Archive | December, 2012

Creating Meaningful Content To Catalyze Change

19 Dec

We’re recognizing game changing careers and inspiring acts of generosity beyond deep-pocketed philanthropy. The Series profiles continue today with Giselle Diaz Campagna, a Most Generous Social Media Maven. It continues through the winter with most Generous Designers, Tech Founders, Wall Streeters, Marketing Gurus and Filmmakers. Follow the series every Monday, Wednesday and Friday  for in-depth profiles of all our honorees.

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How Giselle Diaz Campagna took an Indian organization with no social media profile to become a powerful presence online.

Giselle Diaz Campagna is a media entrepreneur whose daily mission is to actively promote social change. Our list of social media mavens would not not complete without recognizing this outstanding professional from the Catchafire community whose pro bono work using social media inspires us. She is the founder of Bodhi Media Labsand in her spare time doubles as a yoga teacher, snowboard instructor, experimental artist, and die-hard social activist. Personally motivated by organizations that give a voice to children, she eagerly accepted the challenge to help Sahasra Deepika (one of Catchafire’s partner organizations) compete in the Chase Community Giving Campaign. With only 325 Facebook likes the tiny, volunteer-based organization that houses and educates underprivileged children in Bangalore relied on Diaz Campagna’s creative and strategic storytelling skills. After long nights of collaboration and without spending a cent, they found their story in the children. With Diaz Campagna’s help and in true underdog spirit, Sahasra Deepika got enough votes to be one of the winners of the campaign and received $10,000 to send their children to college.

Click here to read the full article on FastCo.Exist.

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The New Nonprofit Is Transparent, Open, And Engaged

17 Dec

We’re recognizing game changing careers and inspiring acts of generosity beyond deep-pocketed philanthropy. The Series profiles continue today with Beth Kanter, a Most Generous Social Media Maven. It continues through the winter with most Generous Designers, Tech Founders, Wall Streeters, Marketing Gurus and Filmmakers. Follow the series every Monday, Wednesday and Friday  for in-depth profiles of all our honorees.

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Beth Kanter, whose blog is a clearinghouse for information on how organizations can use new technology for good, is rethinking how a nonprofit acts in the digital world.

When Beth Kanter kept cropping up as a personal inspiration for some of the social media mavens we’ve been covering in the Generosity Series, we decided we needed to get her take on generosity too.

For years Beth Kanter’s blog has been a clearinghouse of information and training for nonprofits looking to use social media to advance their causes. She’s written two handbooks on the subject: The Networked Nonprofit, co-authored with Allison Fine and Measuring the Networked Nonprofit, with co-author KD Paine. In 2009, she wasnamed one of the most influential women in technology byFast Company and one of BusinessWeek’s Voices of Innovation for Social Media.

Click here to read the full article on FastCo.Exist.

We Survived to See Another Day

13 Dec
Kigali, Rwanda

Kigali, Rwanda

Last Monday night a handful of professionals gathered in the offices of the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) to hear staff members explain the inner workings of the organization.

Laura Spano, a Program Officer specializing in genocide prevention addressed the group, “In Rwanda there is a Kinyarwandan word, Mwaramutsai, which means, ‘we survived to see another day.'” She pulled up the sleeve of her sweater to reveal the phrase tattooed along the inside of her forearm. Devon Hirth, a front-end web developer who recently relocated from St. Louis, MO, leaned in for a closer look.

Laura and her colleagues had set out trays of cookies and coffee for Catchafire’s first “field trip,” an initiative designed to give professionals an inside glimpse of nonprofits in the community. “Our professionals really want to know they’ve made an impact when they do their pro bono projects,” said Adrienne Schmoeker, a Community Manager at Catchafire. “We thought it would be powerful for them to hear it directly from an organization, to give them the chance to see for themselves how much good these projects do.”

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The professionals, who included Summer Strauch, an Executive Producer in television, and Katie Sherman, a freelance copywriter, took up every available seat, a few perched on desks, and listened as Development Associate Julia Diegel carefully outlined WFUNA’s various programs focused on peace and security, human rights, and sustainable development. “We’re not the UN,” she said. “We’re UN cheerleaders. We promote the work of the UN through the local on-the-ground actors all over the world.”

