After following the National Conference on Volunteering and Service via social media for the last three days, I’m moved not only by how effective and productive the speakers were, but how easily I was able to participate without physically being there. Twitter made it possible for me to get updates all day from conference participants, Four Square allowed me to meet up with founders of charities and business owners I hadn’t met before, and the NCVS website allowed me to watch some key conferences online.
To say that social media is the key to the future is not an understatement by any means. I believe we can utilize it to reach farther than we thought we could to accomplish what we believe in.
The best conference I viewed online is the “Here’s To YOU” Inspiration Event. You can view it online by going to the NCVS homepage and clicking on the title. If you want to sit back for an hour or two and get a great reminder of what it means to give back and feel great about the resources we have to give, watch this.
Thank you, NCVS, for making this conference so accessible, so moving and so enlightening.
If there ever was a place for artists to share their work on the web and gain exposure while networking with other artists, it is Total Art Soul. Artists of all genres can go here to house their work, participate in forum discussions with other artists, blog, Tweet and share their work. Active members get featured on the main blog, and random members are featured on the front page.
The best part of Total Art Soul is the fact that there is no pressure to advertise your art. It simply provides a platform of support for artists in order to encourage the creative process and facilitate ways for artists to share their work with others- the best way to naturally gain more visibility. Entirely community-driven, Total Art Soul reaches talented, creative people and gives them a platform to thrive even more. And the work on the site is GORGEOUS!!! It is well worth a visit to feast your eyes on some art that will knock your socks off.
Love+Water designs supports and thanks Total Art Soul for providing such a cool place for the artistic community to thrive. Spend a moment today looking at some of the art on the site- it’s like taking time to smell the roses of creativity.
What do you find most fulfilling about your work with WDM?
The first was winning the campaign to stop Kingsnorth, a new coal fired power station in the UK that would have emitted more carbon dioxide than Ghana – this would have been the first new coal power station to be built in the UK for over 20 years that would have caused more carbon emission than the whole of Ghana. I heard that EON, the power company planning the campaign, had shelved the idea, via a text message at an event we were holding with local activists, who were motivated by a mixture of local concerns and the devastating impacts of climate change on people’s lives around the world. It was amazing watching a group of people who were all revved up to oppose the plan move form confusion, to disbelief, to celebration (when someone finally said “um, I think that’s a campaign success!”). The second was walking out of the UN conference on climate change. This is something that almost surprises me to say, as I know I never thought that walking out of a UN conference would have been something I would have done some years ago. But the UN process at the talks in Copenhagen last year was being completely sidelined, and there was so much bullying and bribery of rich countries. When it came to the second week, and especially after civil society was restricted fro entering the conference, we realised that we had to do something that would really get the world to stand up and take notice. It was an amazing experience walking out of the conference with people from all over the world, demanding climate justice and heading out to meet with people who were being blocked for even entering the building. And thirdly, there was Bolivia. I went to Bolivia for the people’s conference on climate change and mother earth rights earlier this year. Whilst I was there, I met with so many inspiring and incredible people, and really saw why climate change was an issue that we couldn’t ignore – though in the north, we tend to think of climate change as something that will be a problem in the future, its so clear how its already impacting people’s lives in real time. It was really fantastic to be able to meet with them, and hear about their issues, and knowing that I could take this back and do something with it when I returned to the UK that could really have an impact in the longer term.
Scott Belsky, author of Making Ideas Happen, if also the founder of behance.net, the network of creative people who want to see their ideas evolve from living in their minds to living in the world. Scott and his team have created a network that offers multiple tools and practices that take artists and business starters step by step through making their projects come to life.
behance.net is the simplest reminder of how break a project down into bite-sized pieces to avoid getting overwhelmed and stay on track with your vision. It sounds too simple to work, but the secret is that it’s the most powerful tool to make your work come to life. And it doesn’t matter what kind of project you have- any idea can be seen through by using these tools.
Imagine if everyone spent just ten minutes a day working on a project they’re passionate about. Imagine if they implemented the tools behance.net offers to organize those ten minutes a day to achieve maximum efficiency. The world would most likely turn upside down with new creative, innovative work.
With behance.net, it’s already on its way…
We love behance.net!
Craig Newmark has the answer for many problems that could potentially surround being the leader of a big company: stay human. He defines his role in the company as customer service rep, focusing on listening to what the Craigslist audience has to say, and finding ways to ward off spammers and scammers. When I say he listens to his audience, I mean he really listens. Craig talks to his people, often responding to various questions or complements or complaints immediately via Twitter.
