Tag Archives: Impact News

57 Easy, Free Ways You Can Make Someone’s Day

9 Jun

This article originally appears in The Huffington Post.

57 Simple Ways to Make Someone’s Day

Amy Neumann

Social Good and Technology Devotee; Director SEO/SEM/SMO at Cleveland.com

“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and start with the person nearest you.” -Mother Teresa

Recently, I ran across something that got me thinking again about the beauty of a simple kindness. And about the astonishing power and positive impact even the smallest kind word or deed can have on someone’s day — or life.

The story has been repeated countless different ways for ages, and here is one version.


Photo courtesy of Amy Neumann

A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement. She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!” The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!” The old man looked at the girl inquisitively and thought about what she had done and said. Inspired, he joined the little girl in throwing starfish back into the sea. Soon others joined, and all the starfish were saved.– adapted from the Star Thrower by Loren C. Eiseley

Are you looking for ways to make that difference to one person today? Or for a few simple ways to spread kindness anytime?

Here are 57 ideas to get you started:

1. Smile at a stranger
2. Put change in an expired parking meter
3. Send someone a hand-written card
4. Hold a door open for someone
5. Volunteer virtually for a few minutes or hours: Sparked.com
6. Give a friendly wave to a neighbor
7. Do a simple, free, quick kindness for a charity — eight examples here
8. Tell a friend you appreciate them
9. Plant a tree


Spend time in nature yourself, and maybe later, plant a tree to share with others.

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir. Photo courtesy of Amy Neumann
10. Walk instead of driving and absorb the wonders around you
11. Teach a group in your community about something unique you do or enjoy
12. Collect books to give to a school or shelter
13. Drop off dinner or groceries to an elderly friend who can’t get out much
14. Start an affinity group to share a hobby with others — MeetUp.com
15. Mentor someone, a child or an adult
16. Create a blog for someone who loves writing but isn’t technical
17. Help someone get set up with social media
18. Call your family just to say hi and find out what they’re doing
19. Invite a friend you haven’t seen in a while to the movies or coffee or…
20. Find a fun project to volunteer for: VolunteerMatch.org
21. Sign up for an unusual class at a community college and see who you meet
22. Read a book on something new to gain new perspective
23. Make a Top 10 (or 25 or 100) List of things you’re thankful for and share it
24. Give a plant to someone
25. Ask someone for a recipe of theirs that you love
26. Ask a wise person for insight
27. Talk to elderly people and listen to their stories to learn about life
28. Give a stranger a sincere compliment
29. Say “Thank You” often
30. Do pro-bono work for a favorite cause: Catchafire.org
31. Say “I Love You” often
32. Organize photos in a virtual or paper album for a host/ess as a thank you
33. Ask someone how their day was, and listen attentively
34. Invite someone you admire to lunch to hear their ideas and insights
35. Speak on a topic you know to a community group who wants to learn
36. Buy a charitable magazine subscription and send it to a nursing home
37. See the positives in a tough situation
38. Sell some cool stuff online and give the proceeds to charity: KarmaGoat.com
39. Read these 25 amazing social good blogs for inspiration
40. Share inspiring quotes and stories online
41. Donate your airline miles

“Wherever these is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.”

42. Pick up an errant piece of trash and throw it away, just because
43. Offer to babysit for a single Mom or Dad
44. Run an errand for a busy friend
45. Donate event tickets to local charity organization
46. Recycle anything, correctly
47. Give a gift of housekeeping service to a new parent
48. Set aside a bit more than last year for charity and add a new one to your list
49. Tell someone you see regularly at a business how they make your day
50. Be appreciative and gracious for compliments
51. Be patient under pressure and use compassion as a guide for disagreements
52. Smile just because
53. Dance in your car even (especially!) with people watching
54. Learn how to tell a few great clean jokes
55. Create a blog post about a few people you admire and why
56. Share something without being asked
57. Compliment a job well done, or a kindness

Amy Neumann is a passionate fan of social good, and is dedicated to leveraging technology to change the world. Check out her Charity Ideas Blog and follow her on Twitter @CharityIdeas.

