August 5, 2010

12 awesome platforms for social good

Jill Foster of Citizen Effect conducts an interview in the Gulf Coast (photo by Geoff Livingston).


Vittana, Citizen Effect, Spheresavers among the networks galvanizing change

Target audience: Social change organizations, nonprofits, educators, community organizers, change agents.

Guest post by Katrina Heppler

Social tools come in all shapes and sizes. Yesterday we looked at 6 productivity tools for social change — mostly desktop and cloud-based apps and one cool gadget for your pocket. Today here’s my list of 12 platforms and online communities that are doing an amazing job in promoting social change.

You must have your own favorites (I’ve left off a few of my own, like and Causes, for example) — please share them in the comments below!

For a different list of 12 community platforms, download our flyer: 12 social action hubs.


Vittana: Send someone to college for $25

1Vittana is an amazing online platform that connects people through lending and helps young people around the world to get access to higher education for the first time. Through Vittana, you can make a loan to a student to help him or her go to college. Vittana reports that their students have a 95% success and repayment rate on their loans. In essence, Vittana is like a “Kiva for worldwide education.” Through online loans from people like you and me, Vittana is building a world where anyone can go to college. Vittana has been recognized as a Pop!Tech Social Innovation Fellow and HuffingtonPost #1 Game Changer in Philanthropy. Follow Vittana on Twitter.

citizen effect

Citizen Effect: Empowering citizen philanthropy

2Citizen Effect empowers citizens to become citizen philanthropists by providing us with the tools and networks we need to work directly with communities in need around the world. Through CitizenEffect, you can create your own project, bring your friends, family and social network together, and raise funds to make a significant impact in the lives of a community in need. You can also find great projects to support that match your interests. Follow Citizen Effect on Twitter.


Blissmo: Making sustainability easier

3Blissmo (formerly Spheresavers) is a new platform that aims to make sustainable consumption mainstream by making it cheaper and easier for consumers to buy sustainable. Check out Blissmo (our writeup is here) for deals on products and services from sustainable businesses striving to balance people, planet and profit.


OpenIDEO: Design together for social good

4OpenIDEO is a place where people design together for social good. It’s an online platform for creative thinkers: the veteran designer, the critic, the MBA, the active participant and the creative enthusiast with an idea to share. IDEO, a well-known design firm, developed OpenIDEO as a way to include a broader range of people in the design process to tackle social issues. Follow OpenIDEO on Twitter.

frontline SMS

FrontlineSMS: Text groups of people anywhere

5FrontlineSMS is an award-winning, free, open-source platform that turns a laptop or desktop computer and a mobile phone or modem into a two-way group messaging hub. Since it works anywhere there’s a mobile signal, it doesn’t need the Internet – a major advantage for many grassroots NGOs, especially in the developing world. Once you have the software running on your computer, you can send messages to wide groups of people and collect responses to any questions or surveys you might want to run, all via text message. Follow FrontlineSMS on Twitter.


Global Giving: Support community-based projects

6Global Giving is an online marketplace that helps nonprofits raise money for grassroots projects and connects individuals and companies to grassroots economic development projects around causes and countries they care about. Through Global Giving, supporters can make direct donations to projects; no social activity or event organization is required to support a cause. Follow Global Giving on Twitter.


SeeClickFix: Get a local problem fixed

7SeeClickFix is a platform that allows citizens to report non-emergency issues and receive neighborhood alerts, providing a great way to get a local problem fixed. If you have an iPhone, Android or Blackberry mobile phone, you can download SeeClickFix’s free mobile app to report issues taking place in your neighborhood when you are on the go, anytime, anyplace. Follow SeeClickFix on Twitter. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading