Displaying articles for: April 2011
Major storms and tornadoes ravaged cities and towns across six southern states (Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Virginia and Tennessee) on Wednesday. At least 280 people have been killed. Alabama was the hardest-hit state with at least 180 deaths, according to the Alabama Emergency Management Agency. Survivors of the storms require emergency assistance before the rebuilding efforts can begin.
You are welcome to point people who want to help to this page: http://www1.networkforgood.org/2011tornadoes.
AMERICAN RED CROSS (EIN: 53-0196605); Opening emergency shelters for families affected by the severe storms
AMERICARES (EIN: 06-1008595); Sending emergency medical assistance to NC and water to aid TX wildfire crews
SAMARITAN’S PURSE (EIN: 58-1437002); Sending disaster relief units to help victims of the violent storms in Alabama and North Carolina
SALVATION ARMY (EIN: 22-2406433); Responding throughout the South, mobilizing feeding units and providing support to the victims
We will be adding to this list as the response effort expands and we are here to help you as you mobilize your respective response efforts.
- Network for Good Team
This post was contributed by Network for Good's VP of Partnerships, Stacie Mann.
Lady Gaga has partnered with New York’s Robin Hood Foundation to identify five programs serving at-risk youth and wants you to cast your vote to determine how her $1M contribution will be split between the five nonprofits. Her Fans (there are 32M little monsters on Lady Gaga’s Facebook page!) can vote for which charity most deserves Gaga’s money. The results will be tiered, with the winner receiving $500,000, the organization in second place receiving $250,000 and so on. It is a crowdsourced way for Gaga’s fans to tell her where she should donate.
Network for Good was thrilled to talk to the campaign organizers about how to make this a positive experience for participants and a great source of support for the nonprofits involved. We’re also happy to see our partner Causes’ platform included in the campaign so people can take steps beyond just voting for a cause.
If you’re thinking of a campaign like this, it’s helpful to keep these principles in mind:
- Make the campaign call to action easy and fun; “Learn more and cast your vote”.
- Work with trusted partners to vet the recipient organizations so there is a clear promise that every dollar will go towards the campaign's social impact goal.
- Clearly define the rules and voting process for the campaign; it is always important to have clearly defined rules with a code of conduct. For large campaigns, it can help to enlist a third party to evaluate the voting results. This can mitigate conflicts and gaming.
- Keep the timeline short; it’s hard to sustain long periods of activism around a campaign and taking the time to rally supporters around voting takes time away from other core project or fundraising work (especially for a small nonprofit).
- Train the nonprofits on social media best practices; the recipient nonprofits will be getting a huge burst of interest in what they do over a short period of time.
- Incorporate real-time updates and leaderboards; people love to see who else has donated (via status updates) and also the overall impact. Chase Community Giving does a great job with this and so does Causes through their fundraising projects.
You can read more advice on creating a compelling cause marketing campaigns in our eGuide Cause Marketing Through Social Media: 5 Steps to Successful Online Campaigns.
In 2004, Dell and Goodwill Industries teamed up to start an electronics recycling program in Austin, TX. Since then, the partnership has evolved and the Dell Reconnect program now spans multiple markets and recycles a host of electronics from computers to Xbox consoles. The collaboration works well because each partner provides complementary resources and expertise: Goodwill has a network of donation centers and experience will repurposing gently-used goods, while Dell has a proven track record in offering consumer recycling programs that “meet the highest standards of workplace and environmental safety.” Together, the organizations provide a free and convenient recycling program through a cause partnership that truly benefits both entities.
There are many such examples of symbiotic corporate-cause partnerships. There are just as many, if not more, examples of partnerships that fall short of their potential or completely miss the mark in terms of tangible social impact. Mashable recently featured a post byMichele Cuthbert, the principal of branding firm Baker Creative, who provides some guidelines for selecting the right cause partner and structuring a thoughtful partnership.
As a precursor to selecting a cause partner, Cuthbert advises companies to first evaluate their values and stakeholder expectations. Knowing where a cause partnership fits within your business mission and goals will inform what type of cause partnership you should cultivate. Understanding what your consumers and employees care about will ensure that your partnership has the interest and resources to get off the ground.
With the background work done, companies can now turn to the cause selection process. Here some tips based on Cuthbert’s advice for picking the right partner:
- Define selection criteria: factors to consider include: size, budget, program areas, geographic focus, organization age, impact track record, board participation etc…
- Target your list: use charity databases like GuideStar or Charity Navigator to search for charities that meet your criteria.
- Compare mission statements: when you have a handful or candidates, look for ways your missions complement or reinforce one another. Mission compatibility will help ensure your partnership moves in the right direction.