Follow Amy Neumann on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CharityIdeas

New: Google’s Global Impact Awards, $23 Million for Nonprofit Innovation!

5 Dec

This article originally appears in The Huffington Post.

Amy Neumann

Writer, Speaker; Social Good, PR and Marketing Consultant

Global Impact Awards Give $23 Million to Charities to Spur Innovation, Help Girls and Minority Students

Posted: 12/04/2012 9:00 am
Nonprofits have longed for years to have access to the best technology. Often, even the best of ideas have challenges when technology is involved, whether it’s a technical or a funding issue. That’s where the newly-announced Google Global Impact Awards come in.

When you think of advancements in technology, engineering and creativity, you probably think Google. But the tech powerhouse also has a generous philanthropic side. Its new Global Impact Awards program has a mission for funding innovation that solves critical issues.

Supporting tech-driven philanthropy, Google’s Impact Awards focus on creating large, paradigm-shifting changes in social good.

Jacquelline Fuller, Director of Charitable Giving and Advocacy at Google, shared some insight on why this was an important mission for Google to tackle.

“Google looks for opportunities with explosive, innovative impact. The organizations here have an entrepreneurial spirit, embrace technology, and are in the sweet spot between technology and impact that can create massive, positive change.”

Fuller also notes that like Google, these nonprofits aren’t afraid to take informed risks, or “fail forward fast” and learn quickly from mistakes through metrics and measuring results. Following the Google model of “launch and iterate,” they will be on a constant learning and recalibrating adventure, making rapid technological strides.

The first round of $23 million in Global Impact Awards funding goes to seven nonprofits:

* charity: water
* DonorsChoose.org
* Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
* World Wildlife Fund
* Consortium for the Barcode of Life
* GiveDirectly
* Equal Opportunity Schools


Learn more about Google’s Global Impact Awards and this year’s grantees by clicking above to go to the Google Impact Awards video. Graphic courtesy of Google for Nonprofits

Each organization is already doing outstanding work, and these awards for specific, new technology will help advance that work.

The clean-water nonprofit charity: water will leverage their $5 million Global Impact Award grant to pilot the installation of real-time water monitoring technologies at 4,000 water points across Africa by 2015. The impact of being able to monitor and measure water well performance on this scale will provide invaluable data not only to charity:water, but also to help other NGO’s and governments with their own well projects. This rapid learning and cataloging of information will allow new advances in building, operating, and maintaining more working wells.
More than 800 million people globally do not have access to clean drinking water. However, charity:water is working to change that. Photo courtesy of charitywater.org

Scott Harrison, CEO of charity: water, explains it this way:

“We have embraced technology at charity:water since we started, with things like GPS units on every well so people can see their money in action on Google Maps. This project takes that transparency to another level. Now people can also see how much water the well they donated to is pumping, how many children, men and women in a community are now able to have clean drinking water. Information we learn from this data can be acted on to proactively create better training, maintenance, and building plans. And when people ‘check back in’ years later, they can see how their well is doing.”

DonorsChoose.org will use their $5 million Global Impact Award grant to provide public schools across the U.S. with materials to create ~500 new Advanced Placement Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) courses, partnering with College Board. In the U.S., girls and minority students are less likely to study math and science in college or pursue related careers than their counterparts. More exposure to these programs at public high schools that commit to AP STEM enrollments reflecting their school’s overall diversity can lead to more growth in this area.

World Wildlife Fund
‘s $5 million Global Impact Award grant will be used to help detect and deter poaching in Asia and Africa. The illegal wildlife trade, estimated to be worth $7-10 billion annually, is emptying our forests, landscapes and oceans. This grant will help implement specialized sensors and wildlife tagging technology, and ranger patrolling guided by analytical software to help nature’s front line curb this poaching.

