been a member of Socialbrite’s Do Gooders List, so I was jazzed to sit down with her last month at BlogWorld Expo in Las Vegas.

Watch, embed or download the video on Vimeo

Some highlights from our chat:

• Twitter’s main hub for social good efforts is At the site, people can learn about causes to follow on Twitter and organizations can learn how to use Twitter more effectively. Current campaigns focus on literacy, Haiti relief and malaria prevention.

Cause marketing is part of Twitter’s philanthropic strategy. When Twitter launched its Promoted Products platform earlier this year, it started with six businesses and two nonprofits (“tweets for good“). “Every month we give a month’s worth of free promoted tweets for a nonprofit,” she says.

• Twitter works closely with Room to Read, a nonprofit that partners with local communities throughout the developing world to establish libraries, create local language children’s literature and improving children’s reading skills with an emphasis on educating girls. Twitter has conducted an International Literacy Day promotion and a couple of fund-raising campaigns for them, Claire says.

• Claire, an avid runner, also is co-founder of HopeRuns — check it out — and she blogs at (see her latest: What are the roots of happiness?).

• At BlogWorld, Claire spelled out some tactics on how nonprofits can excel at Twitter, namely, T.W.E.E.T. — that is, target, write, engage, explore and track.

If your nonprofit has a particularly worthy social cause, get in contact with Claire and see how Twitter might be able to get your message out to tens of millions of users.

October 27, 2010

Tips on how to mobilize your supporters

George Weiner
George Weiner, CTO of DoSomething, during our panel

JD LasicaWhen you moderate a panel at BlogWorld Expo, ironically, sometimes you’re the last person to blog about it.

Such is the case with the Oct. 16 “Mobilizing your social network” panel with this all-star lineup: Andres Glusman of, Justin Perkins of Care2, George Weiner of DoSomething and Giselle Diaz Campagna of Free Speech TV. There were some valuable resources mentioned, so I’ll try to assemble them here into a neat package.

• JD Lasica (that’s me) offered a one-stop shop for resources on how nonprofits and cause organizations can use social tools: — a landing page that aggregates resources on social networking tutorials, handouts, top fund-raising tools and much more. This includes the short presentation I gave during the panel on steps to mobilize your supporters. Also, download this free flyer on 12 steps to mobilize your cause:

• Andres Glusman of (8 million members) offered a powerful presentation that went beyond showing off the organization’s cool Meetup Everywhere feature — a way for you to mobilize your constituency. “Recognize people who are active on your behalf,” Andres urged the crowd. “Create a regular routine that can be annual, quarterly or monthly. Build a routine that people can set their watch to, to build up momentum around an organization.”

See Meetup Everywhere on Tumblr for best practices and examples.

A Mashable meetup in Greece.

• Justin Perkins offered this frogloop article about cutting-edge integrated social media strategies and multi-channel social network campaigns. (By the way, Care2 is up to 14 million members now and still growing like gangbusters.)

• Justin cited the campaign Care2 did for climate change advocates 1Sky. They recruited an email list of 10,000 people, used data mining to determine which Facebook and Twitter users would be most the most active and created a funnel that let to five or six precinct captains who canvased door to door and organizing house meetings on behalf of a campaign. I may have gotten a detail or two wrong but the overall point was that organizations should take steps to move from online action to offline activity.

• Justin also pointed to this article on how to bring social network avatars to life and an essay on how slacktivism is a misnomer.

Giselle Diaz Campagna offered to work with nonprofits interested in having their stories told through video on the site and DirecTV Channel 348 and Dish Network Channel 9415. Don’t step away from controversy, she advised. “We loved it when Glenn Beck did a piece on us,” she said.

George Weiner gave a passionate presentation that showed how social media and video could be used as part of an educational campaign to curtail violence against teen girls and young women. One out of three teens will be abused online. If your nonprofit has any programs for young people, you should collaborate with DoSomething.

• Several of the audience members were with political organizations rather than nonprofits, such as two representatives of evoiceamerica, which makes it easy to email your elected reps.

• Justin also pointed to this resource of 17 nonprofit benchmark studies.

Other highlights from BlogWorld’s nonprofit track

I was darting in and out of sessions during BlogWorld — juggling interviews I was giving, interviews I was conducting and networking in the hallway — but managed to capture a few other highlights:

• Learned more about mobile fundraising service Mobilecause from its CEO, Douglas Plank.

70% of all US households donated to a nonprofit last year, totaling $227 billion.

• According to Douglas: 70% of all US households donated to a nonprofit last year, totaling $227 billion given by individuals. 7% of the US gross domestic product comes through the nonprofit sector. 8% of Americans work in the nonprofit sector.

Mark Horvath of led a great discussion-in-the-round. Snippets: He recommends YouTube for video hosting because of its nonprofit program, while others said nonprofits should use Vimeo because the site supports Creative Commons licenses and lets you actually download the damn video. (In either case, read their Terms of Use.)

• Horvath said YouTube turned over some of its front page programming to the subject of homelessness one day this year, and fully one quarter of the views came from mobile devices.

• One participant recounted the funny story of trying to live-stream the CTO of the federal government from his Washington, DC offices. “Live streaming from a government office? One of the most difficult things in the world to accomplish.”

• Quote of the conference came from Mark Horvath, talking about importance of audio in any video. “I was once told by an audio guy, ‘Without us you’re just surveillance.’ I will go with audio over video.” Excellent! Continue reading

October 13, 2010

BlogWorld Expo: Mobilize your social network

JD LasicaCan individuals and organizations mobilize their online social networks to advance the social good and create meaningful change?

In his Oct. 4 article in the New Yorker, author Malcolm Gladwell argues no. The revolution will not be tweeted, he says. “We seem to have forgotten what activism is. … The kind of activism associated with social media isn’t [deep] at all. The platforms of social media are built around weak ties.”

I’ll be moderating a panel at BlogWorld Expo on Saturday in the nonprofit track that addresses just this topic. I plan to open with a 5-minute presentation, above, that looks at a few examples of how organizations and nonprofits have used social media to bring about significant change. And I lay out 5 steps to mobilize your cause. Session details:

Mobilizing Your Social Network

Where: Las Vegas Convention Center, Mariners B11, South Pacific Ballroom

When: 11 am Oct. 16, 2010 (Saturday)


• Andres Glusman, Vice President Strategy & Community,
• Giselle Diaz Campagna, Development Director, Free Speech TV
• Justin Perkins, Director of Nonprofit Strategy, Care2
• George Weiner, CTO, Do Something

Moderator: JD Lasica, founder, Socialbrite

Hope to see you there. If you can’t make it, follow the #bwe10 and #bwe10mob hashtags. Continue reading