March 10, 2014

SourceRise: Connecting nonprofits/NGOs to journalists

Arya & Caroline
Caroline Avakian, SourceRise founder & CEO, with Arya Iranpour, Chief Technology Officer and founding engineer (Photo by Maulin Mehta)

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, journalists, educators, general public.

JD LasicaWhile a number of promising Web 2.0 social enterprises have launched in the past few years, SourceRise, which just soft launched in beta last week, is showing great momentum right out of the gate. SourceRise, founded by our very own Caroline Avakian (managing partner at Socialbrite), connects journalists and bloggers to sources at international NGOs and nonprofits in an effort to diversify the voices represented in the news and to increase the number of well researched, compelling development and foreign news stories in traditional media.

Last week I interviewed Caroline to find out more about SourceRise and how it’s building bridges between the media and nonprofit sources.

In a nutshell tell us about SourceRise and how it connects journalists and bloggers to NGO and nonprofit sources.

SourceRise is a social enterprise that directly connects journalists to sources at international NGOs and nonprofits. In a time when international news gathering budgets are shrinking at record rates, it is becoming more difficult for major news outlets to independently cover international and development news stories. Via a network of journalists and expert global NGO sources, SourceRise enables development foreign news reporting rooted in real time, accuracy, and deep context. Continue reading

January 23, 2012

A day of social media at the United Nations

Target audience: NGOs, nonprofits, foundations, social enterprises, cause and advocacy organizations, educators, general public.

JD LasicaWe’re still winding down after a whirlwind day Friday at the United Nations. At the invitation of Amine Lamrabat, Socialbrite sent Shonali Burke and myself to give a presentation on how NGOs (international nonprofits, chiefly) working with the UN can use social media to create impact and advance their causes.

Our presentation to United Nations NGOs.

This was one of the most rewarding and invigorating gatherings I’ve attended in quite some time, for both the knowledgeable give and take as well as the astonishing scope of the social good being done by the people in the room. Among those attending were representatives of Mercy International Association, Global Action to Prevent War and Armed Conflict, the Norway Mission to the UN, the American Cancer Society, representations from throughout the UN and many others.

Here’s a Flickr set of 32 photos I snapped. Some of the topics that came up during our talk included:

How do we scale a campaign to 1 million signatures? Our answer: Set realistic goals. Approach the campaign in phases. Build up a community of support and deputize supporters to participate on your behalf. Learn from past mistakes. Depending on your budget, consider using a large advocacy platform like Care2.

How should we deal with an autocratic regime? From China to Myanmar to Iran, we’ve seen examples of governments that won’t hesitate to crack down on pro-democracy dissidents. Advocacy groups like Witness have learned a great deal about protecting the identity of pro-democracy activists, so absorb their learnings. (See a Witness official’s guest post on Socialbrite on What are our ethical responsibilities when recording video of people under oppression?) Follow Rebecca MacKinnon on Twitter discussing China and cyber-activism. See the latest Netizen Report on Global Voices Advocacy. And also see the brilliant work-around Tunisian human rights activists undertook by geotagging stories of human rights abuses around the presidential palace using Google Earth, Google Maps and YouTube. Continue reading

January 20, 2012

How NGOs can use social media to combat poverty

Socialbrite presents at the United Nations today

JD LasicaToday my Socialbrite partner Shonali Burke and I are giving a presentation to NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) at the United Nations.

Back in November, an invitation flew into our laps from Amine Lamrabat of the Civil Society and Outreach Unit (CSOU), Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD), Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). By gosh, when it comes to acronyms, nobody beats the UN!

The department is focusing in the new year on marshalling resources to combat poverty — quite a challenge, considering up to 80 percent of the world’s 7 billion people live in poverty or near-poverty conditions. (See stats from the World Bank.) So we tailored our presentation to highlight the work of some international nonprofits that are making an impact, especially in the developing world (or Global South, as some call it), including:

Send a Cow, a UK-based nonprofit that is helping African farmers create a sustainable ecosystem and a process of paying it forward. Farmers who are helped, with training on how to grow crops in harsh climates, agree to pass that knowledge on to other farmers — along with a first-born calf. Send a Cow helps African farmers grow enough food to feed their families, sell their produce, start small businesses and rise out of poverty. They do a nice job with their website, produce high-quality videos and are growing a fan base on Twitter and Facebook, though we couldn’t spot any online fundraising or mobile efforts.

