I have not posted to this blog for a while, but today I came across something that HAD to be shared!
Recently, I received a e-newsletter from one of our clients, and it listed all sorts of ways one could get involved, one of which was "dowloading a Causeworld application." Being the curious bee that I am, I had to go check this out, and I found something totally amazing!
So, what is CauseWorld? The basic concept is a twist on the GPS-based social media apps like FourSquare that are the new Twitter of the social media fanatics. For those who are not super clear on FourSquare, it's a GPS based app--you go somewhere, "check in" and all your friends get to see that you're there. You leave, you "check out" and all your friends see you leaving. To those who are thinking: "why would anyone want to use this?", just remember, this is also what lots of people thought in the early days of Twitter.
So, what's CauseWorld? So, you go to your local grocery store, "check in", buy some groceries. Just for "check in", one of the three major sponsors of the app (Kraft Foods, Citi, and P&G) give you "Karma" points. Once you accrue enough Karma points, you can "donate" them to a participating nonprofit of your choice, and these points are equivalent to doing good things for an organization. For example, donating 95 Karma points to American Forests plants a tree, etc.
Why is this so neat? This allows you to "do good" while 1) not actually donating money (this can be very appealing in a tough economic environment) 2) getting "rewarded" for doing things you would normally do in your day anyway 3)giving you "choice" in how your Karma is spent (you get to choose the nonprofit and also when you use the Karma points), and, as with all social media 4) you get to see how others are spending their Karma points, 5) and if you are Kraft, Citi, or P&G, well, you get super good corporate social citizen Karma and PR points!
I've already downloaded this free app on my phone (5 free Karma points just for doing that), and can't wait to start using it. (Note how I am virally promoting this app and no one is even paying me to do this!)
This week I am joining us 150 Millennials in Chicago and thousands more on the Web will gather to discuss, debate and act on timely topics and ideas on civic engagement and public policy at the Mobilize.org Democracy 2.0 Award Summit Exploring the Millennial Generation’s ROI. BusinessBoomer will provide live and interactive webcasts from Tuesday, November 17th to Friday, November 20th.
Live webcast and webcast schedule are below:
[MOBILIZE.ORG WEBCAST SCHEDULE]
PRE-PARTY: NOV 17TH
7:00 PM: Interviews at the Welcome Reception - The Hard Rock Café Chicago Meet some of the participants and organizers as BusinessBoomer host Arabella Santiago finds out why they’re there and what civic engagement means to them. DAY 1: NOV 18TH 9:00 AM: Summit Introduction - Maya Enista, CEO of Mobilize.org, to talk about the week’s events and set the stage for Millennials to discuss solutions on a local, state and federal level. 9:15 AM: Welcome Keynote - David Walker, Peter G. Peterson Foundation, “The Economic Reality for the Millennial Generation.” (Webcast viewers are invited to participate during the Q & A session.)
9:50 AM: Keynote Speaker - Tamara Draut, DEMOS
10:40 AM: Introductions at the tables and conversation on “Which topic is most urgent and why?” 11:15 AM: Short Table Report Outs 12:00 PM: David Hiller, President of the McCormick Foundation introduces David Smith and Shawn Healy and the IL Civic Health Index. Webcast Break
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM: Dinner (with keynote conversation by Diane Ty, AARP) and Group Reports
DAY 2: NOV 19TH 10:30 AM: Next Steps conversation on priorities from Day 1 11:00 AM: Introduction of Award Summit Process and Expert Sessions 12:00 PM: Lunch off-site 1:00 – 2:00 PM: Millennials in Philanthropy (Rusty Stahl, Executive Director of EPIP and John Sirek, Program Officer of The McCormick Foundation) 2:00 – 5:00 PM: Expert sessions – competing teams and participants engage in rounds of expert advice on their proposals.
DAY 3: NOV 20TH 9:00 AM: Breakfast conversation with Bill Hoagland, and Introduction of celebrity judges. 9:30 AM: Grant Summit Final Round Begins 12:00 PM: Closing Lunch and Winners Announced, Closing remarks: Michael Peterson 1:30 PM: Event Close
Recently, I came across an interesting site. Games that Give appears to be a relatively new site that allows you to play your favorite online games, like say, Sudoku, for free, and the site donates 70% of its ad revenue (say you happen to click on an ad while bursting with joy from solving that Sudoku puzzle), to charities that are part of the site. As a Sudoku addict, I could not be happier about this, but as a fundraiser, it is even more exciting.
So far, relatively few organizations have signed up for this. Users can pick the organization they "play" for. There is now a Facebook Application as well, and I imagine a mobile app is not too far off.
This site is in line with loads of other sites that have cropped up over the past few years like FreeRice.com and others where users are doing something that is useful or fun in their every day lives, and thru ad revenue, doing some good as well. There are shopping sites like this--buy an item thru the site, part of the revenue goes to charity. EBay's been in the game for a long time where you can donate part of the sale of your auction item to a charity of your choice, the list goes on and on.
The key here is that inventive folks on the web are finding ways to marry what people do on the Internet every day to a useful by product. Most of us have gotten used to seeing ads anyway, so why not have those ads do some good if we click on it?
The fundraiser's dilemma, is of course, how to keep up with all these sites, which ones to sign up for, how to even find out about them, and how to get ahead of the game.
One useful resource that all of us fundraisers can take advantage of is the Case Foundation's Gear Up for Giving initiative, going on right now. According to the Case Foundation, Gear Up for Giving: "which is presented in partnership with the Goldhirsh Foundation and See3, includes a series of Q&A sessions with social media experts and video training, along with a compilation of the best resources & tools from across the web for nonprofits and social media. The trainings and resources are free and available to any nonprofit organization or individual that has an interest in learning how to use social media tools to galvanize their networks, raise awareness for their causes and increase donations."
At the end of the 30 day initiative, "nonprofits everywhere will have an opportunity to put their learning into practice when we launch the 2009 America's Giving Challenge, enabling them to compete for donations and raise awareness for their causes."
By day (and sometimes night), I am a strategy director at a leading database marketing agency working with non-profit clients. In my spare time, I love to work on this blog (and a few others that are more hobby-related). I would share with you my "about me" section on MySpace, but then you wouldn't take me seriously.
A huge thanks to my friend Menachem Wecker for creating the art for the header on this blog. In addition to his many other talents, Menachem is author of the Iconia blog, a blog about religion and art.