January 2, 2013

Calendar of 2013 nonprofit & social change conferences

The graphic recording created during Socialbrite’s “You Need a Strategy” session at the 2012 Nonprofit Technology Conference.

SuperGuide to events for nonprofits & social good organizations

JD LasicaHere’s our roundup of conferences in the nonprofit and social change sectors coming up in 2013. This has become an annual tradition here at Socialbrite, and we hope you’ll bookmark this page and return to it throughout the year — we’ll be updating it throughout 2013 as more conference details firm up.

We’ll be reporting on many of these events and invite you to share your coverage or observations on Socialbrite, or let us know and we’ll tweet it or Facebook it. Throughout the year we’ll publish monthly calendars on the first of the month. Continue reading

September 27, 2011

Techniques to add dazzle to your advocacy video

Matanya’s Hope tells stories of Kenyan schoolchildren through photos & video

Lauren MajorMultimedia storytelling can be an incredibly powerful tool for your organization to attract funders, motivate volunteers and demonstrate the power of your message.

Our friends at Matanya’s Hope asked us to create a visual story for their nonprofit by seamlessly blending photos and video footage that they have captured over the past several years with original interviews, music and graphics we developed.

Founded in 2005 by Illinois native Michelle Stark, Matanya’s Hope is a nonprofit dedicated to educating children in Kenya. Last summer I accompanied Michelle to Matanya Primary School and saw the destitution these children and their families face: severe poverty, hunger, lack of clothing. And I realized why Michelle is dedicating her life to this cause.

For nonprofits and other organizations looking to capture their stories through powerful imagery, here are some simple tips for creating professional-looking video:

  • Use “b-roll” (stills & video)
  • Incorporate stock music
  • Use narration or background sounds
How to incorporate b-roll

By using B-roll – still photographs and short video clips referencing what the interviewees are talking about – you can make the video much more interesting than by solely using “talking heads” (straight interviews of people talking without any additional footage). As we are hearing Michelle talking about the children with “no shoes and torn and tattered clothing,” the still photographs visually reinforce what the interviewee is saying. B-roll also allows us to edit the interviews without a noticeable cut (“jump-cut”) in the action or picture on screen.

Use background music to add texture

Background music was also selected to set the mood of the video. Royalty-free music can be purchased online from a number of stock music websites for a modest charge. One of my favorites is Triple Scoop Music. There are also a slew of free sites offering rights-cleared music, generally using Creative Commons — see Socialbrite’s Free Music Directory. Continue reading

July 14, 2010

A change agent’s top 5 tools for social change

Target audience: Nonprofits, social change organizations, NGOs, foundations, educators, individuals.

Guest post by Allyson Kapin
Partner, Rad Campaign

The tools for taking action and effecting social change are getting more robust all the time. Here are five of my current favorites:


1I think Care2’s Frogloop is one of the most trusted sources among nonprofit campaigners for having the latest resources and best practices to engage activists and donors using multiple channels including email, texting and social media. Full disclosure: I’m the Blogger-In-Chief but I don’t think that clouds my judgment. :~)



2OpenStreetMap is a free editable map of the nation and the world created by regular people, Wikipedia-style. It’s a fantastic tool that nonprofits should be using more. It contains a lot more open data than Google Maps.


3If you’re the type of nonprofit campaigner who thrives off of multitasking, Threadsy could be a life saver. In a nutshell, it’s a dashboard that allows you to manage email, Twitter, Facebook, instant messaging – all in one place! It was in beta but now it has just been released to the public.


4Idealware provides some of the best research and data to help nonprofits make smart software decisions – anything from choosing open source content management systems and the differences between them to low-cost data visualization tools.

The Petition Site

5Care2’s The Petition Site enables anyone — not just nonprofits — to start a petition around social action issues, from stopping the Sable Island seal slaughter to protecting against new drilling.

In this series

Change-makers share 10 of their favorite tools

An educator’s 5 top tools for social change

12 open source tools you should be using

6 productivity tools for social change

A developer’s 5 favorite social tools

Top 5 tools for the entrepreneurial journalist

Top cause organizations

July 6, 2010

Change-makers share 10 of their favorite tools

Ayelet Noff during Traveling Geeks UK trip
Ayelet Noff of the Traveling Geeks holds the Flip Ultra HD in London. (Photo by JD Lasica)

Launching our summer series on making media for social good

Target audience: Nonprofits, social change organizations, educators, NGOs, citizen journalists, media makers

JD LasicaWe’re kicking off a summer series on making media for nonprofits and social change organizations. And, to highlight the wealth of tools on Socialbrite as we just marked our first birthday, we’ve rolled out a complete redesign of our Sharing Center.

Regular readers know that Socialbrite is all about showcasing social tools for social change. Every week we bring you a new batch of articles from our team to help you take advantage of the astonishing new ways to connect, collaborate and communicate and mobilize your cause online.

