Category Archives: Community

10 Ways to Support Charity Through Social Media

This post is a collaboration between Mashable’s Summer of Social Good charitable fundraiser and Max Gladwell‘s “10 Ways” series. The post is being simultaneously published across more than 100 blogs.

summerofsocialgoodnew

Social media is about connecting people and providing the tools necessary to have a conversation. That global conversation is an extremely powerful platform for spreading information and awareness about social causes and issues. That’s one of the reasons charities can benefit so greatly from being active on social media channels. But you can also do a lot to help your favorite charity or causes you are passionate about through social media.

Below is a list of 10 ways you can use social media to show your support for issues that are important to you. If you can think of any other ways to help charities via social web tools, please add them in the comments. If you’d like to retweet this post or take the conversation to Twitter or FriendFeed, please use the hashtag #10Ways.

1. Write a Blog Post

Blogging is one of the easiest ways you can help a charity or cause you feel passionate about. Almost everyone has an outlet for blogging these days — whether that means a site running WordPress, an account at LiveJournal, or a blog on MySpace or Facebook. By writing about issues you’re passionate about, you’re helping to spread awareness among your social circle. Because your friends or readers already trust you, what you say is influential.

Recently, a group of green bloggers banded together to raise individual $1 donations from their readers. The beneficiaries included Sustainable Harvest, Kiva, Healthy Child, Healthy World, Environmental Working Group, and Water for People. The blog-driven campaign included voting to determine how the funds would be distributed between the charities. You can read about the results here.

You should also consider taking part in Blog Action Day, a once a year event in which thousands of blogs pledge to write at least one post about a specific social cause (last year it was fighting poverty). Blog Action Day will be on October 15 this year.

2. Share Stories with Friends

twitter-links

Another way to spread awareness among your social graph is to share links to blog posts and news articles via sites like Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, Digg, and even through email. Your network of friends is likely interested in what you have to say, so you have influence wherever you’ve gathered a social network.

You’ll be doing charities you support a great service when you share links to their campaigns, or to articles about causes you care about.

3. Follow Charities on Social Networks

In addition to sharing links to articles about issues you come across, you should also follow charities you support on the social networks where they are active. By increasing the size of their social graph, you’re increasing the size of their reach. When your charities tweet or post information about a campaign or a cause, statistics or a link to a good article, consider retweeting that post on Twitter, liking it on Facebook, or blogging about it.

Following charities on social media sites is a great way to keep in the loop and get updates, and it’s a great way to help the charity increase its reach by spreading information to your friends and followers.

You can follow the Summer of Social Good Charities:

Oxfam America (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube)
The Humane Society (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, MySpace, Flickr)
LIVESTRONG (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr)
WWF (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr)

4. Support Causes on Awareness Hubs

change-wwf

Another way you can show your support for the charities you care about is to rally around them on awareness hubs like Change.org, Care2, or the Facebook Causes application. These are social networks or applications specifically built with non-profits in mind. They offer special tools and opportunities for charities to spread awareness of issues, take action, and raise money.

It’s important to follow and support organizations on these sites because they’re another point of access for you to gather information about a charity or cause, and because by supporting your charity you’ll be increasing their overall reach. The more people they have following them and receiving their updates, the greater the chance that information they put out will spread virally.

5. Find Volunteer Opportunities

Using social media online can help connect you with volunteer opportunities offline, and according to web analytics firm Compete, traffic to volunteering sites is actually up sharply in 2009. Two of the biggest sites for locating volunteer opportunities are VolunteerMatch, which has almost 60,000 opportunities listed, and Idealist.org, which also lists paying jobs in the non-profit sector, in addition to maintaining databases of both volunteer jobs and willing volunteers.

For those who are interested in helping out when volunteers are urgently needed in crisis situations, check out HelpInDisaster.org, a site which helps register and educate those who want to help during disasters so that local resources are not tied up directing the calls of eager volunteers. Teenagers, meanwhile, should check out DoSomething.org, a site targeted at young adults seeking volunteer opportunities in their communities.