At the forefront of promoting gender equality in children’s media and entertainment, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media will use its $1.2 million Award to support the development of automated technology that analyzes female portrayals in children’s media.
The Smithsonian Institution’s Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL) will use their $3 million Global Impact Awards grant to create and begin implementing ‘DNA barcoding’ as a cost-effective, rapid, standardized, and actionable tool for protecting the world’s most endangered wildlife. More than 35,000 of the world’s 1.8 million named species are considered to be in danger of extinction, and of these, 2,000 are protected from illegal international trade by the strictest trade regulations under a UN treaty. CBOL will build a public library of DNA barcodes that law enforcement officials can use to identify confiscated material.

With their $2.4 million Global Impact Award grant, GiveDirectly will scale up its model of direct mobile technology cash transfer to Kenyan families living in extreme poverty, and expand operations to a second country. Despite assumptions, cash transfers are a proven approach to lifting people out of poverty, with substantial positive impacts including business profits, farm profits, investment and savings, adult work hours, children’s school enrollment, children’s health, and infant birth weight. GiveDirectly’s mission is to make direct giving available to donors everywhere, and in doing so to set a new benchmark for the nonprofit sector.

Equal Opportunity Schools will use their $1.8 million Global Impact Award grant to identify 6,000 high-performing yet under-represented students in 60 high schools and move them into advanced high school classes. Every year over 600,000 low-income students in the U.S. miss out on the opportunity to be placed in advanced classes that could provide the training they need to succeed at college. EOS results show that AP pass rates increase or stay the same in more diverse classrooms. Students will be selected using data that demonstrates potential to succeed and readiness for greater challenges.

As these projects progress, nonprofits and social good fans will have an opportunity to learn from the processes the six grantees are going through in their innovative journeys.

You can learn more about the Google Global Impact Awards here. If you are part of a nonprofit, there are also many resources available through Google for Nonprofits.

Amy Neumann is a social entrepreneur, writer, speaker and consultant on social good marketing. Check out her Charity Ideas Blog and follow her on Twitter @CharityIdeas. Amy is also Director of Public Relations for POGCO, the People’s Oil and Gas Collaborative – Ohio, a grassroots organization focused on sustainability, regulatory, safety, and property rights issues in the oil and gas industry.

Follow Amy Neumann on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CharityIdeas

Electronics Recycling and Sustainability

19 Nov

This article originally appears in The Huffington Post.

Amy Neumann

Writer, Speaker; Social Good, PR and Marketing Consultant

Interesting Facts on Electronics Recycling and Sustainability

“Our choices at all levels — individual, community, corporate and government — affect nature. And they affect us.” — David Suzuki

November 15 was America Recycles Day, and a great reminder about how important recycling is not only for the environment, but for jobs and the economy as well. Recycling is one of the fastest growing industries in the country, contributing more than $100 billion to the U.S. economy each year and employing nearly 138,000 people.

Recently I spoke with Robin Wiener, president of ISRI (Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries) on some of the lesser-known ways to help recycle, and some key benefits. This type of recycling, which individuals can help with by properly recycling electronics, can reduce new mining and has other sustainability benefits.

Electronics recyclers provide comprehensive recycling operations. Some of the commodities that can be extracted from electronic equipment — in particular, steel, aluminum, gold, silver, titanium, copper, nickel, plastic, and glass — are used as valuable raw material in the manufacture of new products.

2012-11-14-RecylcingDrivesScreenshot20121114at6.43.00PM.png Recycling drives for things like batteries, electronics, and other items can be a great way for kids to get involved in recycling and the environment. Photo courtesy of AmericanRecyclingDay.org
Environmental Benefits

  • Recycling 1 million laptops saves the energy equivalent to the electricity used by 3,675 U.S. homes in one year.
  • One metric ton of circuit boards can contain 40-800 times the amount of gold and 30-40 times the amount of copper mined from one metric ton of ore in the U.S.
  • E-scrap can offer a materially higher metal loading/tonne compared to ores — in particular as ore grades for new mines continue to decline. For example, a primary mine for silver contains approximately 5 grams of pure metal/ton of ore. This compares to 200-250g/ton of silver in PC circuit boards, and 300-350g/ton of gold in cell phones. (Source: Barclays 23 Aug 2012, Equity Research).
  • When recycling electronics, look for a certified recycler, with R2 or R2/RIOS certification.

