May 23, 2012

10 top tools for cause campaigns

A visualization from

Target audience: Cause organizations, NGOs, nonprofits, foundations, social enterprises, political reformers, educators, journalists, general public.

JD LasicaOver the past three years, as regular readers know, Socialbrite has put together dozens of guides and compilations of resources and tools for social change advocates. See the bottom of this article for a few, and our Sharing Center is all about social tools for social change.

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To celebrate Internet at Liberty, a conference on protecting protecting freedom of expression on the Internet that Google is organizing in Washington, D.C., this week — and where Socialbrite is running the social media workshops — we’re launching a new section today:

The Social Advocacy Toolkit features new and updated informational guides, tool roundups and resources for global activists, social good advocates, political reformers, NGOs and anyone looking to use online tools for social change. It includes tactics for effective campaigns, guides to the best monitoring and metrics tools (many of them free), lists of enabling platforms and organizations and other resources to help galvanize your campaign.

Below is a new guide that we’ve put together to help social change activists with their advocacy efforts, which we’re adding to the toolkit. Check out the Social Advocacy Toolkit for much more.

10 tools for activists & social change advocates

Asana: A leap ahead for productive teamwork

1Asana is a work-collaboration software suite that came out of beta in April 2012. “We built this company to change the world,” said founder Dustin Moskovitz, one of the co-founders of Facebook. Asana offers a simple, word processor-like interface to give people working together on a task a central place to discuss the project, share files and keep track of to-dos in real time. It’s free for teams of fewer than 30 users.

Alternatives: Yammer, Microsoft Sharepoint (for larger enterprises) and see our Collaboration roundup

PopVox: Advocate your cause in Congress

2You might remember our recent article on PopVox, an online service that individuals and grassroots organizations can use to lobby members of Congress on behalf of a cause. CEO Marci Harris founded the nonpartisan service based on her knowledge of how Congressional staffers interact with the public. For a cause to be effective, it has to be made concrete on behalf of or against a specific bill. PopVox helps you do that.

Geo-bombing with Google Earth

3I was blown away when I saw Tunisian activists from the collective blog (The Core) link video testimonies of Tunisian political prisoners and human rights defenders to the Tunisian presidential palace’s location on Google Earth. Now, as you fly over the Tunisian presidential palace using a Google Earth KML file, you will see it covered with videos about human rights abuses that strongman Ben Ali tried to prevent Tunisian citizens from watching by blocking YouTube and DailyMotion. Visit for more examples. We’d like to see more organizations to take up “geo-bombing.” Continue reading

June 30, 2010

A mobile platform for human rights

Handheld human rights from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

Co-director of Digital Democracy spells out how new platform can skirt government censorship

JD LasicaOne of the organizations I’ve been admiring from afar over the past year is Digital Democracy, which works with local partners to put information into the hands of people who need it most – those neglected, disenfranchised or abused by their rulers. The group employs education, communication and participation to empower citizens to build and shape their own communities.

Myanmar crisis mapIn this interview conducted last year, co-director Emily Jacobi (@emjacobi on Twitter) discusses Handheld Human Rights, a platform, project and website that makes human rights data accessible and actionable. Designed in concert with Burmese human rights organizations, Handheld Human Rights enables people there to communicate securely within their networks and to map crisis hotspots so that the international community can see the human rights violations taking place inside Myanmar.

The tool enables human rights workers to collect eyewitness accounts of killings, forced labor, rape as a tool of war and other brutalities and relay them to the outside world by skirting media censorship from Myanmar’s autocratic military junta. And it is slowly being adopted in other troubled places, like Thailand.

Watch, embed or download the video on Vimeo
Watch or embed on YouTube

It’s a wonderful example of how activists can use media and data to drive home a powerful message. Contact Digital Democracy directly if you’d like to use Handheld Human Rights. Continue reading