October 12, 2009

An inventive cause campaign to fight malaria

A cause campaign to fight malaria from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

Causeitsmybirthday.com raises $16,000, effort continues through Saturday

JD LasicaSocialbrite’s own Sloane Berrent has been a bit busy of late. Fresh off a three-month stay in the rural Philippines doing field work as a Kiva fellow, she and her friend Doug Campbell of Mindshare launched Causeitsmybirthday, a cause campaign with a wild premise: parties in seven major cities on seven consecutive nights to raise money for malaria nets for orphanages and refugee camps in northern Ghana.

Malaria kills 3,000 children a day. It has killed more people than all the wars in human history combined, causing 1 to 3 million deaths per year. And the tragedy is that the majority of those deaths could be prevented with simple actions such as putting up mosquito nets to ward off the malaria-carrying mosquitoes. (This YouTube video explains why nets are so effective in the battle against malaria.)

I’ve never seen an effort quite like this, but Sloane, who blogs at TheCausemopolitan, and Doug pulled it off, working with the small nonprofit Netting Nations to make sure that 100 percent of the charitable donations go toward malaria nets. As of today, they’ve raised more than $16,000 and, even though the seven-city tour is over, you can donate to the cause online through Saturday. (Use the PayPal widget at the left.)

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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 22, 2009

Helping nonprofits grapple with technology

Nonprofits + technology = NTEN from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaHolly Ross, executive director of the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), talks about the organization’s mission in helping nonprofits learning how to effectively use technology and social media.

She talks about three new reports that should be of interest to nonprofits — including the just-released 2009 Nonprofit Social Network Survey Report and Small is the New Big: 2009 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study — as well as We Are Media: Social Media Starter Kit for Nonprofits, a workshop/training series led by Beth Kanter.

All of the conference’s sessions are available as free audio downloads (plus PowerPoint presentations). In addition, several webinars are available as well, such as Using Facebook Pages for Social Good, $30 for members, $60 for nonmembers.

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April 12, 2009

Buy on eBay to help your favorite cause


eBay Giving Works from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaAt the first Awareness2Action gathering in San Francisco in August 2008 I heard about eBay’s Giving Works program, which has raised $150 million for charitable causes on eBay over its first five years. These folks rock!

I swung down to eBay headquarters in San Jose a few weeks later and chatted with Kristin Cunningham, the program’s general manager. The video explains how you can help nonprofits through your purchases on eBay (and how nonprofits can help themselves).

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