June 6, 2011

A reality check on social media

Social Media for Social Good


It only works when it’s connected to the real world

JD LasicaAt the National Conference on Volunteering and Service — which some folks call “the Super Bowl of nonprofit conferences” — George Weiner and I teamed up on one of the most successful Social Media for Social Good Bootcamps that Socialbrite has put on to date. (Socialbrite has put on camps in New York, San Francisco, Miami, London and elsewhere.)

For those of us who live and breathe tech and social media — me in Silicon Valley and George, CTO of DoSomething.org, in New York and Washington, DC — it’s always a good reality check to come to gatherings like this and see how the non-early adopters are faring.

The three-hour session we led yesterday offered a range of tips on how to use social media strategically for campaigns, for collaboration, for building community, and I invite you to browse through the presentation above, since the attendees found it useful: “AMAZING session” (thanks, Volunteer Centre) … “awesome, fantastic session” (thanks, NCVS) … “Great session!” (thanks, Groupon).

But there were more beginners in the crowd than I expected. For instance, only about five out of 50 particpants were using Google Analytics (the free tool every website and blog ought to have). None had heard of the Grassrootsmapping.org effort to document the Gulf oil spill, even though we’re right here in New Orleans. And only one out of 80 people (not counting me) at today’s session on data had ever used Tumblr, an easy way to post blog entries and photos.

These are good, smart, motivated people — we need to break through the barriers and connect the tools and strategies with the organizations and causes that need them, starting with the basics.

So let’s take a deep breath and remember: We still have a lot of work before us, and there’s a lot of education yet to be done.

February 1, 2010

Ning, Davos and Haiti recovery projects

Sloane BerrentGina Bianchini is the co-founder and CEO of Ning.com, a platform that hosts more than a million social networks and connects people based on their passions and interests. She took a few minutes to tell me about her experience at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, what she has learned that surprised her and how to stay connected to Davos long after the week is over.

The two campaigns she talks about are the Open Architecture Network, a program Cameron Sinclair, founder of Architecture for Humanity, was telling us about. I hope to catch Cameron to talk about his amazing work and especially the Haiti recovery projects he’s taken on. I encourage you to read his recent piece in The Huffington Post encouraging people to “steal his plan” to help recovery as quick as possible in Haiti.

The second project Gina talks about is the She 28 Campaign, a project that gives women in Rwanda the skills to start their own business making sanitary projects using banana leaves.

So yes, Gina, Cameron and I were talking about menstruation while squeezing in expressos between sessions. And that’s one of the best parts about Davos — that someone knows something about a topic or initiative that I’ve never heard of before and is more than willing to share that information with me so I can look it up later online.

Check out the She 28 Campaign video for yourself:

This post originally appeared on the MySpace Journal.

October 12, 2009

An inventive cause campaign to fight malaria

A cause campaign to fight malaria from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

Causeitsmybirthday.com raises $16,000, effort continues through Saturday

JD LasicaSocialbrite’s own Sloane Berrent has been a bit busy of late. Fresh off a three-month stay in the rural Philippines doing field work as a Kiva fellow, she and her friend Doug Campbell of Mindshare launched Causeitsmybirthday, a cause campaign with a wild premise: parties in seven major cities on seven consecutive nights to raise money for malaria nets for orphanages and refugee camps in northern Ghana.

Malaria kills 3,000 children a day. It has killed more people than all the wars in human history combined, causing 1 to 3 million deaths per year. And the tragedy is that the majority of those deaths could be prevented with simple actions such as putting up mosquito nets to ward off the malaria-carrying mosquitoes. (This YouTube video explains why nets are so effective in the battle against malaria.)

I’ve never seen an effort quite like this, but Sloane, who blogs at TheCausemopolitan, and Doug pulled it off, working with the small nonprofit Netting Nations to make sure that 100 percent of the charitable donations go toward malaria nets. As of today, they’ve raised more than $16,000 and, even though the seven-city tour is over, you can donate to the cause online through Saturday. (Use the PayPal widget at the left.)

Watch, embed or download the video on Vimeo
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June 9, 2009

Free ebook: How to use Facebook for business (and nonprofits)

facebook-logoJohn HaydonAn increasing number of nonprofits are expanding their social media efforts with Facebook Pages and Facebook Groups.

And for good reason:

Facebook is one of the largest social media sites on the web:

  • More than 200 million active users
  • More than 100 million users log on to Facebook at least once each day
  • More than two-thirds of Facebook users are outside of college
  • The fastest growing demographic is 35 and older

And their users are very active:

  • Average user has 120 friends on the site
  • More than 4 billion minutes are spent on Facebook each day
  • More than 30 million users update their statuses daily
  • More than 6 million users become fans of Pages each day

Hubspot, an Internet marketing company in Cambridge, Mass., recently published a free book for businesses looking to use Facebook.

I was curious how useful How to Use Facebook for Business would be for my typical nonprofit client, so I downloaded it (no email required!) and read through the 22-page guide.

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