Social Benefits

  • Recycling cell phones provides access to modern communications technology to many people in developing economies who would not otherwise be able to afford it.
  • Some collection programs donate cell phones to charities such as domestic violence, environmental causes, children’s safety, etc.

In the U.S., 40-50 percent of raw materials come from recycled scrap. And although businesses make up a large amount of scrap recycling in general, recycled precious metals come in large part from consumer electronics. Wiener notes that each year there are about 6 million tons of electronics in the US that reach “End of Life,” of which around 3.5 million tons get recycled, much of it residential.

“The recycling industry continues to grow because of commitments from consumers and businesses alike to protect our planet,” notes Wiener.

For additional information on recycling, get these fact sheets, and some great daily recycling tips.

A list of places to recycle electronics can be found here, along with certified electronics recyclers and more specifics on recycling or donating options.

Amy Neumann is a social entrepreneur, writer, speaker and consultant on social good marketing. Check out her Charity Ideas Blog and follow her on Twitter @CharityIdeas. Amy is also Director of Public Relations for POGCO, the People’s Oil and Gas Collaborative – Ohio, a grassroots organization focused on sustainability, regulatory, safety, and property rights issues in the oil and gas industry.

Follow Amy Neumann on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CharityIdeas

Social Entrepreneurs Help Small Businesses: BU’s Urban Accelerator Program

31 Oct

This article originally appears in The Huffington Post.

Amy Neumann

Writer, Speaker; Social Good, PR and Marketing Consultant

Boston University’s Urban Accelerator Program: Helping Businesses and Social Entrepreneurs

Posted: 10/30/2012 4:05 pm

The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own. ~Benjamin Disraeli

Starting back in high school, Nathan Bernard dove into a succession of fundraising driven social endeavors in places like Ecuador, Kenya, and Tanzania. Through projects like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for charity, he helped fund AIDS orphanages, housing programs and more.

When he attended Boston University, the passion continued to grow with work in Ghana with Community Water Solutions, Inner Mongolia, with micro-lender ACCION International, and India with his first start-up, AnaGenesis.

A keen interest in sustainable charity, or creating pathways for people to help themselves, led Bernard to pitch an idea for an Urban Business Accelerator program to Dean Kenneth Freeman, former-CEO of Quest Diagnostics, KKR Board member, and current Dean of the Boston University School of Management. The pitch worked, and the Boston University Urban Business Accelerator program (BUBA) was born.

Bernard is now the director of the program, which he runs in collaboration with Professor Erik Molander of the BU School of Management, and MBA student Tiffany Israel. Together they oversee the teams, training, and strategic direction of BUBA.

The BUBA program accomplishes two objectives. First, it helps local small businesses in underprivileged areas gain the tools and training on financials to help manage their small businesses. Second, it helps create student social entrepreneurs with leadership skills and a deeper understanding of the impact that their university education can have on the business owners.

The 10-week program forms teams of one graduate student and three undergraduates. These teams review financials, make baseline comparisons, identify areas for improvement, and teach the business owners how to use the accounting software QuickBooks to streamline and monitor their progress. The goal of the 180-hour, free program is to give business owners a strong level of financial literacy that can be applied to improve their bottom line.


Nathan Bernard pitched the idea of an Urban Accelerator program at Boston University that is now active and creating stronger local businesses as well as social entrepreneurs. Photo Courtesy of Boston University

So far, businesses have saved an average of $9,000 from the experience, as well as retain five jobs per business. BUBA has also created one full time job through the initial pilot launch.

