August 16, 2009

Twestival and how to prevent cause fatigue

Guest post by Amanda Rose
Founder, Twestival

Note from Beth Kanter: Last week, I wrote a reflection on a CNET article called “Crowded Roads Ahead for Charity 2.0,” musing about the solution. A number folks offers some insights in the comments or on Twitter, including Amanda. I invited her to share her thoughts about cause fatigue and scaling as she launches Twestival Local.

Cause fatigue is something I think about daily; particularly going into our second Twestival in September. I’ve felt a huge mix of pressure and enthusiasm to launch another one from previous organizers and cities who missed it the first time around. I didn’t feel like the Twitter community could handle another cause infused global campaign on the scale of Twestival so soon. My gut told me to think locally and use this international momentum and inspire people to shine a spotlight on a local cause, or a cause that a community would get behind. Where Twestival Global focused all of its energy on one cause, on one day; Twestival Local, taking place the weekend of 10-13 September 2009, has the potential to impact hundreds of causes.

Volunteers around the world feel empowered when asked to use their skills, not only to bring people together at an event, but contribute to something positive. Continue reading

April 30, 2009

Tim Ferriss’ method of supporting causes


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:, 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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February 23, 2009

How does mobile giving work?

nelson-mandalaKatrin VerclasMobile fundraising is taking off — or so at least hope nonprofits hard hit by the economic downturn. Organizations are looking for a new channel for people to give on the spot, wherever they are, with their phones and a quick text message.

Mobile giving via SMS in the United States and many other parts of the world, has been out of reach because of high carrier charges — up to 50% of a donation would go to the telcom — unacceptable to most charities.

But this has changed in the last two years. Mobile donation campaigns in the United States that go through the Mobile Giving Foundation are not subject to the high carrier fees. The Mobile Giving Foundation charges a smaller percentage fee — currently 10%. As a result, in 2008 the field of mobile giving in the U.S. attracted the attention by organizations large and small, including by such brands as UNICEF, the Salvation Army, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

in England, there is also talk about establishing an entity similar to the Mobile Giving Foundation that would negotiate a no-fee arrangement with the operators and vet charities for SMS giving campaigns.

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