USA for UNHCR’s Blue Key campaign, which Shonali is overseeing, has built a nice community over the past year, with occasional tweet-a-thons to raise funds, $5 per key, and awareness about the plight of refugees.

• In my view, charity: water has made the most astonishing use of social media and new media, with breathtakingly good videos, multimedia, photography and smart ways to mobilize social networks. Check out the story of charity: water video they did for their 5-year anniversary as well as the new WaterForward campaign. Also, see the video How charity: water changes lives through multimedia and find your charity: water project on a map — I’ve been using on that in my presentations for years. Continue reading

November 5, 2010

Baking cause into your company

Everyone Can Be A Social Entrepreneur – Dublin Web Summit 4

View more presentations from Sloane Berrent.

Sloane BerrentLast week I had the privilege of going to Ireland for three separate reasons. First, one of my clients, ezetop, is located there. I conducted a day and a half workshop with their online communications and marketing team on a wide variety of buckets we created in advance based on their needs with emphasis on how social media and online communications can help get their message across.

Next, I spoke at the Dublin Web Summit, which is where the above presentation comes from. There I spoke to the nonprofit/NGO track about finding the social entrepreneur in all of us. What does that mean? That all of us have the ability to look at a problem and find a way to solve it in an entrepreneurial way that ties in social innovation.

Last, I attended F.ounders, an invite-only event that was two nights and three days in Dublin. Everything was included from the pub crawl to dinners to panels and walking tours. 200 founders of companies got together to talk, network, learn and just be together to see what happens. It was an ambitious project and a huge success. Truly one of the best conferences I’ve ever been to, from start to finish.

Best part? All attendees got a “gold key” that provides a fully paid return to Ireland to further explore business and investment possibilities in Ireland. So while I didn’t make it too far past Dublin this time around, I’m looking forward to returning soon and seeing more of the country and deepening the conversations and relationships I met while I was there. Continue reading

November 2, 2009

Forge: Helping to revitalize African communities

Refugees revitalizing African communities from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaOne of the most impressive people I met at the recent Social Capital Markets conference in San Francisco was Kjersten Erickson, executive director of Forge, who founded the international NGO six years ago when she was a junior at Stanford University. Forge works with refugees and war-affected populations in Africa to bring some stability to their lives.

FORGE“We provide a support system to allow refugees and post-conflict communities to rebuild and revitalize themselves,” Kjersten says in this 4-minute video interview. Forge helps about 60,000 refugees a year by offering locally tailored solutions to help them achieve self-sufficiency. The Forge team helps runs libraries, solar-powered computer training centers, agricultural loan programs and income-generating activities that “contribute to a level of economic independence that has proven to be critical to break the cycle of war and poverty in Africa,” she says.

The Forge site lets you engage with specific refugee projects pr social entrepreneurs and lets you chart their progress with blog updates directly from the field or with unfiltered monthly progress reports. FORGE primarily targets assistance to youths, preschool students, women, the elderly and vulnerable in such countries as Zambia, Botswana, the Congo, Rwanda, Angola, Burundi, Sudan and elsewhere.

Watch, embed or download this video on Vimeo

Today the Jenzabar Foundation announced it was recognizing FORGE as the inaugural winner of the Social Media Leadership Award “due to their exceptional understanding and utilization of social media technologies to support their organization’s current and future endeavors.” Continue reading

June 10, 2009

When help comes in a box

Tactical Tech

kiwanjaFor those of you who don’t know, Tactical Tech is an international NGO specialising in helping human rights advocates use information, communications and digital technologies to maximise the impact of their advocacy work. They empower by providing advocates with guides, tools, training and consultancy which help them develop the skills and tactics they need to increase the impact of their campaigning.

I’ve been fortunate to have worked with Tactical Tech over the past couple of years, and am a huge fan of their work. If you’re an NGO, or work with NGOs, then take a look at some of the tool kits they’ve put together. Just like any good sweet shop, there’s something in there for everyone.

Mobiles in a box

Designed to support campaigners looking to use mobile technology in their work
English: http://mobiles.tacticaltech.org
French: http://fr.mobiles.tacticaltech.org
Email: mobiles{at}tacticaltech.org

Message in-a-box

A set of strategic guides and tools to help non-profits create media and communicate for social change
English: http://www.messageinabox.tacticaltech.org
Email: miab{at}tacticaltech.org

Security in-a-box

Created to meet the digital security and privacy needs of advocates and human rights defenders
English: http://security.ngoinabox.org
Soon in Arabic, Russian, French, Spanish
Email: security{at}tacticaltech.org

Continue reading