6. Embed a Widget on Your Site

Many charities offer embeddable widgets or badges that you can use on your social networking profiles or blogs to show your support. These badges generally serve one of two purposes (or both). They raise awareness of an issue and offer up a link or links to additional information. And very often they are used to raise money.

Mashable’s Summer of Social Good campaign, for example, has a widget that does both. The embeddable widget, which was custom built using Sprout (the creators of ChipIn), can both collect funds and offer information about the four charities the campaign supports.

7. Organize a Tweetup

You can use online social media tools to organize offline events, which are a great way to gather together like-minded people to raise awareness, raise money, or just discuss an issue that’s important to you. Getting people together offline to learn about an important issue can really kick start the conversation and make supporting the cause seem more real.

Be sure to check out Mashable’s guide to organizing a tweetup to make sure yours goes off without a hitch, or check to see if there are any tweetups in your area to attend that are already organized.

8. Express Yourself Using Video

As mentioned, blog posts are great, but a picture really says a thousand words. The web has become a lot more visual in recent years and there are now a large number of social tools to help you express yourself using video. When you record a video plea or call to action about your issue or charity, you can make your message sound more authentic and real. You can use sites like 12seconds.tv, Vimeo, and YouTube to easily record and spread your video message.

Last week, the Summer of Social Good campaign encouraged people to use video to show support for charity. The #12forGood campaign challenged people to submit a 12 second video of themselves doing something for the Summer of Social Good. That could be anything, from singing a song to reciting a poem to just dancing around like a maniac — the idea was to use the power of video to spread awareness about the campaign and the charities it supports.

If you’re more into watching videos than recording them, Givzy.com enables you to raise funds for charities like Unicef and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital by sharing viral videos by e-mail.

9. Sign or Start a Petition

twitition

There aren’t many more powerful ways to support a cause than to sign your name to a petition. Petitions spread awareness and, when successfully carried out, can demonstrate massive support for an issue. By making petitions viral, the social web has arguably made them even more powerful tools for social change. There are a large number of petition creation and hosting web sites out there. One of the biggest is The Petition Site, which is operated by the social awareness network Care2, or PetitionOnline.com, which has collected more than 79 million signatures over the years.

Petitions are extremely powerful, because they can strike a chord, spread virally, and serve as a visual demonstration of the support that an issue has gathered. Social media fans will want to check out a fairly new option for creating and spreading petitions: Twitition, an application that allows people to create, spread, and sign petitions via Twitter.

10. Organize an Online Event

Social media is a great way to organize offline, but you can also use online tools to organize effective online events. That can mean free form fund raising drives, like the Twitter-and-blog-powered campaign to raise money for a crisis center in Illinois last month that took in over $130,000 in just two weeks. Or it could mean an organized “tweet-a-thon” like the ones run by the 12for12k group, which aims to raise $12,000 each month for a different charity.

In March, 12for12k ran a 12-hour tweet-a-thon, in which any donation of at least $12 over a 12 hour period gained the person donating an entry into a drawing for prizes like an iPod Touch or a Nintendo Wii Fit. Last month, 12for12k took a different approach to an online event by holding a more ambitious 24-hour live video-a-thon, which included video interviews, music and sketch comedy performances, call-ins, and drawings for a large number of prizes given out to anyone who donated $12 or more.

Bonus: Think Outside the Box

blamedrewscancerSocial media provides almost limitless opportunity for being creative. You can think outside the box to come up with all sorts of innovative ways to raise money or awareness for a charity or cause. When Drew Olanoff was diagnosed with cancer, for example, he created Blame Drew’s Cancer, a campaign that encourages people to blow off steam by blaming his cancer for bad things in their lives using the Twitter hashtag #BlameDrewsCancer. Over 16,000 things have been blamed on Drew’s cancer, and he intends to find sponsors to turn those tweets into donations to LIVESTRONG once he beats the disease.

Or check out Nathan Winters, who is biking across the United States and documenting the entire trip using social media tools, in order to raise money and awareness for The Nature Conservancy.