- Do your due diligence: make sure the charity is registered with the IRS and/or GuideStar and check its standing with the Better Business Bureau, Charity Navigator, Great Nonprofits or other charity rating groups. You should also review the organization’s financial filings and reports on project impact. Just as in the corporate world, trustworthy organizations are open about their finances and practices.
- Listen to your gut: if you don’t feel right about the partnership, don’t proceed. You must have confidence in the partnership if you are going to put the weight of your brand behind it.
- Try a pilot: relationships deepen over time. Give your new partnership the opportunity to go through its growing pains on a small scale before rolling it out in a national campaign. This will also give you time to continue your due diligence as you get to know the charity better.
If you spend any time on social networks, you’ve probably noticed that today is Earth Day. There’s been much made of this year’s Earth Day, especially as it falls in the same week as the anniversary of the Gulf oil spill and in the wake of rising gas prices across the country. In addition, the latest New York Times/CBS News poll indicates that Americans are more pessimistic about the economy and the nation’s general direction than they have been since Obama took office in the midst of the Great Recession. Further, the economic downturn has dampened mainstream consumer demand for green products. For example, sales of Clorox Green Works have fallen to about $60 million a year, from a high of over $100 million in 2008.
When attitudes and outlooks are bleak, what’s a cause marketer to do? Make a rap video of course!
The CEOs of organic brands Stonyfield Farm and Honest Tea launched a video campaign to celebrate Earth Month 2011, mixing education on organics and food politics with entertainment and user-generated content to spur social sharing and build awareness.
Said Honest Tea CEO Seth Goldman to Marketing Daily, “We're hoping that the great message (well-timed with Earth Month) and the fun nature of the video will encourage viewers to pass it along to their friends and networks."
The tone of the videos may be fun, but the campaign demonstrates the 4 essentials of cause marketing:
- Suitability: As organic brands, the content of the videos and the message to choose organic for health and environmental reasons rings true.
- Authenticity: Who better to embody the cause connection than the CEO? These CEOs are passionate about their social missions and make CSR core to what they do. We may question their rapping abilities, but not their dedication to the cause.
- Transparency: Both Stonyfield Farm and Honest Tea are transparent about their sustainability practices and commitment to environmental impact. That commitment provides the backbone of the brands.
- Selling Point: Stonyfield Farms and Honest Tea may be social enterprises, but they are also consumer brands. The fact that their products are organic and embody what the cause campaign is all about, gives these brands unique value propositions: they are the solution to the social problem the cause campaign exposes.
Learn more about the campaign at JustDrinkOrganic.com
David Neff, COO of Network for Good’s partner HelpAttack!, has co-written a new book on nonprofit success in the digital age. While the primary audience is nonprofits, in the spirit of cross-sector collaborative problem solving, the lessons are applicable to any organization trying to balance core business priorities and investment in innovation and emerging technologies – especially any organization with a triple bottom line mindset.
David Neff and Randal Moss have a new book out called the Future of Nonprofits: Innovate and Thrive in the Digital Age. (You can order it here.)
Since they just wrote an entire book on how we can create a new, more flexible, innovative organization in a digital age, I asked them what advice they could provide us. Here’s my Q&A with David Neff.
Q: What’s the biggest way the nonprofit landscape is going to change this decade?
A: I think the biggest change the nonprofit sector is going to see this decade has to do with how we track, score and analyze individual people in our organization. This could be anything from adding social media information to the fields in your donor database to changing the way we set expectations for our employees. Of course, nonprofits have to want to change for this to happen.
Q: If you were ED of a typical nonprofit, what two things should you do to prepare?
A: Invest money in technology. I know this is a very scary thing for most organizations, but it needs to be done. You can’t reply on that Access Database when the other nonprofits you are competing with have Salesforce for nonprofits. Also you don’t have the same excuses you used to. Organizations like NTEN and TechSoup are here to help you discover what you need and when you need it. Use them! The second big change is that Awareness is dead. No one is watching your PSA at 3am. You need to switch to advertising your nonprofit. And you need to budget (even small amounts) to make that advertising happen.
Q: What’s the biggest failure you cite in the book and how can we learn from it?
The demise of my personal sanity while writing it. : ) Just kidding! The biggest failure is staff turnover and how the industry treats new staff. We hire all these people in their 20’s and 30’s and then say no to all their big ideas. In our minds we simply don’t have time or resources to let them experiment. Even though we know those experiments could be home runs or just singles. The book is how to say yes to those big ideas.
