January 19, 2010

Save resources & money with Better World Telecom

A telecom that does good from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaUntil I met Salem Kimble (who earlier covered GoingGreen for Socialbrite), I had never heard of BetterWorld Telecom. With a tagline of “Change the world. One call at a time,” they’re a socially conscious telecom provider for nonprofits and mission-driven businesses that donates 3 percent of its revenues to social causes.

Salem Kimble, who runs the company’s social media efforts, says BetterWorld is a triple bottom line business that embraces the principles of economic justice, environmental values (“we carbon offset”) and social causes.

You won’t see them advertising on Desperate Housewives or CSI – they chiefly market through word of mouth. What people are mostly talking about is the average 28 percent in cost savings over providers like AT&T and Verizon. Their customers include Greenpeace, Green Mountain Coffee, Patagonia Clothing, Honest Tea, Yes! Magazine, Ode Magazine — chiefly organizations and nonprofits focused on environmental and social justice issues.

Check out my 6-minute chat with Salem at the most recent NetSquared conference:

Watch, embed or download the video on Vimeo

betterworld

Continue reading

December 24, 2009

CauseWorld: Support causes on the go

Beth KanterLast month I made a prediction that we might see fundraisers with Foursquare or some other location-based mobile social network with gaming element. Looks like my observation of fundraising 2.0 trends of 2009 and  my 2010 predictions are on track. TechCrunch just wrote about a new mobile application called CauseWorld.

Here’s how it works:

CauseWorld app users earn “karma points” when they walk into stores and check in with their cell phone. No purchase is required at any store, and karma points can be redeemed nine predefined good causes. Big brands like Kraft Foods and Citi (both are on board) then turn the karmas into real dollar donations to those causes. Food for poor families, water in Sudan, trees in the Amazon, etc. are examples of the causes.

Like foursquare and gowalla, you open the application on your phone and see local businesses (instead of showing everything around you, CauseWorld only shows businesses that you can check into for karmas). Enter the store, check in, and get the karma points offered to you. Once you’ve collected enough karmas you can donate them to a variety of causes. And, of course, you get badges for various activities.

The causes that are supported are listed on CauseWorld — it’s a good mix of wildlife conservation, hunger and others. 

This idea is really cool for a couple of reasons. The user doesn’t have to donate, but they’re leveraging a corporate donation. Sort of like embedded giving that Lucy Bernholz talks about, I think. The application is fun and well designed.

It doesn’t have a social element where you can see how many karma points your friends have within the app itself, although it uses Facebook Connect and you could opt to have your good deeds streamed on your wall. It might get more motivated if it had the leaderboard design that Foursquare has. Continue reading

December 22, 2009

Mashable & our favorite posts of the year

social-good

JD LasicaWelcome to all the visitors from Mashable! We were thrilled to be featured in Melissa Rowley‘s article, 4 Social Good Trends of 2009.

For first-timers, we thought now would be a good time to highlight some of our favorite posts on Socialbrite since our launch earlier this year:

Some of our favorite causes

Tweet for a cure to end SMA

Global Voices: Lifting up the powerless & voiceless

An inventive cause campaign to fight malaria

Tim Ferriss’ method of supporting causes

Boxee and the promise of open media

All for Good: A Craigslist for service

California’s Secretary of State: Come and collaborate!

How the National Wildlife Federation uses social media

Socialbrite’s night at NetTuesday

UniversalGiving: Tailoring an impact just for you

Samasource enables socially responsible outsourcing

YouthNoise: Helping young people network a cause

Kiva: micro-loans to entrepreneurs abroad

Giving Challenge: Tap your networks to support a cause

Some favorite tools and tactics

How to make your website more accessible and 7 tips for communicating with people with disabilities

20 tips for mobile advocacy

A user’s guide to mobile activism

How mobile is empowering consumers

SEO: 9 tips for optimizing a nonprofit site — Search Engine Optimization isn’t black magic, so get your site to shape up

8 tips for raising funds online

The Extraordinaries: Building the ‘micro-volunteering’ movement

Twitter as a tool for activism

How to build a Facebook community — 14 levers you need to be pulling

How to add a Facebook Page Fanbox to your site

How to use Seesmic Desktop

Carbon footprints, nation by nation

Foundation Center: a deep resource for philanthropy

Guide to shooting photos in public

How to capture great photos on the road

Fair use in the digital age

Seven blogging tools reviewed

Socialbrite releases Creative Commons plug-in

Thanks to everyone for your support this year! (Don’t forget to follow @Socialbrite on Twitter!) We’re now working with a number of nonprofits and educational outfits — TechSoup Global and Scholastic, to name two — and looking forward to helping others with their social media needs in the months ahead. Continue reading

December 8, 2009

Social media for social good

Why even small, resource-constrained nonprofits should be using social media

Guest post by Jordan Viator
Nonprofit Live TV

What are some of the ways in which social media can be used to advance the social good? Nonprofit Live TV put the question to Matt Mahan, Nonprofit and Business Development Director of Causes and Carie Lewis, Director of Emerging Media of the Humane Society of the United States.

