Archive for December, 2007

Do You…Razoo?

Social networking gains momentum everyday. My latest find includes the beta Razoo. Razoo is a New Zealand word for a small coin. Founder J. Sebastian Traeger likes to think that a lot of something small good can turn into something great. According to the website:

Razoo is a community united around making a positive difference in the world. Where passion leads to action, and a whole lot of collective good comes from individual contributions.

Razoo is a for-profit online community where members can create profiles, join groups, create groups, post comments, share blogs, support causes and keep updated on new events in the non-profit world. Causes include a full range from saving the ocean to aiding the homeless to international development. In turn, Razoo then donates grant money to the causes who host the most members. I encourage you to check the site out. The best past about the site is that you do not have to be a member to browse.

Razoo has recently been featured in the Washington Post. Both articles come from December 07:

  1. Social Networking for Social Causes. This article talks about Razoo and other social networking applications that work for the social good.
  2. Social Networking for the Socially Minded. This article provides more background on how the internet start-up began and its history.

December 31, 2007 at 4:44 am Leave a comment

Blogging: Finding Magellan in an Identity Crisis

After my last post, I received an email asking how other non-profits or social causes could also use blogging technology for its purposes. Below, I list someways blogging can be used by non-profits as well as some strengths and limitations of the technology.

First Things First

I come with the view that like in the commercial sector, finding an umbrella term to put all non-profit marketing and advertising under is difficult. Research studies have been explored, textbooks written, debates held and still universal definitions are lacking. Some used to think a few years back the IMC, Integrated Marketing Communications would be the end-all classification system for advertising. Yet, this debate still continues. Do we put public relations under this? Why the term marketing? Where does viral belong? etc.

Therefore, just like the commercial advertising arena suffers from an identity crisis, so does the community of non-profit/health communications/social causes/etc. Though, I might classify many of these as social marketing. But then, where do we put corporate social responsibility or cause marketing? (These both have profit aims…) So, yikes! Is there overlap? Is overlap the right word? What are we to do? The questions and debates continue. In discussing these terms and looking at definitions, I am going to offer up that is depends largely on your end objective. I agree there’s more to this debate, but for practical considerations (and when looking to use blogging technology) I say, first determine your end objective to decide if, and what type, of blogging is right for you.

Examples of Blogging Being Used by Non-Profits:

Citizen’s League in Minnesota. They have two blogs. One that is updated with public policy news, trends and updates. The other who is from the point of view of a person which has similar content, but the first person point of view adds relevance and personalizes the stories.

Children Matter. A Christian non-profit ministry who uses a blog for its message.

Strengths of Blogging

1. A blog can provide an outlet for stories to be told regarding the issue or project. This can also be created as a way to get more involved and to increase participation. It can also make the message for personal and relevant. Interplast has their volunteers upload information and share stories about their experiences regarding their work site.

2. Helps build an online community. This includes expanding your traditional media lists to include other bloggers, online social networks, websites and more.

3. Blogging has no geographic limitations unlike a lot of traditional media (tv, radio, magazine, newspapers).

4. Requires small tangible finances. But, may require more employee/volunteer hours and time to manage.

5. Can boost media coverage by expanding your traditional media list to include fellow bloggers, social networks, online communities, websites and more.

6. Put your already-drafted press releases to good work by setting up an RSS feed on your blog to provide up-to-date news about your organization. this allows others to know what the organization is up to, gives those interested more information to talk about and can increase your media coverage.

7. Provide information and resources via a blog. A blog is one way to provide the same information you could on a website or brochure, but in an interactive, fun, and personal manner. For example, instead of telling what the participants do throughout the year. Have the voice of your blog be told through the ‘Volunteer Sarah’ and give it a diary feel.

8. From your blog, you can also provide information on how to get involved, donate, volunteer, and participate. This could include a sign-up page for the weekly email blasts.

9. Blogs also are a way to track, organize and build a resource for an organization/cause. If it comes time to write a report, you can search your blog for all relevant information regarding ‘XYZ’ and poof- you have all the information you need already written.

10. Use a blog as your organization’s website.

11. For good feedback, use your blog as a sounding board or discussion forum. Also, blog stats and analytics could help you find more target audiences interested in your cause.

12. Add your blog to the Nonprofit Blog Exchange using this form to automatically get plugged into an online community and to increase traffic.

Limits of Blogging

1. If you use a free service (blogger, wordpress, etc.), sometimes you are limited with the type of content you can post. Examples including: limitations for customizing options including how you organize content or the design unless you have someone with the expertise to do so, or upgrade your blog service.

2. The domain name can be tricky. Unless you want to purchase a domain, your domain name will (usually) include the blog service you are using. However, domains can be purchased for something like $10/year. This blog also provide many helpful tips and resources for creating your own domain.

3. Must provide quality information at a consistent rate.

More Sources

Should Your Non-Profit Launch a Blog?