The number of innovative things you can do using social media to support a charity or spread information about an issue is nearly endless. Can you think of any others? Please share them in the comments.

Special thanks to VPS.net

vpsnet logoA special thanks to VPS.net, who are donating $100 to the Summer of Social Good for every signup they receive this week.

Sign up at VPS.net and use the coupon code “SOSG”to receive 3 Months of FREE hosting on top of your purchased term. VPS.net honors a 30 day no questions asked money back guarantee so there’s no risk.

About the “10 Ways” Series

The “10 Ways” Series was originated by Max Gladwell. This is the second simultaneous blog post in the series. The first ran on more than 80 blogs, including Mashable. Among other things, it is a social media experiment and the exploration of a new content distribution model. You can follow Max Gladwell on Twitter.

This content was originally written by Mashable’s Josh Catone.

Earth Hour Los Angeles

earthhourOn March 28th – the world will go dark, in the name of taking action for global warming.

Although the gesture may appear to be a subtle one, it speaks in volumes.

Few people realize that the simple action, of turning their lights off, eliminates CO2 from being emitted into the atmosphere.

Earth Hour was founded two years ago in Australia.  This year, it is expected that half a billion people will participate throughout the world, in addition to, eight flagship cities including, our City of Angels.  A total of 800 cities in 80 countries will be officially participating.

Imagine, by this simple act, spread across the world,  millions of tons of CO2 will be prevented from entering our atmosphere – proving, that collectively we can make a big difference!

Street artist, Shepard Fairey, designed a very Russian Avant Gard-esque poster for this years’ event, encouraging everyone to vote by turning their lights off!

It is a remarkable, yet effortless, motion that will begin in Fiji at 8:30 p.m on March 28, and it will last one hour. The initial commencement will create a wave, that will be seen throughout the world.  Earth Hour, is the movement that joins forces with cities, schools, neighborhoods and individuals to make a stand against climate change.

Earth Hour is a symbolic gesture that it meant to send a visual message to our elected officials to encourage them to take a concerted action on climate change.

Turn Out.   Take Action.

Earth Hour LA and the World Wild Life Fund, has municipalities, organizations and its citizens, involved in by encouraging the city to continue with your life – simply in the dark, for one hour.  Thousands of Angelinos will Dine by Candlelight, where restaurants, hotels and bars will join Earth Hour by committing to dim their lights, and host by candlelight.  Musical performances will go acoustic and theater performances will be in the dark!

About 100 buildings & iconic venues will be turning out the lights in joining this global revolution.   The culmination of this event is at the Nokia Plaza at L.A. LIVE, where the Staples Center, The Los Angeles Convention Center and the Nokia Plaza will go dark in celebration – see you there!

One Hour

One Community

One Planet

The Future of Food – Vertical Farming

vert-farmWith 85% of the human population living in urban settings by 2050 – there is not doubt that a new way of raising our food, must be underway.  Lucky for us, a genius by the name of Dickson Despommier, has already created the solution for us – vertical farming.

Despommier  is a professor of Environmental Health at Columbia University, and coined the term, Vertical Farming.  It offers the idea of using hydroponic greenhouse methods to grow upward, rather than out.

As our needs continue  to grow over the next several decades, we are going to need to solve this issues, before they become problems.  The idea of a controlled environment, may be counter intuitive to us, naturalists, but the reality is that the use of Agri Business, has not been able to solve our food issues.

The method of vertical farming, forgoes the use of fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, mono cropping and a variety of other common used practices in conventional farming.

I had the honor of speaking with Despommier, at a TED conference after party.  It was one of the most fascinating conversations I have had.  He is, without a doubt, a pioneer in the movement of alternative food production.  I was able to inquire on a variety of issues, that only propelled his thinking, and was not able to give me a response.  Only affirming that we are in the mere inception of these ground breaking ideas, and innovation is abound, and an open field!

