Communicate Good

Posts Tagged ‘nonprofits

Just last week, I learned about Hub Atlanta, an “ecosystem” designed to connect social innovators and entrepreneurs in Atlanta. The Hub is based in a downtown building that includes shared work spaces, meeting rooms, and a café.  Members can rent work space during the day, host events at night, and “connect with like-minded souls who share a passion for delivering positive social change.”

Members from a wide range of organizations and interests work alongside each other, but also come together for lunchtime “think tanks” and post-work fun. Like its affiliates in cities across the country, Hub Atlanta is aiming to create new opportunities for collaboration.

What I love about the Hub is that is creates space for collaborations and idea-sharing that would otherwise never happen. Because while virtual communities are great for gathering like-minded people around a particular topic or purpose, places like the Hub create a hotbed for the “accidental” collaborations that can emerge from sheer proximity.

When I’m focused on a concrete goal, my instinct is to identify the specific next steps on the path to that goal, and make them happen. Hub Atlanta reminds me that it is also important to “make space” for new ideas and shared ideas to emerge.

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Last week, Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook and organizer of U.S. President Barack Obama’s social media election campaign announced the soft-launch of his latest project: Jumo, a new social network set to start in the fall that will help connect people to the issues and organizations that are likely to be of interest. Once launched, members will be able to find different ways — whether with giving time, money or advocacy — to take social action.

People who visit the site now are asked a series of questions that gauge interests, likes and dislikes, and political beliefs. Questions range from “Which of these places would you most like to visit? Argentina, France, India, or Kenya?” to “On Sunday, are you most likely to be: at brunch, at church, at a museum, or watching the big game?”

The site will analyze how people who had similar answers respond to different causes and different giving and volunteering opportunities, and then use the information to determine what is most likely to appeal to a user.

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The old adage about a picture being worth a thousand words can be particularly useful to social-sector organizations looking for high-impact marketing initiatives.  Here are three examples from Flickr – a photo-sharing site where in a matter of minutes you can be up-and-running, posting images that illustrate your organization or cause. Just like YouTube, where only a tiny percentage of content virally “finds” an audience, organizations do still need to let their audiences know this content exists, and invite them to share it with others. A few illustrations:

Empowerment International provides education to impoverished children in Nicaragua. Its photostream includes pictures of children learning and playing:

Caught studying by KathyAAdams. 
These kids we ‘caught’ studying. This is a lovely sight for us to see in the barrio…a definite shift in culture of the value of education (and the ability to have one).
Very effective caption, as well!

While I don’t think Twitter will be replacing traditional news outlets anytime soon, 2010 promises to be a year of continued growth for social media.  A decade ago, organizations rushed to get online – now, many are thinking, “I need a social media strategy.” Much like the growth of online communications, “social media” is both a buzzword and a very legitimate and natural extension of what has come before. Using the Web to access and share information is important, but true interaction is the holy grail for many marketers. Here are 3 of my favorite examples from ’09 of organizations using social media to inspire action and communicate good:

1)      Charity: water’s Twestival

On February 12, 2009, 200+ international cities hosted a Twestival (Twitter + festival) to bring Twitter communities together to raise money for charity: water. The Twestival raised $250,000+ in online donations and brought worldwide public awareness to the global water crisis. Since then, charity:water has kept its online community engaged with updates like video coverage  of the first Twestival-sponsored well being drilled in Ethiopia.

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