I honestly didn’t know how he found the time in one day to have discussions with so many people, but then I realized how much he must enjoy this interaction. Not only must he enjoy it, but it seems like it’s part of his mission: to keep things real. To not forget that the human element is what made Craigslist an enormous success in the first place, and to stay close to that aspect of the business. This is what is most exciting about Craig to me- he stays true to what works, and doesn’t make it any more complicated than that. This sets a HUGE precedence for peeps like me who believe in starting a business that works to connect us all in the most simple ways. And I suspect he’s having fun too.
Follow Craig on Twitter: @craignewmark
Sophie Bifield is a social media expert for businesses in the corporate world with an interest in teaching everything she knows to non-profits. She has spent tons of time researching why more non-profits aren’t currently taking advantage of social media trends, and has started a blog that is dedicated to sharing information on how to use social media to non-profits. The blog will be in full swing starting February of 2010, but you can follow Sophie on Twitter as she tweets about some golden opportunities for non-profits- and anyone interested in better utilizing social media.
Love and Water- What is the premise of your blog, PROFIT: CHARITY?
Sophie Bifield- It’s an information source for non-profits about using social media. I went through a series of interviews with non-profits, and I was being asked the same question repeatedly about how to use social media. I found that non-profits have a different set of challenges when it comes to social media, primarily with time. They don’t seem to have the time to devote to it, and many can’t yet hire someone to take it over for them. But also there’s not the same return on investment when it comes to social media, because they’re trying to raise money, not sell a product. So many are very resistant to using social media at all, and I think it’s a shame considering how much I know it can help them. So I decided to talk to as many non-profits as possible and gather as much information as I could and help them come up with ways in which to use social media to their advantage. I’m putting all the information together and I’m going to start blogging about it in February.
L&W- Can you touch on a few key ways social media can be useful to non-profits who aren’t sure whether to use it or not?
SB- It’s important first to clarify what they want to focus on. It sounded like a lot of the groups I spoke with are resistant because they don’t have a clear objective as to why they want to be online. A lot of them just thought they should be online because everybody else is, and then couldn’t figure out how to utilize it properly for them. So they chalked it up to, “well, it just doesn’t work.” So I think it’s important to define what they want, whether it’s raising more awareness, raising extra funds. And once they define that then they can move forward with it. Also, raising awareness is an excellent reason to be using social media because it does spread information and campaigns on a much larger scale. If the campaign is right and properly done, then they can definitely raise money through social media as well.
L&W- What are some of the benefits you’ve see charities gain from using social media?
SB- My favorite campaign right now is the Care campaign by Eric Carr. He’s calling himself the Million Dollar man and he’s using Twitter and Facebook to raise money and awarenss for his cause. But he’s also gone one step further in using this new technology where when he does his iron man he’s going to be attached to a feed-through online that will tell people online to see where his heart rate is, when he’s got a pain in his leg, anything he’s feeling while running the race. So it will allow people to tell him what to do in real time. So if his foot is hurting people can say “take a break” or “run faster.” His coach is going to help him pick out the best answers and tell him what to do at that time.
L&W- That’s amazing- what a great example of how to innovatively go the extra mile, so to speak, with social media.
SB- Yes, it’s a brilliant campaign, and all the social media outlets he’s using are effective because he has such a specific mission.
L&W- What is a good way for non-profits who don’t have any experience using social media to begin?
SB- Well as I said it’s first and foremost important to have a plan in place. Then you can move ahead and plan a strategy. And then to take some time to learn what Twitter and Facebook are and how to use them to your advantage, and that will be different for everyone depending on their objective. With Twitter, for one thing, it’s not a push-for-marketing tool- it’s a conversation. It’s a way of interacting with people and letting them in on what you’re doing. Knowing that can help create relationships that could eventually turn followers into donors.
L&W- You are currently tweeting about very valuable information for non-profits.
SB- Yes, well, I try to put out as much as I can through Twitter about tips and opportunities that come up for non-profits. Hopefully some will be able use it to their advantage.
L&W- This is such valuable information. So your blog will be up and running by February?
SB- Yes, we’re looking at February, so you can keep it on your radar for then.
L&W- Thank you so much!
SB- No, thank you. It has been wonderful to talk with you and share information. I really appreciate what you’re doing, and am happy to be a part of your project as well. Plus, we met on Twitter, which is a testament to what having a good conversation can do!
Follow Sophie on Twitter here: @ProfitCharity
Become a follower of her blog here: http://profitcharity.blogspot.com/
Love and Water loves art. Which is why we are centering our community around fresh, new designs. As we work on creating the best community site possible we want to know what features you’d like to see on our site that would allow you to easily upload your designs and allow us to showcase them in the best way possible. Tell us anything: what you liked about previous design contest sites you’ve entered, what you wished you had to help you more, which websites provide the best support and why, what your ultimate t-shirt design challenge would entail. Go overboard- we want to hear it all.