10 Ways Nonprofits Can Use blogging

Have Fun * Do Good

Blogs for Non-Profit Orgs

5 Tips to Starting a New Blog

December 30, 2007 at 5:06 pm 1 comment

If You Happen to be in the area…

What does the headcoach of the Green Bay Packers Mike McCarthy, the Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, philanthropist Dick Trammel and KNWA anchor Matt Turner have in common?

They will all be present at the NWA MS Dinner of Champions.

Believing in transparency, I wanted to share with you a project I am involved with in the NW Arkansas area. Due to a lack of current resources, we’ve made the organization’s ‘website’ be a blog. You can find it at www.msquestforacure.wordpress.com.

The organization is called MS QUEST FOR A CURE, developed under the National MS Society, MS QUEST is the NWA Arkansas branch. I’m not trying to promote any one cause over anything, I just add information I am knowledgeable about, have on hand and have experience with. Being so, two posts now discuss Multiple Sclerosis. A bigger variety of information will be included, but hey, we’re in the blog-land right? We want to talk about what we’re doing and who we are. Our experiences help make us who we are. So, I hope you enjoy the posts, =)

December 27, 2007 at 12:32 am Leave a comment

The Gift of Giving

As a girl, I tend to want to give and receive gifts that are personal, meaningful and memory making. Thus, I wanted to highlight some ways to give the literal gift of ‘giving’ this holiday season. (And, judging on my google search of ‘gift of giving,’ many others are feelin’ the same way.) Here are some ideas on giving this season (in no particular order):

1. Make it Fun. Dig celebrity gossip and also enjoy doing good? DO Something magazines lists the Top 11 of ‘Celebs Gone Good’ ideas to donate. Items range from supporting Brad Pitt’s initiative to rebuild a green New Orleans to celebrity auction items to real-life social and environmental issue-focused documentaries and DVDs (Sicko, Blood Diamond, Hotel Rwanda, etc.)

2. Give time, Volunteer! Go to VolunteerMatch, an internet service that allows you to type in your zipcode and bippity, boppity…boom! a list of places needing volunteers appears right before your eyes. Not only can volunteers find places to serve, but non-profits can also place listings for the type of volunteers they need.

3. Go local. Contact your local community center or school and help locate families or communities in need. My family and I, along with a group of friends, took a single-working mother and her two children shopping, so they could feel empowered in providing a Christmas for each other. Needless to say, it was a greater gift for my parents and I that this family welcomed us, and allowed us to spend an evening with their family. Giving doesn’t have to be to a grand, official non-profit or cause, there are those in every community who could use some holiday kindness. And though it may take more time or perseverance than writing a check, the rewards and memory are more than words can define.

One man, reflects on his view of giving:

“Happiness comes from giving, not getting. If we try hard to bring happiness to others, we cannot stop it from coming to us also. To get joy, we must give it, and to keep joy, we must scatter it.” – John Templeton

Happy holidays this wonderful season! =)

December 24, 2007 at 1:59 am Leave a comment

Invisible Children: From Grassroots to Mega Movement

You may have heard of Invisible Children. And no, this is nothing from a science-fiction movie.

Movement Image

Invisible Children is a non-profit that benefits children in war-torn Uganda. It began as a grassroots efforts in 2003 when 3 college students set off on an adventure to Uganda. With only a video camera to document their travels, they discovered a 17-year war they had never heard of where children were being forced to be child soldiers.

Their biggest observation was witnessing hundreds of children marching every night, miles upon miles, from their homes in the country to Gulu in hopes of avoiding being forced into the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army). The children shared their stories with the students about their nightly commute and the struggles they face everyday. What came through clear, was that the children wanted more education.

Upon witnessing what they did, the students turned their videos into a documentary and showed it to anyone and everyone. The movement grew into the Global Night Commute , where Americans all over the country walked miles to sleep outside within their own cities, hoping for others to notice the situation in Uganda.

Since the Global Commute, Invisible Children’s movement has grown…a lot. Currently, it has a fully developed website, a visible child scholarship program, a bracelet campaign, Invisible Children Campus Movie Tour bus, teacher exchange program, internships, a world tour and more. For more information on the war or the movement, I highly recommend visiting and browsing the site.

I mention it here for three reasons:

1) I think it’s a great example of how a grassroots movement can go from a few individuals to an international movement…and how a good story, enhanced by media capabilities can be powerful beyond words.

2) I wanted to highlight how collaboration can lead to a more effective campaign and cause. This movement was begun by college students by has even hit the steps of Washington by gaining the interests of the media, policy makers, world leaders, government officials, special interest groups, partnering NGOs and more.