On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of attending the launch of the Georgetown University McDonough School of Business Global Social Enterprise Initiative (GSEI), a cross-sector program that aims to bring universities, corporations, nonprofits and government together to affect positive social change. The initiative is spearheaded by Bill Novelli, a Distinguished Professor of the Practice, former CEO of AARP, co-founder of Porter Novelli and founder and former president of Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. I can’t imagine a better shepherd for this type of collaborative effort and look forward to watching the initiative take shape over the coming months.
The launch event featured a panel discussion on cross-sector collaboration with representatives from business, the nonprofit sector and government. Here are some highlights from the discussion.
According to Darell Hammond, CEO of KaBoom! and author of the forthcoming book KaBOOM: How One Man Built a Movement to Save Play, social problems don’t emerge from just one sector, so neither will the solutions. He offered an inspiring approach to social problem solving: people should dedicate their careers to solving a particular issue and take advantage of opportunities to further that cause across all sectors. In this regard, we will no longer define our professional identities by sector (I’m in business, I work for a nonprofit, I work for the government), but by issue area (I work to end hunger, I solve access to clean water, I create sustainable supply chains). Having loyalty to an issue, instead of an employer or sector, will create organic cross-sector collaboration and allow individuals to look back on a career of service regardless of occupation.
Reggie Van Lee, Executive Vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton, and author of the book Megacommunities: How Leaders of Government, Business and Non-Profits Can Tackle Today's Global Chall..., remarked that all the resources we need to solve social problems already exist, but if we try to take a siloed approach, the right resources won’t be allocated. Collaboration across sectors is the key . He offered three steps to ensure the collaborative effort succeeds:
- Identify the problem as a shared issue with a common vocabulary. Find the points of intersection across sectors.
- Assemble the right stakeholders and define who plays what role.
- Prioritize program management to ensure that the collaboration continues.
James Mahoney, Global Public Policy and Corporate Communications Executive for Bank of America, asserted that CSR is here to stay. We may see fads within CSR, but the overall push to create positive social good through business will sustain. CSR is not about doing good for good’s sake, however, but must make sense for the corporate partner on a true business level. For example, in the economic downturn and recovery, Bank of America has reached out to its clients to better understand what they need to survive financial constraints and grow. They overwhelmingly replied that they need less uncertainty. The response helped Bank of America set priorities to liaise with government and community leaders on economic growth and job creation strategies. The CSR efforts grew directly from client needs.
As the Deputy Representative for Global Partnerships at the US Department of State, Jim Thompson sees the impact business can make in international development, especially by investing in technology, platforms and networks in developing economies. He also sees companies creating globalization strategies that take a longer-term view and are tied to real development outcomes. One example Jim cited was the Partners for a New Beginning initiative, a cross-sector collaboration that fosters private sector investment in challenging regions like Tunisia and Libya.
We in the partnership group at Network for Good often get asked what CSR, cause marketing and philanthropy experts we follow. Below is a list of a few of our favorite go-to blogs for great insights and relevant topics. We’d also love to hear from you about the resources you find most interesting in this space. Please post a comment on our Companies for Good blog with your suggestions. Together, we can build a great library of expertise.
David Connor, European Director of 3BLMedia, is on a mission to help companies tell their CSR story in innovative and compelling ways. He has a rich blog post about CSR communications on his blog: David Coethica’s Blog. If you think a PDF of your sustainability report will do in the new age of social media, are you in for a wakeup call!
To better understand why social media and thoughtful communications are so vital to corporate social responsibility success, take a moment to think about what CSR is truly all about: leadership and employees working together to make more socially responsible business decisions. As recent research from Cone and others demonstrates, many consumers rely on those business decisions to then filter their purchase decisions. CSR is truly a collaborative effort among leadership, employees, supply chain providers and end customers. Therefore, all stakeholders should be included in the storytelling and communications around that effort.
At its core, social media is about conversation and connection. Companies that try to use social media channels to broadcast mass messages about their brands and products, will soon find themselves without a social media community at all. Yes it’s scary to hand over the megaphone to folks outside of your corporate communications and PR department, but the rewards can be very inspiring.
Here are four examples of how proactive companies are leveraging social media to further their CSR efforts. Each company uses conversation and audience engagement as core communication practices. They also create online forums and welcome feedback as part of their marketing and communications strategies. All four companies reinforce their communities across channels and maintain consistent CSR messaging and conversation to underscore the social responsibility factors of their brands.
Facebook: Social Innovation Competition
Blog: Direct2Dell CSR posts
Online Community: Dell Community
Facebook: Inspired by Education
Interactive Sustainability Report: 2009 Intel Corporate Responsibility Report (includes build your own report tool)
Facebook: Company page
Blog: 7Gen Blog
CSR Reporting: Corporate Consciousness Report (includes social bookmarking)
Facebook: Company page
Blog: Bootmakers Blog