We need to continue to develop individuals’ relationship with food – where it comes from, the energy trail associated with it, and of course, whether it is organic or not.  Understand the intended principals of food, and how energy is put into food – and how it translates to nutrition and taste.

Mankind has lost its spiritual place within the natural world, and awareness of one’s humanity – issues that have transmitted to other areas of our life.  Clearly, our mainstream society is missing the dynamic balance between people, place and community.  Perhaps, this is also a problem that has created a dissonance with all aspects of our life – in turn the natural world.

With an increase in consciousness and awareness, this discord will begin to heal, and harmony amongst people will return.  Individually, we must step up and begin with ourselves, and that will transcend out.   Supporting our local farmer’s market through direct purchase or through CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in addition to, growing our own food, we can begin to grow our food within our region, and in accordance to the seasons.

vert-farm-ii2

Creative Citizen on Yahoo Green

cc-logo

Are you a creative citizen?

By Kastle Waserman

Posted Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:50am PST

The idea of global warming can sometimes be a daunting, overwhelming concept. How can one person help fix this problem that is literally changing the face of the earth? The website Creative Citizen offers a manageable answer — by one action at a time. Based on the idea of social networking, Creative Citizen consists of a community of people who are taking simple measures and have found creative ways to conserve, reuse, and recycle.

Together, they post and share ideas such as: Wash your car with a waterless cleaner, tell your dry cleaner to keep the plastic, have plants in your house as natural air purifiers, and the list goes on. Each solution tracks how much it will save in water, energy, waste, emissions, and dollars. You can search for creative solutions, read information about each idea, see photos, add or read comments, edit and provide more info, and then take an action by sending to a friend or bookmarking it.

By clicking “I’ll do it” you add to your “Greenage” as a Creative Citizen. “Greenage” is a tally of points Creative Citizens earn by participating in the online community. People with the most Greenage points can go on to make the Top Citizens board that lists the biggest contributors. In your Citizen profile, you can keep track of what solutions you’ve adopted and connect with friends and see what actions they’ve taken. It makes you feel like what it would like to live in an ideal green world where everybody cares and shares, and it’s a demonstration of what happens when people take small actions to make a big impact.

Now that’s getting eco-creative!

Check it out, Take a tour

cc


Free Green Living Workshops in Santa Monica

all-greenFREE  GREEN  WORKSHOPS

Workshops will be held:

SM Public Library (Ocean Park Branch)

2601 Main Street @ Ocean Park
Santa Monica, CA 90405

January 24, 2009 @ 2:00 PM
Part 1
Green Living

This workshop on Green Living, will help lay the foundation to create your green abode
– whether you own or not. Learn the simple ways to make your home energy and
water efficient while eliminating toxins and drastically improving indoor air quality!

The workshop will cover a DIY cleaning product demo, lecture, and interaction with the
audience.

I will provide all attendees with an E-Book on all material covered as well as local
resources!

January 31, 2009 @ 2:00 PM
Part 2
Green Decor

Few people are aware, that just as in our homes as our workplace, there is an
opportunity to choose objects and products that do not pollute our homes and are
harmful to us and the environment.

Learn how to decorate your home in a way that improves your indoor air quality, and
your overall state of being, by pairing down on clutter and waste, eliminating toxins,
and breathing in a new breathe of fresh air into your home!

I will provide a basis of information that will help guide you in a direction of knowing
what questions to ask from your suppliers and manufacturers to insure that the
materials and finishes you choose for your home are environmentally sound.

There will be samples and materials incorporated, to provide a better understanding for
greening your decor!


Februray 07, 2009 @ 2:00 PM
Part 3
Green Landscaping/Gardening

A basic introduction, offering everything you wanted to know about greening your
garden and landscaping!

This workshop will provide an introduction to Permaculture and good gardening
practices, that you can begin implementing in your green space today!

Information will be provided on local programs, through Santa Monica, on sustainable
gardening and landscaping.

Learn simple tools that will help you save time, money, water and energy in your
garden!

Salmon Protection in Sonoma County

Watershed

The WATER Institute web video, Your Salmon Creek, is available with some amazing underwater footage of habitat restoration and rehabilitation.

