Allison Fine and Beth Kanter: Connecting With Social Media

Okay, so if you are living under a nonprofit rock — first of all I’m sorry, because it must be gross — and second of all you should get out. For all of you nonprofits who want to break out from under that rock, this is a great way to start.

Last week I tuned in to a live webinar on how to Build a Networked Nonprofit Group, hosted by authors and nonprofit guru’s Beth Kanter and Allison Fine. These lovely ladies, as The Chronicle bests puts it,

“write about the ways even the most time-pressed nonprofit groups can harness social-media tools to expand their network of donors and volunteers, adocate for their cause, and win attention.”

With their new book just released this June, The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting With Social Media to Drive Change, Kanter and Fine present the most up to date and relevant information your nonprofit could need. The book covers all the basics; Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, wikis, blogs, contests, map, widgets etc. in a simple and clear cut manner. You do not need to be an internet techie to get something out of this book. It’s relevant and include great examples of how nonprofit organizations — both big and small — have used these tools to be help leverage their success.

If you or someone in your nonprofit doesn’t have time to sit down and read the book (which you should do, really it’s one book that will benefit your organization in the long run), then check out this webinar online. Beth and Allison have given tons of links and feeds to informational sites. After reading through their Twitter Tip Sheet, you’ll know what I’m taking about.

If anything, you will feel confident knowing that you are not the only nonprofit out there that at times may feel utterly challenged by technology overload. Because, let’s face it, there are so many tools out there that it can really be overwhelming. The trick is to find one media that is right for you and your nonprofit, then utilize this to it’s full potential.


Would You Buy “Dirty Water” … To Help Save a Life??

In an effort to publicize the Tap Project, UNICEF has pitched a confronting campaign to New Yorkers as the city reaches record high temperatures. The international nonprofit has put up vending machines throughout the city dispensing eight flavors of dirty water: cholera, dengue, hepatitis, malaria, salmonella and yellow fever. Proceeds of every bottle of water purchased will go directly to UNICEF’s attempt to fight water related diseases around the world.

The public display of human rights by UNICEF highlights that every day over 4,000 children die from water related diseases. The program has the potential to save many lives and will also support UNICEF in meeting the United Nations Millennium Goals, which strives to reduce the number of people without access to safe water and basic sanitation by 50% by 2015. The plan is to also save children at risk from waterborn illnesses, the second highest cause of preventable childhood deaths.

The Project started in 2007, when restaurants in New York City asked their patrons to donate $1 or more for the tap water they usually enjoy for free. All funds go directly back to support UNICEF’s water, sanitation and hygiene programs, which have helped save more children’s lives than any other humanitarian organization. What started  with just 300 restaurants, the program has grown to include thousands of restaurants across the country today.

As East Coast temperatures continue to reach record highs, the idea of having consumers purchase for a cause has to potential to help solve the problem of water caused disease throughout the world.

A Breakdown of How Nonprofits Raised and Spent Money to Help Rebuild Haiti

From The Chronicle of Philanthropy July 9, 2010

Six months after the earthquake in Haiti, nonprofit groups have raised $1.3-billion to help the nation recover.

ActionAid USA
Amount raised: $471,813; $11,000,000 worldwide
Amount spent: $2,351,000 worldwide
Where the money went: Food, clothing, and tarps for 20,000 people. Basic health care for 140 people. Also has gathered and mapped information on gender-based violence in the camps.

Read the full article to find out how other nonprofit groups raised and spent money to aid in Haiti’s reconstruction.

NGO’s Role in Effective Disaster Response

By Charles Maclean, founder of Philanthropy Now

What Will It Take For Disaster Response To Do More Good and No Harm?

Gulf oil spill, Afghanistan warfare, Haiti earthquake, Indian Ocean tsunami, Katrina hurricane, Rwanda genocide, Somalia famine… What’s to come? How can NGOs respond smarter? How can donors give smarter? How can aid recipients become uplifted and self-sufficient?
Research reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, National Academy of Sciences and Florin Diacu’s book Megadisasters suggests that natural catastrophes and human-caused calamities are likely to increase in frequency and severity.

To read the full story join the Social Edge Discussion.

Giving – especially to small orgs – bounces back

Posted by katya on Katya’s Non-Profit Marketing Blog Tuesday, June 15, 2010

On the heels of GivingUSA’s gloomy news about 2009 giving overall (see my last post) Blackbaud’s charitable giving index shows 2010 is better.  Giving continues to recover this year online and off – especially for smaller organizations:

More on the report is here.

It is part of the Nonprofit Times Sector Dash, which you can find here.

BP Oil Spill: A Tale On Blurring of Sector Boundaries?

Posted by Phil Buchanan, The Center for Effective Philanthropy

June 15th, 2010

In recent years, as a debate has heated up about the respective roles of nonprofits and businesses in our society, I have thought and worried about the tendency to assume that a “blurring of the boundaries” between nonprofits and businesses is a good thing. The BP oil spill has me thinking more.

It is important to remember that, because they are purely mission-driven, the role of nonprofits is sometimes to stand up to, or rein in, business, as Claire Gaudiani argues in her book, The Greater Good: How Philanthropy Drives the American Economy and Can Save Capitalism. She cites examples such as the push by nonprofit environmental groups to ban DDT or get McDonald’s to cease using Styrofoam containers.

Which brings me to BP. Obviously, nonprofits aren’t responsible for the BP oil spill. BP’s greed and incompetence have been on stunning, daily display for nearly two months.

But, just as we can and should ask whether lax government oversight of the oil industry helped make this disaster possible, we can and should ask whether nonprofit environmental groups have been as outspoken as they could be – both before the spill and since. Likewise, we should ask whether funders, and in particular endowed private foundations (which enjoy freedoms other institutions don’t), are doing enough to support those nonprofits that are willing to confront corporate interests when necessary.

I don’t know the answer to these questions. But a recent Washington Post article raises some concerns, discussing in particular the relationship between BP and a major environmental nonprofit, the Nature Conservancy.

The Conservancy … has given BP a seat on its International Leadership Council and has accepted nearly $10 million in cash and land contributions from BP and affiliated corporations over the years,” the Post reports. This latest Post article follows an investigative series by the newspaper in 2003 that raised troubling questions about, among other things, the Nature Conservancy’s alliances with corporations.

To read more of what Jon Buchanon has to say click here…

Should You Not Donate by Text Message?

Posted by Ginny Mies,

PC World, June 2, 2010.

We all have our excuses for not donating to disaster relief funds or to our favorite charities: We’re broke, the donation process is too complicated, we lack the time to write and send a check, and so on. Mobile donating–giving money to an organization via text message–makes giving a little easier. But is it safe? And does it have a significant impact on the charity or the people in need?

Donating by cell phone is incredibly quick and easy: You just text a word (like ?HAITI’) or a number to a specific phone number, and a set amount is charged to your phone bill. Your carrier then delivers the funds to the charity. The mobile donation approach has been around for a couple of years, but it didn’t really catch on until the 2010 Haiti earthquake. The American Red Cross’s Haiti Relief and Development Fund, the most successful mobile campaign to date, raised more than $32 million within a month after the disaster.

Advocates say that mobile donations are an appealing option because they’re convenient and offer instant gratification. The system also opens up philanthropy to individuals who might otherwise feel that they couldn’t contribute. Younger audiences, for instance, appreciate being able to donate via text message because they don’t need a credit card to do so.

Click here to read more on how to find a legitimate charity worth donating via text messaging.