May 23, 2012

10 top tools for cause campaigns


A visualization from Bigthink.com.

Target audience: Cause organizations, NGOs, nonprofits, foundations, social enterprises, political reformers, educators, journalists, general public.

JD LasicaOver the past three years, as regular readers know, Socialbrite has put together dozens of guides and compilations of resources and tools for social change advocates. See the bottom of this article for a few, and our Sharing Center is all about social tools for social change.

Download one-page flyer

To celebrate Internet at Liberty, a conference on protecting protecting freedom of expression on the Internet that Google is organizing in Washington, D.C., this week — and where Socialbrite is running the social media workshops — we’re launching a new section today:

The Social Advocacy Toolkit features new and updated informational guides, tool roundups and resources for global activists, social good advocates, political reformers, NGOs and anyone looking to use online tools for social change. It includes tactics for effective campaigns, guides to the best monitoring and metrics tools (many of them free), lists of enabling platforms and organizations and other resources to help galvanize your campaign.

Below is a new guide that we’ve put together to help social change activists with their advocacy efforts, which we’re adding to the toolkit. Check out the Social Advocacy Toolkit for much more.

10 tools for activists & social change advocates

Asana: A leap ahead for productive teamwork

1Asana is a work-collaboration software suite that came out of beta in April 2012. “We built this company to change the world,” said founder Dustin Moskovitz, one of the co-founders of Facebook. Asana offers a simple, word processor-like interface to give people working together on a task a central place to discuss the project, share files and keep track of to-dos in real time. It’s free for teams of fewer than 30 users.

Alternatives: Yammer, Microsoft Sharepoint (for larger enterprises) and see our Collaboration roundup

PopVox: Advocate your cause in Congress

2You might remember our recent article on PopVox, an online service that individuals and grassroots organizations can use to lobby members of Congress on behalf of a cause. CEO Marci Harris founded the nonpartisan service based on her knowledge of how Congressional staffers interact with the public. For a cause to be effective, it has to be made concrete on behalf of or against a specific bill. PopVox helps you do that.

Geo-bombing with Google Earth

3I was blown away when I saw Tunisian activists from the collective blog Nawaat.org (The Core) link video testimonies of Tunisian political prisoners and human rights defenders to the Tunisian presidential palace’s location on Google Earth. Now, as you fly over the Tunisian presidential palace using a Google Earth KML file, you will see it covered with videos about human rights abuses that strongman Ben Ali tried to prevent Tunisian citizens from watching by blocking YouTube and DailyMotion. Visit earth.google.com/outreach for more examples. We’d like to see more organizations to take up “geo-bombing.” Continue reading

April 1, 2010

10 mobile apps for social good

GoodGuide on iTunes

GoodGuide, Find Green, Give Work make Socialbrite’s Top 10 list

By Kim Bale
Socialbrite staff

droid-vs-iphoneMobile applications are flooding the market at a dizzying rate — more than 150,000 now for the iPhone and tens of thousands for Android and Blackberry. And it’s important to keep in mind that only 18 percent of the phones in the United States are smart phones, as reported at yesterday’s Where 2.0 conference, so text-only SMS plays an important part in many of the campaigns run by nonprofits, NGOs and anyone interested in doing good.

In the past few months, though, a host of very cool smart phone apps have been released, making it easier for people and volunteers to carry their top-of-mind social causes in their pockets. And, take note, all of the iPhone apps listed here also work on the iPod Touch and the new iPad.

Here are 10 of our favorite mobile apps, from nonprofits and social change organizations, that are contributing to a sustainable economy of social good. This is by no means a definitive list, so please add your own favorites in the comments below.

Download the handout here (also at bit.ly/10mobileapps)

GoodGuide

GoodGuide: Scan products for social responsibility

1Available in the iTunes App Store, the GoodGuide iPhone app allows you to scan the barcode of a product while you’re shopping and immediately receive ratings regarding health, environment and social responsibility. How cool is that? Other mobile users can text product information to 41411 to access ratings for more than 70,000 companies and toys, foods, health and beauty products — including an API that lets any website operator create a custom product directory that pulls from its database. GoodGuide on iTunes

Find-Green

Find Green: Locate nearby green businesses

2Locate green and sustainable businesses via the Find Green app for iPhone and Android from 3rd Whale. Looking for a farmer’s market within walking distance? Find Green will note your location and search their database of more than 60,000 businesses to help you find one. Submit your favorite locations, rate existing businesses and reap the benefits of sustainability living tips in the palm of your hand. Find Green on iTunes

Be-Extra

The Extraordinaries: A way to ‘micro-volunteer’

