Charity CHAMPs – get involved with microphilanthropy now!

Great video by CanadaHelps on online giving by sylvng

Charities are harnessing the power of social media to gain awareness, build communities and raise funds. Just how much has online social media enabled charities to reach out to donors? Check out this video prepared by CanadaHelps. It has some great stats surround what people do online, how they interact with charities, and what charities should be doing:

There’s no time like now for charities to start their presence in the online world, if they haven’t already done so!

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Call2Action Launched – now’s the time to fundraise with videos by sylvng

Back in July I had written about how Call2Action was looking for Beta testers – well now they’ve launched! I got the launch email on Sept 18th and meant to write about it then, but didn’t get to it until now. If you haven’t yet you should check the site out. It’s s a “viral action tool for nonprofits”, so if you’re a nonprofit looking for a way to run a viral campaign online, this is the site for you. The Call2Action video widget lets you bundle campaign videos with actions together, so that you don’t have to worry again about making a video that doesn’t tie direction with a call-to-action.

Videos are a powerful way to get the message across. Some of my favourites:

  1. Jennifer Connelly in Charity:Water’s campaign video
  2. Moving Windmills – William Kamkwamba’s of building windmills in Malawi, learning how to do it himself with a library book
  3. Cadbury’s bike campaign video – I first saw this on TV and it almost made me go buy chocolate immediately (not that I need much convincing)

The key? Keep it simple with a concise message, 1 minute or less is best. Doesn’t have to be fancy either – I’ve seen plenty of good videos with just sketches and voice-over.

What’s your favourite video that inspires you to make a difference?

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Twitanthropy – philanthropy one tweet at a time by sylvng

I have talked about a lot of microphilanthropies on this blog now, but I haven’t talked about many that are Twitter based. Partially I’ve been conscious that some readers out there are sick of hearing about Twitter. You may have read the TechCrunch post this weekend where they explained just why they’re covering Twitter so much, despite there being an obvious vocal outcry about too much hype for a very simple application. But like MG Siegler, I also believe that the power of Twitter is in its simplicity, and I just couldn’t help writing about a Twitter based microphilanthropy anymore.

So here’s one that has a very simple microphilanthropy to get involved with. It’s called Twitanthropy (@Twitanthropy), and it does fundraising for Water Charity . Funds go towards three things:

  1. A school water tank – total cost is $500; you can contribute by Tweeting and donating $5
  2. A latrine in Guatemala or Honduras – total cost is $110, contribute by Tweeting and donating $1
  3. A water filter in Guatemala – total cost is $37, asking contribution is $0.25 plus a Tweet

It’s all done through Tipjoy, which makes it extremely easy for you to Tweet and make a payment at the same time. In fact, the Tweet is mostly built out for you – all you have to do is press the button!

And that’s it. You won’t hear me touting Twitter again… for today. =)

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Mayor Miller, Don Tapscott, and revolutionizing government with social media by sylvng

What do Toronto’s Mayor Miller and Don Tapscott have in common? As it turns out, both are Twitter fans. For Don Tapscott, I’m obviously not surprised. For Mayor Miller, however, I would not have guessed that he won a competition against CityTV to get more Twitter followers. Then again, I have never been one to follow politics (or politicians) very closely.

I was at the Volunteer Toronto screening of Us Now yesterday night,and I enjoyed the documentary a lot. Volunteer Toronto will be making Us Now available for download later so you should definitely watch it. In line with Don Tapscott’s ideas around how corporations and production must change with the coming net generation, the documentary takes a look at how government must also change. One could make an analogy here – democracy as it exists today is like broadcast TV (we vote every few years and in between that time politicians broadcast to us), and just as TV is now giving way to two-way interactions through the Internet, government needs to change so that people are active participants at a more fundamental level.

Needless to say, I was very happy to hear the mayor Miller announce that the City of Toronto is making some of it’s data available to the public in the fall of 2009.  The mayor mentioned that will launch later this year, and will allow Torontonians to access several facets of public data, such as TTC vehicle locations (using GPS). This is in line with the mayor’s vision of turning Toronto into a leader of modern cities; Chicago opened its data to the public a while back. Once the data is available the city could benefit from a wide range of applications developed by local citizens (I don’t know what will happen when the data reveals that the TTC can be horribly off-schedule – just my personal opinion here – but at least there won’t be any more arguments regarding exactly how reliable TTC service is and we can let the data do the talking).

As for Don Tapscott’s remarks at the event, I’ve heard him speak and read enough of his books that nothing was new for me, but it was good to hear his thoughts on Us Now; his opinion is that the movie raises more questions than it answers. At this early stage where governments are just starting to grapple with what social media means for campaigning (think Obama) and policy making, I don’t think anybody can profess to have the answers. But it’s great to know people are thinking about what the right questions are to ask.

And just why am I writing about this topic on a blog about microphilanthropy? Getting involved with government may not be viewed as charitable, but once the city data is available, who knows? Maybe somebody will use the TTC data and partner with local charities to help disabled persons move around town, or deliver meals to the elderly better. That’s my hope, anyway, in which case maybe Charity CHAMPS can support some of those efforts.

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