“People ask why in the world I would ever want to work in genocide,” Laura said with a laugh. She explained that the lightning-quick decision to take a radical direction in her career path came on a visit home after graduating from college. She watched the film Hotel Rwanda, the true story of the 1994 genocide of 800,000 Tutsi minorities by members of the Hutu ethnic majority. “I couldn’t sleep. Bad movie for insomnia! But the next morning, I came downstairs and told my parents I was going there to help.”

She relocated to Rwanda shortly after when she landed a position with Never Again Rwanda, a local grassroots organization committed to addressing divisions between young Rwandans post-genocide.

“Rwanda is beautiful and green. No garbage, no plastic bags on the ground. It looks like nothing could have happened there. But the first person I met, the woman who had volunteered to pick me up from the airport, told me she had watched her father die, slaughtered by her neighbor. She still sees him every day.”

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Laura Spano and Kimberely Hall, WFUNA

“You work for a nonprofit to feel good and do something good for the world,” said Kimberely Hall, WFUNA’s Digital Media and Education Officer. “But there’s so much competition for funding. The trend now is that NGOs (nongovernmental organizations) are learning to behave more like businesses, improve their branding, show their competitive advantage. We are grateful to learn from the corporate world.”

Kimberely listed the professionals who had come to WFUNA through Catchafire. “Brooke Rothman is awesome,” she said, describing a professional who had completed a brand messaging project for for a program that inspires youths to become global-change agents. “She had us make a collage to help us understand what the branding needed to get across. She’s the one who thought up the title Mission: Possible.”

Kimberely fished around in her drawer and produced a brochure with colorful, expertly designed images. “We were struggling to make people understand the impact of our Go Beyond Fellows Program, where fellows in five different countries get corporate partners to come up with solutions for climate change. So Sash Cantanzarite, [a Designer], created this Infographic, which made it really clear for everyone.”

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Devon Hirth

The evening’s presentation had ended, but the professionals showed no signs of wanting to leave. Small clusters formed around the Program Officers for more questions. “What kind of project do you need next?” asked Phil Chacko, a Management Consultant whose last project was a Market Analysis for the International Free and Open Source Solutions Foundation (iFOSSF).

“We’re going to the places where the conflict is actually happening and working on solutions,” said Laura. “We need a storyteller to bring our objectives to life, not just statistics.” She nibbled thoughtfully on a cookie, continuing, “I work with one woman in Armenia who said living there, between Turkey and Azerbaijan, was like living in a house with no windows because the borders are closed to the two countries. But now, with our work, she feels like she has a way to ensure a genocide – something that has deeply affected her country – does not happen again. She said her house has windows. Those are the kinds of stories we want to tell.

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Twitter’s Manager For Social Innovation On How Social Is Shaping The Future Of Nonprofits

13 Dec

We’re recognizing game changing careers and inspiring acts of generosity beyond deep-pocketed philanthropy. The Series profiles continue today with Claire Diaz-Ortiz, a Most Generous Social Media Maven. It continues through the winter with most Generous Designers, Tech Founders, Wall Streeters, Marketing Gurus and Filmmakers. Follow the series every Monday, Wednesday and Friday  for in-depth profiles of all our honorees.

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Claire Diaz-Ortiz works on the microblogging service’s social good and cause marketing initiatives, so she has a perfect view of how social media is helping organizations connect their stories to people around the world–and how that will change how we give back.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz was one of Twitter’s early adopters. In 2007, tweeting from a remote orphanage in Kenya with spotty internet access, she reported on the children she was living with and the creation of her nonprofit Hope Runs, which is dedicated to using running to empower AIDS orphans in Kenya. Twitter’s Creative Director Biz Stone tapped her to come on board as the Manager of Social Innovation in 2009. At Twitter, Diaz-Ortiz manages philanthropic, social good, and cause marketing initiatives, thinking hard about how to help nonprofits and social enterprises make best use of social media to further their missions. Last year, she wrote and released Twitter for Good: Change the World One Tweet at a Time. Most recently she’s been training powerful religious leaders to use Twitter to connect with their congregants en masse.

Click here to read the full article on FastCo.Exist.

