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Social Media meets Social Responsibility

| Friday May 2nd, 2008 | 2 Comments

At a recent Web 2.0 Expo discussion, someone commented, “As there is an explosion of clean tech, there’s also an explosion of social media.”
Since that comment, it got me thinking about how social media can be a vehicle to move social change forward in the enterprise or non-profit. After all, it’s the biggest viral marketing machine that we got, especially if your organization’s resources are super limited.
This story involves an organization called Epic Change founded by Stacey Monk, who hopes to make her organization “big”:

Give us 3-4 years & imagine Kiva (except bigger loans to grassroots leaders of community improvement efforts rather than individual entrepreneurs) mixed with the RED campaign, (except our product designs will be designed to share the stories of children like Gideon and Glory).

EpicChange, like most non-profit organizations, needs to encourage more people to get involved. She used Twitter pretty well, even though some say it is an over-hyped social networking tool.
Why am I writing this? I agree with Dennis Howlett–this is an innovative approach to social change promotion, and it’s something social entrepreneurs could use to their advantage.
Read on and share your stories with us in the comments box.


If you’re not familiar with Twitter, just know that Twitter isn’t a big waste of time.
Stacey Monk reached out to Sam Lawrence in a friendly way to drive the buzz about Epic Change. They did that by developing a conversation or a debate around whether Sam Lawrence should let Stacey post on his blog about Epic Change. Sometimes creating suspense around a subject, and getting people curious about what Stacey would post about is enough to garner interest.
I will admit that, like others, I was intrigued and wanted to know what Stacey had to post as a guest on Sam Lawrence’s blog. And if this seems a bit abstract, well it is…creating a conversation about something on the internet is still a new concept to most people.
The debate from Sam Lawrence goes like this: “Stacey Monk emailed me a ghost written Go Big Always post. Should I post it?”
On Stacey’s side, she reached out to different people via Twitter to let them know that there would be news, but they had to pitch in to make the news happen.
Stacey’s post about Epic Change went live this morning. No trees were used in the creation of this publicity, no flyers to pass on to friends, and the word spread much quicker.
The result of Stacey’s efforts:
She tells me she got 13 new follows (on Twitter, which are equal to new advocates), 19 direct messages on Twitter, 14 email inquiries, several new volunteers, a post on ZDNet by Dennis Howlett and a starting donation of $110. She is also using Digg.com to drive further promotions.
If you look on to the ZDNet post, you’ll find some more information about what kinds of volunteers Stacey is looking for.
For those social enterprises out there who are wondering right now if this is something possible–be you non-profit or for-profit–so far, it seems like it is possible. For more information about how you can go viral with social media to drive your sustainability cause and get more people involved, chew on this: Groundswell by Forrester Researchers Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff.


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  • http://www.volunteermatch.org Robert Rosenthal

    Hi all,

    Yep, using social media to promote a grassroots cause is a great way to save money. The jury’s still out on whether nonprofits have the resources to really go big, though. It takes a lot of effort to keep up with the 24-hour Internet.

    Just curious, what’s wrong with just using Kiva.org and giving back through the (RED) campaign?

    Seems like we see new Web sites like Epicchange.org pop up all the time, but no one really make a compelling case whether the limited nonprofit/social change market can support another player.

    We have this same issue all the time at VolunteerMatch.org, when soon to launch Web sites contact us about “partnering”. The first question I always ask is How are you different?

    That said, I do like the Epic Change site though. Thanks for the post.

    Robert
    VolunteerMatch.org

  • http://www.bluewavemedia.ca Kimberly Beaven

    I think that the comment from Stacy Monk of Epic Change that, “She used Twitter pretty well, even though some say it is an over-hyped social networking tool” brings to light the fallacy concerning social media. Yes, interacting takes time but the rewards are amazing. Developing a relationship with people, conversing them before you ask for the contents of their wallet is a must. Non-profits that expect the money to rolling, or people to just find them and give are not realistic with the new demands of the economy and the death grip people have on their finances today.
    The old methods will not work anymore. People are more globally involved, interactive and intelligently using technology to connect. In order to meet the people where they are, non-profits have to step up to the video cam or mouse as it were.