July 19, 2011

How DoSomething engages young people


Make it easy to participate, make it mobile — and don’t forget the fun!

JD LasicaOne of the great success stories of online advocacy has been DoSomething.org, a not-for-profit that encourages young people to use the power of online to “do good stuff offline.”

Last fall I moderated a panel at BlogWorld Expo with DoSomething chief technology officer George Weiner, and last month I co-presented a Social Media for Social Good bootcamp at the National Conference on Volunteering and Service with George.

“This generation is far more engaged than anyone can possibly understand or measure due to the amount of conversations going on in social media.”
— George Weiner

So during a brief break in the action I got him to talk about how DoSomething spurs 1.2 million young people a year to take action on behalf of a social cause they care about.

“Young people have this amazing thing they can do that doesn’t require car, money or an adult,” he says. Simply put, any young person — 25 or younger, with a sweet spot of 16- to 17-year-olds — can launch a social cause campaign about any cause they feel passionately about.

The nation’s largest cause site for young people, DoSomething has about 30,000 cause projects started by young people.

Watch, embed or download the video on Vimeo

Success comes down to a combination of factors

The annual DoSomething Awards airs on VH1 in August.

The site’s success comes down to these factors:

• They make it easy to participate by lowering the barriers to entry.

• They’re laser-focused on catering to young people.

• They make it easy to take part in campaigns via mobile devices.

• They try to make causes fun by emphasizing use of participants’ social networks. 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