Blogging gives someone an audience, no matter how small or large, and an important platform that can be used to raise awareness (and money) around great causes. Philanthropy is an expansive world, and there are a number of things to consider before aligning yourself with a cause. Attend this session to learn how to focus on a cause that aligns well with your brand, and how to effectively use your voice to give back to the issue of your choice. While raising funds is important, raising awareness is even more beneficial to non-profit organizations: this session will cover how to best partner with organizations both locally and nationally, and how to creatively and effectively tell the story of your cause. Interesting case studies, about Plate Share and Girls on the Run, will be used to further illustrate and dive deeper into the presentation’s content.
I’m really looking forward to this session. But I know not everyone will be coming to the summit. And that’s okay! I’ll be live blogging Using Your Platform for a Cause from 2:00 – 2:45 pm (central time!). Live blogging means that I’ll be updating this post as the session progresses and hitting publish constantly. It’s almost like being there! All the other sessions will be live blogged and live tweeted as well. You can see the full list on the summit website.
So, check back right here on the 14th! See you then!
Using Your Platform for a Cause: Blogging and Philanthropy live blog
Katie Levans began the session thanking the sponsors, then kicking off the session.
There are tons of blogs on the internet, each with individuals with varied interests and skills behind them. When these like-minded people connect, huge networks can be created. Social media allows all of us to have a voice and make a difference.
Why should I get involved with a cause?
How do I choose a cause?
What kind of impact can I really make?
There are many non-profits available and many are understaffed and rely on volunteers to run their organizations. Volunteer time is very valuable. If you don’t have time, you can give time and skills to charities.
Non-profits are often looking for people to do administrative tasks such as computer work. Our blogging skills are very important to these organizations. Donating time allows you, as a blogger, to expand your audience.
Another benefit is building your portfolio. The writing content or photos you create can be used.
Non-profits have boards of directors with influential and connected people.
At the end of the day, the biggest benefit is making a difference in the world.
Think about local, national and international non-profits and charities. It is important to think about your blog’s audience and your personal interests. Where those two things intersect is the sweet spot for connecting philanthropy and blogging. Where do your skills and passions overlap? Is there an organization that aligns with that overlap? Both Katie and Mary Uran shared 5 of their skills and 5 of their passions.
Before signing on to work with a charity, think about the following: Which organizations match your passion? Where is their money spent? And how much goes to the cause? Who runs the organization? What proof of concept do they have to show their impact?
75-80% of the funds should be going to the cause.
Non-profits that have been around for a while have annual reports. Newer ones have business plans. Check them out. GuideStar is a database of non-profits which provides important information. Charity Navigator is another site that provides financial information on non-profits. The National Center for Non-Profit Statistics and the IRS also have information.
Philanthropic Blogging Ideas:
- Spread the word-write a series of informative posts
- Encourage action-tell reader how to get involved
- Host a giveaway-raise funds for good
- Volunteer-give your time and share your experience
- Guest Feature-invite the founder (or a representative) to post on your blog
Case study: Headbands of Hope
$1 of each sale goes to cancer research and one headband is given to a cancer patient for each blog sold. Many bloggers have worked with Headbands for Hope by writing posts, hosting guest posts from the organization and hosting giveaways. These situations are win-wins for the bloggers and the non-profit.
Mary Uran is the director of Girls on the Run (GotR) in the Twin Cities. Girls on the Run serves 3-5th grade girls by helping them be active and focusing on issues such as self esteem, bullying and self-worth. Mary shared a story about a girl who was a reluctant runner due to negative messages from home and the media, but over time slowly made progress and successfully completed the Girls on the Run 5k at the end of the season. This year that girl is involved again and has invited her mother to join in as well.
Girls on the Run has been featured on the blog Healthy Tipping Point. Her activity on Twitter increased GotR interest by 25%. Heidi wrote about GotR Twin Cities in two blog posts and increased their web traffic by 30%.
There are GotR chapters across the country. You can be a coach, a soulmate (who raises money for the organization), a running buddy, a 5K ambassador or a committee/board volunteer.
Katie is the creator of the app PlateShare. It is a platform that allows you to round your restaurant purchases to the nearest dollar and donate that money to a food pantry. Katie saw that people donate food that they don’t want to eat to food banks. She was concerned about the nutritional quality of the food that was being donated to an already at risk population.
As a blogging community, we can better leverage our relationship with the food interest to do good. Katie created a policy on her blog that whenever she received free food or a free meal as a result of her position as a blogger, she would donate to Second Harvest an equivalent amount. That sort of thinking led to the creation of PlateShare.
Katie participated in a competition for start ups and PlateShare was a finalist, though it didn’t win. There is a mobile version (Android; iPhone coming soon). There is a Point of Sale integration being pioneered in Charlotte and a credit card integration is also being worked on at participating locations.
A viral spread can be created when people tweet or otherwise share their PlateShare donations online. PlateShare is easy, accessible and affordable. Every penny counts if we all work together and “change starts now” (PlateShare motto).
More info about PlateShare is at honeystuck.com/plateshare. There is a 30 day PlateShare challenge to allow you to see how your change adds up.
- Consider yourself an unofficial representative
- Respect their style guide and logo specifications
- Do not answer questions you don’t know
- Never personally accept funds for the organization
- When telling stories, uphold client confidentiality
- identify a cause that inspires you
- research organizations that support what sets you on fire
- reach out to organizations to ask how you can help
- create your blog’s Charitable Giving Policy
- schedule at least 1 volunteer day in the next month
- use hashtag #HLS13DOGOOD to share your stories going forward.
twitter: @gotrtwincities, @gotri