The 7-minute interview, conducted at the 2009 Convio Summit conference for nonprofits in Austin, Texas, last month, addresses how smaller, resource-constrained nonprofits can be using social media.

Mahan and Lewis give examples of how outreach on Twitter or Facebook can engage support for a cause or organization. When someone’s birthday rolls around, Mahan says, instead of giving them a Starbucks gift certificate or the like, It’s much more meaningful to receive a gift in the name of someone who’s truly deserving. The Causes site has also recently upgraded its partner center to enable nonprofits to interact more actively with their supporters on Facebook. Continue reading

October 14, 2009

Blogworld Expo’s Cause/Activism track

Blogworld

JD LasicaI‘m flying to Las Vegas early Thursday to moderate a panel on social media tools for nonprofits at Blogworld Expo. I know a lot of the keynoters: Laura Fitton, Chris Brogan, Jeremiah Owyang, Brian Solis, Kara Swisher, Scott Monty, Jay Rosen, Leo Laporte, Guy Kawasaki — the list goes on.

This is the first year the Expo has added a Cause/Activism track geared toward nonprofits, and it’s a welcome addition. The track, organized by Casemedia Group and funded by eBay, aims to provide a forum for nonprofits and bloggers to learn more about how to use social media to spread awareness and raise funds.

eBay and PayPal are sponsoring a Charity Smackdown Arcade at the show, allowing 10 charities to attend the show for free and be featured in the Arcade. The top 10 voter getters were Alex’s Lemonade (2,817 votes), Best Friends Animal Society (2,652), Surfrider Foundation (2,189), Mothers Fighting For Others (2,063), Spirit Jump (1,658), LA’s Best (1,475), 3for5 Foundation (1,466), Stepwise (1,303 votes), Heifer International Portland (1,152) and Canine Companions for Independence (1,143).

Blogworld still hasn’t updated its (badly designed) schedule — even though the Expo starts tomorrow — so here are the latest details on the nonprofit track:

All cause sessions are on Thursday, Oct. 15, in the Las Vegas Convention Center’s eBay PayPal Pavilion, Room 219

Tools for Nonprofit Organizations

When: 11am to 12:15pm (time change)

Topic: What social tools are out there to help organizations raise awareness about social causes? How can we use those tools to generate support and raise money? What strategies should nonprofits use to recruit members, evangelize causes and advance their missions?

Panelists:

Judy Chang, Paypal
Justin Perkins, Care2
David Levy, SocialVibe
James Sutandyo, Causecast
Scott Henderson, Media Sauce
JD Lasica, Socialbrite.org, moderator Continue reading

October 8, 2009

Giving Challenge: Tap your networks to support a cause

Challenge

Competition lets you win up to $50,000 for your favorite charity

JD LasicaYesterday the Case Foundation, Causes and Parade Publications kicked off the 2009 America’s Giving Challenge. It’s a 30-day nationwide online competition that encourages people to use their personal networks and social media to build cause communities that raise funds and recruit supporters for a nonprofit.

Nonprofits and individuals can get involved in two ways:

1. Champion a cause. Individuals who are passionate about a specific cause can become “cause champions” and will compete to obtain the most donations for their cause through the Causes application on Facebook.

2. Promote, donate or join a cause. All individuals are encouraged to take part in the Giving Challenge by joining, promoting and donating to the causes they care about. Facebook membership is not required to donate to a cause. Just go to Causes.com between now and Nov. 6 to win up to $50,000 for your favorite cause.

Today, for example, causes receiving the most votes so far include the National Inclusion Project, Angel Covers, FACE AIDS, Compassion International and Facilitating Leadership in Youth. I just donated to Think Autism. If you already support a cause on Facebook, opt in your existing cause.

The Case Foundation will award a total of $170,000 to the nonprofit beneficiaries of the causes. $50,000 goes to the cause with the most daily donations over the 30 days (you can donate as often as you’d like — say, as little as $10 — and each donation counts as a vote); second prize is $25,000. To keep people engaged, the sponsors are also awarding $1,000 each day to the cause with the most donations (not the most money raised); second prize is $500. Continue reading