We’ve been saying for some time that every organization, every nonprofit, is turning into a media outlet, at least in part. It’s the same meme my Traveling Geeks colleague, journalist Tom Foremski, has been using with his new site, Every Company Is a Media Company.

So we decided to tap our friends’ expertise to highlight the tools and platforms that have been making the biggest difference in their own efforts — people like Allyson Kapin of Rad Campaign and Frogloop, Claire Sale of NetSquared, Andrew Rasiej of Personal Democracy Forum, Peter Deitz of SocialActions, Beth Kanter of Zoetica, Julie Crabill of Inner Circle Labs, Katrina Heppler of envisionGood.tv, Nathan Freitas, the mobile developer for the New York State Senate, and others.

Our original idea was to do one big roundup of indispensable tools — with the caveat, as always, that you should begin your efforts with a social media strategy, conversation strategy and social media strategy, and not just a set of tools. It turned out, though, that our colleagues provided so many suggestions that such an approach proved unwieldy. So instead we’ve decided to run a series of “top tools” lists by these experts in the field, kicking things off with this initial roundup of tools and resources for social good.

We suspect some tools and sites in the list below will be familiar while others may be new to you. Please add your own tips and suggestions in the comments below! And if you’d like to contribute your own short article, let us know.

Social action tools & platforms

Mobilize.org: Empowering & energizing the millennial generation

1Mobilize.org promotes greater civic participation and political engagement among young people. The site’s organizers believe the millennial generation offers hope for social justice regardless of race, class, religion or partisan identification. Mobilize.org has hosted eight Democracy 2.0 Summits on financial literacy, money and politics, millennial veterans, the environment and unemployment — with an eye toward developing sustainable solutions to these challenges. Follow mob_org on Twitter.

Amazee: Powering social collaboration

2Amazee is a global, Zurich-based platform that enables social collaboration for individuals, nonprofits, organizations and businesses. You can start a group to promote a cause or idea, to find like-minded people and to raise funds. Follow Amazee on Twitter.

Wiser Earth: Connecting you to communities of action

3WiserEarth is a free online community space connecting people, nonprofits and businesses working toward a just and sustainable world. Communities include the Culture of Peace Initiaitve, the Story of Stuff Project and the Radical Inclusion group. Now that Ning will be charging for hosted communities, Wiser Earth is a good choice for nonprofits and cause organizations looking to create an instant social network. Follow Wiser Earth on Twitter. Also see: Zanby: Roll your own community.


Charity How To: Step-by-step tutorials

4Next to Socialbrite, we think Charity How To does one of the best jobs of teaching nonprofits how to take advantage of digital tools. It offers step by step video tutorials, webinars and lots more. Follow CharityHowTo on Twitter.

we are media

WeAreMedia: A wiki of resources for social good

5WeAreMedia, spearheaded by Beth Kanter, is a wiki that came out of a hands-on workshop sponsored by the Nonprofit Technology Network. The site provides pointers to slideshows, resources and how-tos, like these tips and tutorials about Twitter.

Also, don’t forget Social Actions, which connects you to the issues and causes you care about.

Media creation tools


WordPress: Enabling citizen publishing

6WordPress.org, a self-hosted open source blogging platform, has become the software of choice for hundreds of thousands of blog publishers like Socialbrite or Syracuse’s University Lectures, while sites like Social Media Social Good use WordPress.com. You’ll want to take advantage of some of the thousands of free plug-ins that its global community of developers have created. Here’s our list of 10 WordPress plug-ins that rock, and here’s why we think WordPress is slicker than TypePad. Follow WordPress on Twitter.

OpenStreetMap: An open alternative to Google Maps

7OpenStreetMap is a free editable map of the nation and the world created by people like you. The service provides an open alternative to Google Maps by letting organizations embed maps and use geographical data in a collaborative way. Follow openstreetmap 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

February 2, 2010

DoSomething.org: How young people can take action

Sloane BerrentAt the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, I attended a dinner on the “Future of Philanthropy,” which was a really great talk about the role of philanthropy across nonprofits, family foundations, corporate partnerships and how individuals can get involved.

The dinner sessions at Davos I heard were a must. They’re expensive add-ons to the experience, but provide you an opportunity to sit at tables with a facilitator and go through topics related to the issue at hand.

Nancy Lublin is the CEO and “Chief Old Person” of Do Something, a nonprofit organization that gets young people excited and involved with voluntarism and getting involved in cause. Nancy is one of the Young Global Leaders, a subgroup of the World Economic Forum. Some 200-300 people each year are chosen from around the world who are making a difference and contributing to their communities.

Nancy identified three trends important to teens right now:

  1. Mobile – the ability to give online
  2. Slacktivisim – the ability to click a button and have something delivered to a person in need. Examples include Free Rice.
  3. Crowd-sourced giving like the Chase Community Program through Facebook that recently ended and the Pepsi Refresh Project (which by the way started this past weekend — if you have any idea on how to change the world, you really should check out this program and see what Pepsi is doing instead of placing a Super Bowl ad on TV this year).

Continue reading