3) I wanted to emphasis the great use of capitalizing on your target and interested audiences. This movement begun by showing the movie at house parties and on college campuses, working to gain that one-on-one interaction combined with powerful stories and powerful media. Also, by targeting college campuses first (especially with Generation M), it made for a strong network to grow the movement. And, for great resources (students) to tap into to also promote the cause – they still believe that anything is possible, have more flexible schedules, want to feel like they matter, want to be the change in the world, have the technology know how, have some education and many other useful attributes…and with Invisible Children working to aide the children of Uganda…this is an audience college students can more closely relate towards, and as history shows, turned out quite successful.

Bravo. =)

(You can watch the original Invisible Children video here.)

December 21, 2007 at 8:20 am Leave a comment

Web 3.0: In Response to an ‘Official’

This is a response-post to a different blog titled, “Web 3.0: An Official Definition.’

“Give me liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely
according to conscience, above all liberties.” -John Milton

This post is not to criticize any points, but to bring up a point for discussion. According to Calacanis.com, the official Web 3.0 definition is as such:

  • Web 3.0 is defined as the creation of high-quality content and services produced by gifted individuals using Web 2.0 technology as an enabling platform.

My concern is with the term ‘gifted individuals.’ Web 2.0 is technology that has given a voice to many individuals, who previously, were left unheard. I think that our forefathers, John Milton and John Stuart Mills would be beaming at the bursting free marketplace of ideas. Indeed, some believe that the web allows us a real chance at really discussing issues and revealing new truths. I wonder what Milton and Mills would think of technology designed to hand that freedom over to select ‘gifted individuals.’ This post is not to argue against the technology. I am all about it. Instead, this post is to ask a question on how that technology will be used, especially when dangerous gray areas lead away from information of many, to the information of the select few.

In the post, the author also states:

Web 3.0 throttles the “wisdom of the crowds” from turning into the “madness of the mobs” we’ve seen all to often, by balancing it with a respect of experts.’ Web 3.0 is a return to what was great about media and technology before Web 2.0: recognizing talent and expertise, the ownership of ones words, and fairness. It’s time to evolve, shall we?”

I think the author makes some great points, and I understand his general idea. However, I am cautious to say that the new Web 3.0 technology is only for experts and gifted individuals….and will be saving us from any mobs. With this technology, who will decide what is talent, and what is expertise? Where will the power be left? For myself, I welcome the new technology, yet at the same time, I like being able to read the spectrum of opinions and decide for myself where the truth lies.

My view on this other blog’s post was also formed when I saw that he censored the comments towards his post. Though I understand his point of wanting constructive dialogue, I’m glad he could outline his expertise on what a free discussion should entail. =)

December 19, 2007 at 5:25 pm 1 comment

Web 3.0: Is it just semantics?

The answer is yes…and no.

The difference between Web 2.0 and Web 3.0 goes beyond a semantical argument and is a legit and growing concept despite groups that classify it as just the latest web-marketing diction craze. Like many terms (including the recent discussion on the social marketing list serv in trying to define social marketing from social media marketing, there are many different opinions defining the perimeters of Web 3.0 and different hypotheses on how the future of the web will progress.
Since I began this blog a week ago, I’ve had a couple inquiries asking: What is Web 3.0? This post hopes to explain this concept to those who are hearing of the term for the first time.

Web 3.0 is an extension of the web evolution from Web 1.0, to Web 2.0 and now, to the growing Web 3.0. Web 1.0 is usually described as ‘read-only’ content, while Web 2.0 was officially launched at the first Web 2.0 Conference in 2005. In brief, Web 2.0 describes a website’s capabilities as collaborative, customizable, interactive and can be shared. Web 2.0 can describe technologies such as blogs, wikis, tags, RSS feeds, user generated content and sites such as del.icio.us, Facebook, Flickr, MySpace and YouTube. Tim O’Reilly’s article describes Web 2.0 in great detail and is an excellent source to begin understanding the Web 2.0 world. The article also includes a diagram outlining the differences between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0.

Web 3.0, on the other hand, describes the next level. PC Magazine gives a full article on this topic, but I will try to summarize it in brief. Some describe Web 3.0 as being 3-D, having artificial intelligence components, new web service applications, and more. Web 3.0 may also be referred to as the Semantic Web (hence, the play on words…). The idea is that machines and services will be more advanced and better equipped to help consumers read, understand and navigate the web. Another term describing Web 3.0 is the Pervasive Web, meaning web technology is everywhere. This means taking the web beyond computers, cellphones, PDAs and other hand-held technologies to more, everyday life technologies and situations.

Feel free to comment on how you personally would define Web 3.0 according to your view/experience. Or, offer your prediction on which way the wild, wild web may go.

