Using ecommerce & social networking to help 52 causes a year
Target audience: Nonprofits, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, cause organizations, brands, businesses, general public.
Guest post by Ryan Wood
Director of Public Awareness, Sevenly
Many Socialbrite readers may not have heard of the social enterprise Sevenly, so here’s a quick explanation of what we do and how we came about:
For every shirt you buy with Sevenly, we give $7 to a charity, and we focus on a different cause every week — 52 charity T-shirt campaigns per year, like this week’s effort for hunger relief efforts in Haiti. We’ve raised more than $400,000 so far toward charitable causes with this simple model: For every T-shirt purchased, $7 goes to charity.
We’ve run campaigns for organizations such as Autism Speaks ($22,855 raised), the Somaly Mam Foundation ($14,812 raised), The Girl Effect ($8,218 raised) and Pencils Of Promise ($9,884 raised), with many more on the way. Our ultimate goal is to help people, fund worthy causes and offer the magic kick some charities need to keep changing the world.
The big idea: Birth of a new kind of cause campaign
Before founding Sevenly, Dale Partridge and Aaron Chavez were both running highly successful businesses with incomes to match. They had always dreamed of becoming successful entrepreneurs because of the freedom it allowed, but soon realized that they weren’t giving back to society. So in April 2011 Dale and Aaron created Sevenly. After nearly a daylong conversation about how to tackle poverty, the idea of Sevenly emerged. They came to the realization that the biggest problem is not the fact that millions of people are in need; it’s the fact that billions are watching it happen. Sevenly was developed around the belief that people matter, and we figured that if we could just get people to start giving, then we could get them to start caring.
How to convey a powerful message with videos & photos
Target audience: Nonprofits, social enterprises, NGOs, foundations, cause organizations, Web publishers, small businesses.
As regular readers know, I’ve been a longtime proponent of visual storytelling to advance the missions of nonprofits, cause organizations and businesses. (Heck, I co-founded Ourmedia.org before there was a YouTube.) People take action on behalf of a cause only when they feel an emotional connection, and yet nonprofits in particular are famously bad at telling their own stories.
What we tell people in our Socialbrite bootcamps and in our consulting work is this: Every nonprofit is now a media organization (the same goes for social enterprises and businesses). Never before have the tools of visual storytelling been so inexpensive, easy to use and accessible to the masses.
So why aren’t you taking advantage of visual storytelling yet? (Or are you? Tell us in the comments!)
There are dozens of ways to convey your story, and we’ve laid out lots of ways to get started — see the links at the bottom of this article.
Today we’d like to highlight a few best-of-breed examples of visual storytelling so that you can think about how to take a similar approach for your organization. At least one of the examples cited below should trigger an insight — an idea that resonates or an approach that you might consider using with your team or with a production partner.
Find people who encapsulate what your core objective is all about — and convey their stories with power, genuineness, passion and humility
Remember, it’s not about the tools or the technology. It’s about finding people who encapsulate what your core objective is all about — and conveying their stories with power, genuineness, passion and humility. Some can be elaborate productions, with narration, titling and musical score all working together. Others can be as simple as holding up a video-capable smartphone to capture a moment.
One you have a visual story, or several, that you can draw upon, you’ll be able to begin using it in your public outreach: on your website or blog, on your Facebook page, in your annual report, in your email newsletters. And don’t forget to enter contests like the DoGooder Awards, TechSoup Storytelling Challenge or CurrentTV’s just-ended The Current Cause, where $15,000 in prizes will be awarded.
Here are seven great examples of nonprofit storytelling:
And here were the 2010 winners. Observe how other organizations are telling their stories — which style did you like: earnest, funny, polished, grassroots?
2/ Digital stories using photos & narration
“Mountaintop Library Expands Horizons,” by Room to Read
digital storiesI’ve been involved in the digital storytelling movement since 2004. A vastly underutilized medium, digital storytelling uses photos, video, film or found materials, combined with voice-over narration, to convey powerful, evocative stories with a rich emotional dimension.
The first place winner, Mountaintop Library Expands Horizons, by Room to Read (embedded above), took advantage of visually stunning photos taken in Nepal and weaved together a simple 60-second story about the San Francisco nonprofit’s global literacy mission. Nicely done — with no video at all. This is something your organization can do on its own, no? Continue reading →