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The Giving Power of Community

April 18, 2009

We have all by now seen the immense power that social media channels can have for a business.

However, there is more we can do online with the connections that we have created. We are associated online with hundreds, sometimes even thousands of friends, clients and business associates. Currently, people are turning to their online social networks to try something new: fund raising. Social networks have become the newest form of word of mouth, grassroots activism, allowing people connected online only by screen names to support and embrace causes around the world. The global online community that we engage with everyday is an excellent source for bringing people together to lend their time and money to important causes.

Here are some of my favorites:

#1 Tweetsgiving3059062596_49ac890032

Tweetsgiving truly shows the power of an online force. This project, the brainchild of the nonprofit Epic Change, sought to bring together the power of the Twitter community to raise $10,000 in 48 hours to build a classroom at a school in Tanzania. News of the event spread virally through blog posts and Tweets, bringing together the Twitter universe at the holiday time to appeal to a noble cause. The short time span and easy PayPal donation system drove the cause to reach its goal.

#2 Twestival

On February 12, 2009, 202 cities around the world held Twestivals. These events brought the Twitter community together in person to raise money and awareness for Charity: water, a global initiative to bring fresh water to communities lacking it. Twestival raised over $250,000 for the cause, bringing clean water to 17,000 people. Organizers used the power of Twitter as a driving force for the event. The success of the event is in its global appeal and ability to have people connect on one night, for one unifying cause.

#3 Well Wishes

Laura Fitton, or @Pwomen-at-gambian-wellistachio as she is known on Twitter, wanted to find a way to give back this past holiday season. So she enlisted the help of her followers on Twitter. She saw that if each of her followers gave just $2 she could raise over $25,000 to help build wells for fresh water in Africa. She used the online TipJoy donation system and since the inception of the project, launched and promoted only through her followers on Twitter, has raised $20,000 for her charity.

Giving Back

These three examples show the immense power that our own online communities can have to do some good in the world. The concept of fund raising is changing with the influence of viral communities. These networks can instantly spread and promote your cause. The key is to appeal to the greater good and keep the trust and transparency that we so value in all other forms of online media.

Blog by: Kelly Hall

Twitter: @KeHall

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