December 19, 2007 at 2:41 am 1 comment

An Open Market: Social Marketing Resources

10 Quick SM Start-Up Resources

Due to the roadblock that there aren’t very many full social marketing graduate programs existing in the United States (to my knowledge)(sound the deans, I think there’s a gap in the market up for grabs), as a fellow student, I wanted to offer some insights on educational opportunities for gaining social marketing expertise. And, some of the resources I myself have employed to keep learning, keep growing…

1. Own your education.

2. University of Southern Florida: Graduate Certificate, Social Marketing in Public Health

3. Numerous Workshops, one of which is Social Marketing University.

4. Contact working social marketing professionals. Read their blogs, websites, etc.

5. Subscribe to the SM Quarterly.

6. Currently, social marketing is rooted in public health, so many practitioners get a MPH or masters in public health communications, etc. (John Hopkins, George Washington both have these programs. I’ve also heard that the following schools have great health/social focuses in their research: Georige, Florida, UNC-Chapel Hill, Penn, and UT-Austin.) So, there’s more options.

7. However, social marketing continues to grow in other areas: civil issues, social issues, international issues, environmental behavior, etc. So, taking related coursework is helpful. Click here for a full listing of social marketing educational programs known to date.

8. The CDC has a great list of programs for those interested in professional development in the health marketing department.
9. Subscribe to the social marketing listserv run by professor and SM researcher Dr. Alan Andreason. Or, subscribe to the ‘Social Marketing in Higher Education’ list serv, run by Jim Grizzell from Cal Poly Pomona.

10. Nedra Weinreich, of the blog Spare Change and Weinreich Communications, has a full listing of resources and shares her story on how she entered into a SM career. She also offers more resources and information on how to prepare for a SM career.

Feel free to add more! =)

December 17, 2007 at 4:30 am 1 comment

What’s a Social Marketing Business Model

For an oral history I conducted the other week, I interviewed Bob Bernstein, founder and CEO of Bernstein-Rein Advertising in Kansas City, Missouri. It was a fabulous interview with a very respectable, admirable man whose passionate about advertising. After the interview, he asked me a few questions about what I was studying and my interests. Thus, we got into a conversation on social marketing. He also added that BR has a non-profit department. Then, he followed-up saying:

Now, if you could figure out a way to make that department in an ad agency profitable, now there you have an idea as he explained that though he is happy to lend BR’s services, it all counts towards outputs.

Thus, this brings me to the conversation: Can social marketing campaigns be integrated into a business model that stays in the black? Many of you out there involved with social marketing agencies may have dealt with this issue.

These are some of my ideas, but I’m curious how it really works:
1) Offer services at a discounted rate.
2) Offer normal services, but market your expertise in social marketing to gain the clientel, showing how it would be worth investing in social marketing rather than taking the left-over pro-bonos a traditional agency may offer.
3) Explain to an agency the non-monetary values in investing in social marketing. These include: increased welfare for society, but also for the agency, possible increased recognition. Often times, with non-profit and social marketing campaigns, the agency is given more creative leeway. In addition these types of campaigns are gaining more exposure and have been recognizzed in some of the top advertising awards ceremonies (i.e. the Cannes Lions.)
4) Find funding through a collaborative approach with many groups towards the SM campaign.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

December 14, 2007 at 10:13 am Leave a comment

Distinguishing Experiences

Going off of the topic of the day from the Social Marketing Listserv, I would like to add to the conversation some of my experiences when people get social marketing confused with social media marketing. (For more information regarding the differences, click here.)

When I tell many friends, family or professors that I’m studying social marketing as my focus in graduate school, oftentimes it is embraced by excitement. This is then followed by a huge conversation about all the cool, new technology that’s coming out. Which to note, I also do enjoy because I like talking about new technology. But, I thirst for full conversations with those practicing the real social marketing.

Another time, I was interviewing to help volunteer for a new business in town. Knowing the confusion surrounding the term ‘social marketing,’ I started out early in the interview describing it in brief-length…the application of the marketing mix to change behavior, do good…mostly found in health communications but is branching out into other realms…main distinction is that its end objective is not related to commercial profit” and so on…After my 2-3 minute speal and promotion of social marketing, the interviewer exclaimed, ‘Great! You might have a few great ideas for our blog and can work with our IT person.” Now, if this was framed in a social marketing context, then I would have been overjoyed. But, he was getting it confused I believe with social media marketing.

A third experience. I was at the annual dinner for Kansas City’s Sister Cities Association and began talking with a gentleman. He asked what I was studying and I said, “Well, you could describe it as kind of like non-profit advertising.” Which, understandably, he asked what exactly that was. So I replied, well, the technical term of what I’m studying is social marketing, but sometimes that’s confusing –” and he jumped right in and knew all about it! It was a first for me, a very exciting first. I wanted to talk to this older gentleman all night! He said that he thought social marketing will be the next great realm as more organizations see its benefits, etc. and that it was a really exciting area to be in. It made my night.

Curious, what are some fun experiences you have had when distinguishing between social marketing and social media marketing?

December 13, 2007 at 5:52 pm 3 comments

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