This post was originally published in the Huffington Post. Photo courtesy of Trickle Up.
By: Caroline Avakian
The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are the world’s targets for addressing extreme poverty in its many dimensions. The MDGs target date expires this year, and as we collaboratively build out new goals for the next 15 years, it will be critical that nonprofit communicators in the global development sector build on what we’ve learned as well. So it got me thinking about what some of my lessons learned were after almost five years working at Trickle Up — an international organization that empowers people living on less than $1.25 a day to take the first steps out of poverty, providing them with resources to build sustainable livelihoods for a better quality of life. Continue reading →
Target audience: NGOs, nonprofits, foundations, social enterprises, cause and advocacy organizations, educators, general public.
We’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.
• 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.
Today 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.
Angelina Jolie at a refugee camp in Tunisia along the Libya border.
And take part in the first ever #BlueKey Tweetathon today!
At Socialbrite, a lot of people approach us about cause campaigns. But one in particular is especially worth spotlighting this week: the Blue Key campaign, which ends with World Refugee Day next Monday.
Blue Key was brought to our attention by Socialbrite’s own Shonali Burke, who is helping to show USA for UNHCR — the US-based nonprofit that supports the UN Refugee Agency — how social media can help make a real, on-the-ground difference in the lives of people displaced by war, threats of war, ethnic division and other causes.
How you can help
Before we delve too deeply into the refugee crisis, let’s list two simple things you can do to help out.
(1) The first and most important is to order your Blue Key for a mere $5. A blue key will show the 6,000+ staff members of the UN Refugee Agency around the world that we appreciate their work. The key pin or pendant symbolizes our power to help refugees open the door to a new home and a new future.
(2) The second thing you can do is to spread the word about Blue Key, on Facebook or Twitter. Here are a few ready-made tweets!
Did you know that there are more than 43 million refugees worldwide? Your $5 #bluekey could open a new door for them. http://ow.ly/5d54i
“Kite Runner” author Khaled Hosseini says anyone can be a refugee. Last week to get your $5 #bluekey! http://ow.ly/5d59P (pls RT!)
Residents of a camp in north Darfur use water rollers earlier this year. Photo by United Nations
Today, from 9 am to 9 pm ET, several several of the Blue Key Champions (I’m one) will be taking part in a Tweetathon. We’ll be tweeting about the campaign, why we’re supporting it and urging people to get a key (remember, they’re just $5 each!). Just like in a good old-fashioned telethon, we’re going to talk #bluekey throughout the day. Just follow the #bluekey hashtag.