June 29, 2009

NPtech + causes + open source + social media

JD LasicaAs part of our silo-busting effort at Socialbrite, we’ll be showcasing cool technologies that haven’t received enough attention in the nonprofit and social change worlds. So here’s a one-minute video, announcing the launch of Socialbrite, that I created last night on Animoto:

Introducing Socialbrite.org. Nonprofit tech + Causes + Open source + Social media.

We’re using it at the top of our Media Center.

Check out Animoto: They’re doing amazing things with a very small staff. You can try out a few remixes for free, and choose from music and images on their site; after that, it’s 3 bucks a video or $30 a year.

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May 28, 2009

Change.org: Turning concern into action

Change.org: Helping you take action online from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaOne of the most impressive and influential sites in the causes space, Change.org, has really come into its own in the past six to eight months. The social enterprise is helping raise awareness about important social causes and empowering people to take action, chiefly through the efforts of leading nonprofits.

Here’s an interview I conduced with Ben Rattray, founder and CEO of Change.org, after a meetup at TechSoup’s offices in San Francisco. Ben describes the organization this way: “We’re an online community and media network for social issues, focused on engaging and informing people about the most important issues of our time — global warming, homelessness, fair trade — and compelling them to take action.”

Actions might range from joining an organization and making a personal pledge to signing an online petition or calling a congressperson’s office about an issue. “This is one of the things we’re most interested in innovating on and partnering with other organizations on — finding the most powerful actions possible for people to advance issues they care about.”

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May 16, 2009

Sloane Berrent on the cause-filled life

The cause-filled life from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaSloane Berrent, who publishes TheCausemopolitan and blogs at LAist and GirlsinTech.net, talks about causes and building community in this 3 1/2-minute video interview. I caught up with her a few minutes after the LA tech scene session she co-moderated at South by Southwest 2009 in Austin; the session drew about 120 people.

Sloane, who practices what she preaches, is heading to the Philippines as a @kiva fellow for 12 weeks. She’ll be at the Kiva fellows social Wednesday at 6:30 pm in San Francisco. She’s already a good way toward raising the $7,500 she needs for air fare, vaccinations, work vise, lodging, transportation and daily living costs — you can support her here.

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May 10, 2009

Global Hug Tour

Global Hug Tour from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaI love stories like this. In Chicago last weekend I met Gail Lynne Goodwin of Inspire Me Today, who told the Business School for Bloggers gathering about her new project: the Global Hug Tour.

Gail and her husband Darryl — an ordinary couple from Boulder, Colo. — were sitting around one day and decided to make a difference in people’s lives around the world by launching an event that combines good vibes and charitable giving with the power of social media.

This fall they’ll be boarding a small prop prop plane, flying it more than 31,000 miles and visiting 50 cities around the world over five months. They’ll do three things in each location:

• Gather inspiration from local luminaries to share on Inspiremetoday.com.

• Give 2,000 hugs in each of those locations, “literally wrapping the world in more than 100,000 hugs,” Gail says.

• Give away more than $1 million to nonprofit causes in each of those 50 locations. The causes run the gamut from breast cancer and AIDS prevention and treatment to grizzly bear preservation.

Now, here’s where you — and the power of social media — come in: Starting May 11, they’ll begin raising $1 million (it could go higher) on the Globalhugtour.com site. Remarkably, the causes will be funded in $10 increments through the use of through social media, Twitter and other outreach tools.

“One hug in Chicago will feed three homeless people. Two hugs in Cambodia will pay the entire cost of educating a child for a year. 100 hugs in Chani, India, will pay the entire cost of open heart surgery for a child,” she says. “Just in Chani city there are 53,000 kids on a waiting list. It’s a crime to me to think that it only costs $1,000 to save a life. So that’s why we’re doing this.”

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April 30, 2009

Tim Ferriss’ method of supporting causes

tim-ferriss

JD LasicaTim Ferriss, author of the best-seller The Four-Hour Work Week, appeared today via uStream at the Inbound Marketing Summit during the session “How to Create a Worldwide Social Media Phenomenon.”

He took questions from the audience, and I asked how he decides which causes to support.

It wasn’t an idle question. Ferriss has become a remarkably adept advocate for philanthropic causes in a startlingly short time. He has successfully made use of social media tools to raise thousands of dollars to build schools in Vietnam, libraries in Nepal and India, and most recently, to help thousands of classrooms in the U.S. obtain basic classroom supplies. (Source: WalletPop)

Tim singled out three organizations and initiatives as exemplars of philanthropy in the age of Web 2.0:

Donorschoose.org, the remarkable organization founded by Charles Best (I did a video interview with him Monday and hope to post it soon). Ferriss, who sits on the organization’s board, said the ability for users to select the specific educational causes they support and to receive tangible feedback are key drivers of its success.

roomtoread1Roomtoread is a global organization that has established more than 7,000 libraries in the developing world since 2000.

Charity: water, the nonprofit that was the beneficiary of the Twestival event in 205 cities, is representative of a new breed of charitable organizations, he said. Some of these groups have smartly begun to set up an administrative structure in which 100 percent of donated funds go directly to the cause, with a separate fund, generated through other means (such as a small add-on to support the group’s operations), paying for administration.

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April 22, 2009

Carbon footprints, nation by nation

Breathing Earth

kiwanjaJust in time for Earth Day: the site Breathing Earth, which is described as a “real-time simulation which displays CO2 emissions from every country in the world, as well as their birth and death rates.” The data used comes from reputable sources, although the site admits that a simulation on this scale can never be 100% accurate. Worryingly, they note that the CO2 emission levels shown are much more likely to be too low than too high. Yikes.

This is a fascinating site, and one which throws up numbers on a scale large enough to scare the best of us. Since I started writing this brief blog post, for example, the world population has risen by over 2,000 and total CO2 emissions have exceeded an incredible 760,000 tons. The United States alone was responsible for approximately 175,000 of that.

If you ever need reminding of the relentless march of global population growth, and the increasing impact that our growing numbers are having on the planet, there can’t be many sites better than this.

This entry originally appeared at Kiwanja.net.