How The Founder Of Charity:Water Went From Packing Clubs To Building Wells

10 Dec

We’re recognizing game changing careers and inspiring acts of generosity beyond deep-pocketed philanthropy. The Series profiles continue today with Scott Harrison, a Most Generous Social Media Maven. It continues through the winter with most Generous Designers, Tech Founders, Wall Streeters, Marketing Gurus and Filmmakers. Follow the series every Monday, Wednesday and Friday  for in-depth profiles of all our honorees.

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Scott Harrison talks about his crisis of faith and a journey that took him from a debaucherous world of club promotion to becoming a powerful force for clean water in Africa.

In 2004, Scott Harrison was a nightclub promoter in New York City when he experienced a “crisis of conscience” over what he felt was a decadent, empty life. So he ran away and spent the next two years volunteering on board a hospital ship offering free health care in West Africa. In Liberia, he learned that most of the diseases they encountered were due to unsafe water. Back stateside, he threw himself a 31st birthday party and raised $15,000 to build wells in Uganda. That was the start of charity:water, a non-profit with the lofty mission of ensuring safe, clean drinking water for every person on the planet. Its “100% Model” ensures all public donations go directly to the field for wells and water; wealthy angel investors and foundations take care of staff salaries and overhead.

Click here to read the full article on FastCo.Exist.

How Christy Turlington Is Using Her Star Power To Help Mothers Around The World

7 Dec

We’re recognizing game changing careers and inspiring acts of generosity beyond deep-pocketed philanthropy. The Series profiles continue today with Christy Turlington Burns, a Most Generous Social Media Maven. It continues through the winter with most Generous Designers, Tech Founders, Wall Streeters, Marketing Gurus and Filmmakers. Follow the series every Monday, Wednesday and Friday  for in-depth profiles of all our honorees.

photo: Josh Estey

photo: Josh Estey

The super model is using her platform to help bring aid and awareness to the hundreds of thousands of preventable pregnancy related deaths around the world.

After the birth of her first child, in 2003, former supermodel Christy Turlington Burns experienced post-partum hemorrhaging, a life-threatening complication. She recovered quickly, thanks to good health and top shelf Western medical care, but the experience got her thinking, “What would have happened to less fortunate woman?” What she discovered changed her life: there are 287,000 pregnancy-related deaths each year and 90% of them are preventable. She set out to tell the story of some of these women in her documentary, No Woman No Cry. Following the film’s success, she launched a nonprofit, Every Mother Counts, dedicated to reducing mortality globally through education and mobilization. Their “mama kits” are distributed to pregnant Ugandan women and include the basic medical supplies they need for safe, hygienic delivery at the hospital, a solution that dramatically reduces the risk of death.

Click here to read the full article on FastCo.Exist.

Ed Norton’s Crowdrise Brings Fundraising (And Fun) To The Masses

5 Dec

We’re recognizing game changing careers and inspiring acts of generosity beyond deep-pocketed philanthropy. The Series profiles continue today with Edward Norton, a Most Generous Social Media Maven. It continues through the winter with most Generous Designers, Tech Founders, Wall Streeters, Marketing Gurus and Filmmakers. Follow the series every Monday, Wednesday and Friday  for in-depth profiles of all our honorees.

Photo: Kate Butler

Photo: Kate Butler

The serial philanthropists project is helping people raise tons of money for their causes, while keeping the attitude light and funny.

In October, and before an audience of 800 Chicago Ideas Week attendees, Norton announced,  “My name is Edward, and I’m a philanthropy addict.” He’s not kidding: the two-time Academy Award nominated actor also serves on the Boards of President Obama’s Committee for the Arts and Humanities; Enterprise Community Partners; Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust; the Signature Theater Company; the Friends of the High Line and the Conservation Lands Foundation. And he’s not an in-name-only kind of Board member; he really gets in there and works. When he’s not indulging his philanthropy issues, he writes, produces, directs and runs  marathons but most recently he’s launched a crazy popular grassroots, peer-to-peer crowdfunding platform, called Crowdrise. It’s a platform to allow anyone to fundraise for a cause, and it does it with a laid-back and funny attitude that undermines the self-seriousness of a lot of philanthropy. It’s also raised a ridiculous amount of money and cultivated a new generation of young  activists who manage not to take themselves too seriously in the process.

Click here to read the full article on FastCo.Exist.

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