This is a, below-the-scenes, look at the historic reintroduction of the endangered Coho Salmon to the Salmon Creek Watershed in Sonoma County, CA.  Experts reveal, why Coho are disappearing, and why you should care…

Watch to see how protecting your home, your land and your family can improve your environment and the endangered species in your area.

Know and protect your watershed today!

What is a watershed?

A watershed is an area of land that catches rainfall and other precipitation and funnels it into a marsh, stream, river, lake or groundwater. There is a direct link between what we do on the land and the health of our watersheds and the quality of the water in our waterways. Those watersheds that are forested offer a wide array of benefits. Healthy urban and rural forested watersheds absorb rainfall and snow melt, slow storm runoff, recharge aquifers, sustain stream flows, filter pollutants from the air and runoff before they enter the waterways; and provide critical habitat for fish and wildlife. In addition, forested watersheds provide abundant recreational opportunities, help support local economies, provide an inexpensive source of drinking water, and improve the quality of our lives.

Through the use of forests and forestry practices applied on a watershed basis, we can provide cumulative water quality benefits and offer low cost, long term solutions to many of the nation’s nonpoint source pollution problems.

Calender of Events in The World Of Green – Winter 2009

January 15 Green Building Workshop (Brooklyn, NY)

Time: 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Location: LC 400, Dibner Library Building   5 MetroTech Center, Brooklyn, NY
A workshop that brings industry researchers and developers of green buildings technologies, entrepreneurs, investors, representatives from green buildings and sustainability initiatives, regulators, architects and building designers.

I will be speaking on ‘Integrating Green Building in the Urban Environment’

at 9:55 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.

January 24  – Green Living Workshop  – Part 1  (Santa Monica, CA)

Time: 2:00 PM
Location: Santa Monica Public Library (Ocean Park Branch)

2601 Main Street   Santa Monica, CA 90405
This workshop on Green Living, will help lay the foundation to create your green abode – whether you own or not.  Learn the simple ways to make your home energy and water efficient while eliminating toxins and drastically improving indoor air quality!

The workshop will cover a DIY cleaning product demo, lecture, and interaction with the audience.

I will provide all attendees with an E-Book on all material covered as well as local resources!

January 25 –   Go Green Expo –  (Los Angeles, CA)

Time –  10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Location: The Los Angeles Convention Center
1201 South Figueroa Street   Los Angeles, CA 90015

Go Green Expo is a showcase for earth-friendly products and services – a trade show that wholly focused on green living.

I will be on the panel for Green Building and Design on the tradeshow floor on Sunday at 3:00 p.m.

January 31  – Green Decor Workshop  – Part 2 (Santa Monica, CA)

Time: 2:00 PM
Location: Santa Monica Public Library (Ocean Park Branch)

2601 Main Street   Santa Monica, CA 90405

Few people are aware, that just as in our homes as our workplace, there is an opportunity to choose objects and products that do not pollute our homes and are harmful to us and the environment.

Learn how to decorate your home in a way that improves your indoor air quality, and your overall state of being, by pairing down on clutter and waste, eliminating toxins, and breathing in a new breathe of fresh air into your home!

I will provide a basis of information that will help guide you in a direction of knowing what questions to ask from your suppliers and manufacturers to insure that the materials and finishes you choose for your home are environmentally sound.

There will be samples and materials incorporated, to provide a better understanding for greening your decor!

February 07 – Green Landscaping Workshop  – Part 3  (Santa Monica, CA)

Time: 2:00 PM
Location: Santa Monica Public Library (Ocean Park Branch)

2601 Main Street Santa Monica, CA 90405

A basic introduction, offering everything you wanted to know about greening your garden and landscaping!

This workshop will provide an introduction to Permaculture and good gardening practices, that you can begin implementing in your green space today!  Learn simple tools that will help you save time, money, water and energy in your garden!

Information will be provided on local programs, through Santa Monica, on sustainable gardening and landscaping.