May 7, 2010

15 social tools for local impact



From volunteer openings to monitoring your member of Congress

By Vivian Ramirez
Socialbrite staff

We often think of social media tools and apps as a way to connect the global village. But they’re also a great way to interact with supporters, volunteers and donors at the community level.

Social media tools are particularly useful for nonprofits looking to create easy access and sharing among peers and local networks. This roundup is intended to showcase tools and apps that can help spread awareness at the local level, including volunteer opportunities (ultimately, all volunteering is local), civic engagement and collaborating with neighborhood tweeps.


All for Good Gadget: Find local volunteer activities

1All for Good Gadget is an application that allows you to browse and share volunteer activities in your local area as well as across the globe through your iGoogle page, webpage, Gmail, Blogger, TypePad blog, WordPress blog or Google site. Socialbrite uses All for Good as a widget in the right sidebar — just type in your zip code to find local places where you can volunteer.


CitySourced: Empowering citizens to report civic issues

2CitySourced (image at top) is a free, simple, intuitive real-time mobile tool for civic engagement that empowers citizens to take action on local civic issues (graffiti, trash, potholes, etc.) by reporting them to the city government. Through CitySourced, we can help our local government save money, improve accountability to their constituents and take timely action on local issues. (Note: Not all local governments take part!)


SeeClickFix: More than just a place to vent

3The SeeClickFix Widget and Mobile are tools that help communities and residents become better citizens by taking care of and improving their neighborhoods by providing information that will allow local government to track local issues. All issues are published on the front page of the site. For those interested in gathering statistics on issues, SeeClickFix has an advanced search feature that provides this info.


SnapImpact: Making doing good easy

4SnapImpact is an iPhone app, a Facebook app and a WordPress plug-in that allows you to discover places to volunteer within or nearby your location. It makes it easy for nonprofits to recruit volunteers and discover other opportunities for improvement within the local community.


CivicEvolution: Solving problems methodologically

5CivicEvolution is an online public utility that goes beyond the typical inform-and-listen model of consultation. It helps citizens influence their communities by collaboratively developing proposals to solve problems. Through a structured dialogue process, CivicEvolution leads participants through the problem-solving process of defining, brainstorming, deliberating, analyzing and creating defined recommendations.

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September 9, 2009

Socialbrite’s night at NetTuesday


JD LasicaLast night was the coming-out party for Socialbrite at the monthly NetTuesday gathering in San Francisco. About 40 people turned out for the event at PariSoMa, the coworking space at Howard and Tenth. Here are a half-dozen shots snapped by organizer Sarah Kennon and me.

And here is what the NetTuesday Meetup members had to say about the event.

A few notes from the evening:

• I kicked things off with a rundown of the Socialbrite team and the resources offered by Socialbrite, including the Sharing Center, Social Media Glossary, Web 2.0 productivity tools, directory of social media reports, guides to free photos, free music and free video footage, and directory of cause organizations.

• Jacob Colker, co-founder of the Extraordinaries, discussed the “micro-volunteer” opportunities using mobile devices in their spare time that people could sign up for. The Extraordinaries is now available as a free iPhone app. Socialbrite will publish a video interview with co-founder Ben Rigby soon.

• Schlomo Rabinowitz sketched out VideoCampSF, coming to BAVC Oct. 16-17. Two days of sessions can be had for just $65. (Register here.) The stellar lineup of instructors includes Melissa Rowley, Jen Myronuk, Katrina Heppler, Sukhjit, Markus Sandy, Adam Quirk and Bill Streeter (hey, I know all these folks!).

• Katrina Heppler outlined her promising new venture, (She’s also begun contributing video dispatches to Socialbrite, like the one immediately below this post.)

• Michael Stoll and two of his staffers came by to fill us in on The Public Press (which will be getting a new domain name next month). The nonprofit publication provides noncommercial news for the Bay Area and has been raising funds for story pitches on

• I outlined the mission of the Public Media Collaborative, a group of Bay Area technologists, activists and bloggers who put on training workshops, chiefly for community organizations. Our next daylong workshop will be Oct. 23 in Oakland.

• Program manager Liberty Smith told us about the National Service Learning Clearinghouse. Service learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. Continue reading