3The Extraordinaries app for the iPhone allows anyone to spend just a few minutes of spare time completing missions for causes they’re passionate about. They even coined a term for it: micro-volunteering. On your commute to work, or waiting in line at the DMV, rate tweets from SXSW or tag photos for the Brooklyn Museum instead of racking up points in Solitaire. (Disclosure: I recently worked for The Extraordinaries as community outreach specialist.) The Extraordinaries on iTunes

Give-Work

Give Work: Crowdsourcing for good

4Created by CrowdFlower and Samasource, the Give Work iPhone app asks users to complete simple tasks that check the work done by Samasource’s refugee workforce. It provides a sort of quality assurance while increasing the quality of life for Kenyan refugee workers. To date, Give Work has been downloaded in more than 76 countries. Give Work on iTunes

CauseWorld

Causeworld: Rack up donations through shopping

5Check in at your favorite stores via your iPhone or Android and rack up Karma points to spend on causes you’re passionate about. CauseWorld lets you offset carbon and donate to Chile earthquake relief without spending a dime, all while earning badges to represent your good deeds. Corporate sponsors provide the necessary funding that you give in the form of virtual Karma points to causes and organizations that matter to you. CauseWorld on iTunes

mGive

mGive: Donate to causes via SMS

6mGive puts the power to donate in the hands of anyone with an SMS plan. For a fee, nonprofits can register with mGive and then ask supporters to text donations in increments of $5 or $10 to a designated number. The donation is charged to the user’s cell phone bill and distributed to the organization. In just three weeks, mGive processed more than $37 million for Haiti, proving the costs associated with starting a campaign may be well worth it. mGive on iTunes

frontline-sms

Frontline SMS: Help & engagement through text

7Another text messaging option, FrontlineSMS makes it easy for nonprofits and NGOs to keep in touch and engage with their community. Available to anyone with a cell phone, the service helps organizations share information with their community via text message. Uses can include sending daily notes of encouragement to disseminating calls to action to anyone with a mobile signal.

SnapImpact

SnapImpact: Connecting volunteers with local opportunities

8SnapImpact is an app for the iPhone designed to connect potential volunteers with opportunities in their area. The app searches All For Good’s database of volunteer opportunities by location, providing users with a variety of options to give back to their local community. Applications for Android and Windows Mobile are in the works. SnapImpact on iTunes

Ushahidi

Ushahidi: A platform for collective action

9This platform for crowdsourced crisis information can now be accessed via Ushahidi’s Apps for Android, Java Phones and Windows Mobile. Users can view real-time maps for crisis areas around the world and contribute crucial information regarding disaster relief. An iPhone App is still in development, and other mobile users can send SMS reports with crisis information.

Mobile-Rice

MobileRice: Donate grains of rice to hungry

10The MobileRice app for the iPhone, powered by Free Rice, tests your vocabulary skills while donating grains of rice through the World Hunger Programme. Match words with their definitions or synonyms and help diminish hunger worldwide. The app is connected to the website, which has collected 77 billion grains in 2 1/2 years — enough rice to feed millions. MobileRice on iTunes

What are some of your favorite mobile apps for social good? Continue reading

February 16, 2010

Helping Haitians via mobile, crowdsourcing & social media

New platform revolutionizes the way emergency response takes place

Guest post by Katrina Heppler
envisionGood.tv

Bravo to the thousands of volunteers worldwide who are assisting with translating Creole mobile text messages to help people in Haiti following the devastating 7.0M earthquake that struck the nation Jan. 12.

You may not have heard of Mission 4636, but this is where a lot of the most remarkable relief work is taking place. Mission 4636 is a short code emergency response communication system that enables earthquake victims in Haiti to get life-saving aid by sending a free mobile text message. It’s a joint-project of Ushahidi, FrontlineSMS, CrowdFlower and Samasource.

Mission 4636 — named for one of the SMS short codes for Haiti relief efforts — is an outstanding example of global collaboration and the power of human ingenuity to help people and save lives through technology. A huge “hats off” to them as well as to the many organizations that have also come together to make Mission 4636 successful: inSTEDD, DigiCel, local radio networks, local NGOs and the many emergency responders.

In the video interview above, Brian Herbert of Ushahidi, Robert Munro of FrontlineSMS, Lukas Biewald of CrowdFlower and Leila Janah of Samasource share background on how they came together with the support of other organizations on the ground in Haiti to deploy a critical emergency communications system to help save lives and provide emergency resources to people following the earthquake. This is a massive effort across multiple non-profit and for-profit companies and individual volunteers from around the country and globe (more than 14 countries have been involved in translation).

Mission-4636

In the weeks after the tragedy, text messages to the dedicated Haiti emergency short code 4636 increased about 10 percent each day – with about one text a second coming through. Technology and people power are playing a critical role in getting information to military and aid workers on the ground. Beyond the immediate help for people in need in Haiti, the program will build computer centers so Haitian refugees can do valuable digital work, get paid, and bolster the economy around them. Continue reading