The devastation in Haiti has struck a chord in individuals and organizations around the globe. I’m going to shamelessly plug this app since it’s a great way for our agency to contribute to the cause. What started off as a project to showcase Rosetta‘s mobile team skills turned into something better – a useful app which allows people to look up charities that accept donations via SMS and click to donate. It’s a simple directory service with buttons to send a text message right from your iPhone. Donation Connect also allows you to promote your donation and the app through Facebook and Twitter. The app is free; if you like it please use it and tell a friend about it. Let me know what you think. This was created on volunteer time after hours from our mobile and creative teams.
This past Friday night I had the pleasure and honor of attending an event that represented what a small grass-roots movement can accomplish with some focus and a bunch of personal connections through social media. At the Harvard Club in Boston, a gathering of folks initiated by the social media enthusiast community in both Boston and New York gathered for an evening to benefit JaneDoeInc., a non-profit organization focused on ending sexual assault and domestic violence. With the help of sponsors and some passionate individuals the group sm4sc, Social Media for Social Change, kicked off it’s very first event by raising over $20,000. Sweet.
Grass Takes Root
Back in late August I wrote, “I see this as a grass roots effort that can be spread to other cities as passionate people pick up the vibe.” Just as any effort with social media, it requires commitment to make the first event a reality. It will also take a long term push to make the movement into a continued success. But if a start is an indication of the potential, Friday night’s kickoff of sm4sc can be just that. The night had all the ingredients – A great turnout, an opportunity to meet some good people (many who I had previously only known through social media tools like Twitter), a beautiful location, some cocktails, and a series of genuine and passionate speeches about the purpose. Not to mention some late night karaoke (which I avoided clearly to ensure no streaming video of yours truly got into the hands of my project teams at the office).
In the world of philanthropy there are many options to choose from – everything from donating personally to small causes to large, established organizations. I am grateful to Rosetta (who recently acquired Brulant), the agency I work for, for participating as a silver sponsor. I’m grateful to the other sponsors for everything from funds to great contributions for the raffle. (I won a great messenger bag from Timbuktu and a pass to the New Marketing Summit, which I had Matt Knell draw another winner for since I was already attending). While many individuals contributed to making the night a success, special recognition is deserved for four people:
Web 2.0 and social media are changing the way we interact online. Can it change how we interact offline too? You bet it can. I'm participating in two events coming up that are purposefully out to show how social media can affect change.
Are you in the Boston area, interested in social media, and interested in social change? A group of social media enthusiasts in the area have started Social Media for Social Change. The background of the cause:
Social media has broken down walls and created conversations. IBM does product testing in Second Life. Old college classmates reunite on Facebook. Zappos does intra-office communication via Twitter. All great, paradigm shifting events.
But what about change for the greater good?
You don't have to be in Boston to be interested, and I see this as a grass roots effort that can be spread to other cities as passionate people pick up the vibe. Here are some social media footprints around this group already:
A fundraiser has been planned for Friday, October 10th, at the Harvard Club in Boston, with all proceeds going to Jane Doe Inc:
Jane Doe Inc., The Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence brings together organizations and people committed to ending domestic violence and sexual assault. We create social change by addressing the root causes of this violence, and promote justice, safety and healing for survivors.
More to come as the date approaches. If you are interested in becoming a corporate or personal sponsor, drop an email to sponsors (at) sm4sc (dot) com.
Blog Action Day 2008
Blog Action Day is a consolidated blog outreach program asking bloggers of all genres to talk about what they do best, but relate a post on October 15, 2008, to the topic of Poverty. Register your blog and be part of the awareness campaign. It's easy – they even have ideas to help come up with a post. This is an easy way to get involved in a good cause. Check out this video, a well done production to give an overview of what Blog Action Day is about.