“BUBA helps small businesses take it to the next level, and also creates socially-inclined leaders in the process,” notes Bernard.

Partners of the program, like Intuit’s QuickBooks, Google’s free Get Your Business Online program, the City of Boston, and ACCION USA, are providing tools, support, and training for both the BUBA student teams and the businesses.

Based on the pilot launch, a program curriculum, coined by Bernard, “BUBA in a Box,” has been created to speed the learning process for the BUBA teams. This 105 page how-to guide is what Bernard hopes to share and expand in partnership with other universities in the near future.

As Bernard says, “We’re creating a program with the goal of replicating it on a national scale. My vision is for the BUBA methodology to be applied in more urban businesses and universities across the country. It’s an impactful and successful learning experience for everyone involved.”

The startup team for the Boston University Urban Accelerator program this summer. Photo courtesy of Boston University

To learn more about the program, contact Boston University .

Amy Neumann is a social entrepreneur, writer, speaker and consultant on social good marketing. Check out her Charity Ideas Blog and follow her on Twitter @CharityIdeas.

Follow Amy Neumann on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CharityIdeas

Boston University , Boston University Urban Accelerator , Nathan Bernard , Buba , Social Entrepreneurship , Urban Development , Impact News

7 Ways Fracking Impacts YOU – An Interview with Gasland Director Josh Fox

22 Oct
This article originally appears in The Huffington Post.
Amy Neumann

Writer, Speaker; Social Good, PR and Marketing Consultant

Social Good Stars: Gasland Movie Director Josh Fox on How Fracking Affects Us All

Posted: 10/19/2012 10:17 am

This is the thirteenth installment of the Impact series,#SocialGoodStars. The people highlighted here are passionate, dedicated philanthropists, strengths to their communities, and social media masters. They also happily share their vast knowledge with others, making them shine as leaders in the Social Good world. You can read the twelfth interview with Plant a Fish Founder Fabien Cousteau here.

“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” ~ Rudyard Kipling

The power of emotional storytelling can be a strong persuader, a new way to gain attention to a cause, and an avenue to galvanize people through information to take action. And Josh Fox knows the power of storytelling well. He is the Emmy Award-winning, Oscar-nominated Director of the grassroots fracking (hydraulic fracturing) movie, Gasland.

Gasland movie Director Josh Fox on The Daily Show. The 2010 movie sparked awareness about a troubling issue – Fracking (hydraulic fracturing). Photo credit: Comedy Central/ The Daily Show

In 2010, the Gasland movie thrust fracking into the national spotlight. It showed real, heart-wrenching stories of normal, everyday Americans suffering consequences from fracking. People were stunned by the graphic, shocking footage of sick and dying animals, devastated environments, and water from kitchen faucets catching fire.


Josh Fox, Director of Gasland and The Sky is Pink, uses storytelling, combined with research and statistics, to make people aware of the effects of Fracking. Photo courtesy of Josh Fox/ Gasland

Josh is a Filmmaker and Artistic Director of theater who grew up in Pennsylvania. After receiving a large financial offer to drill on his land from a gas company, he set out to learn more about what exactly happens when someone gives permission to drill their land to seek natural gas.

Josh combines years of research, personal stories, and a persuasively knowledgeable tone into his projects. He has a mission, and a story he wants to tell; and he does it with science and facts intricately woven into real, personal stories of the people who have seen what he speaks about first-hand. This combination of factual credibility and emotional storytelling made Gasland a viral sensation.

In an industry where one, specific corporate voice and view has long held dominance with multiple millions of dollars in marketing, Josh chooses to let thousands, some on video, many via petition, share their voices and views as well.

Josh also makes masterful use social media and the power of relationships and the internet to make his viewpoint and research go viral. Josh makes it clear that in his opinion, people are neutral on the issue of fracking only when they haven’t heard much about it and are not involved in the industry, landowner (potential drill site), or environmental sides.

Since making Gasland, Josh has been honored by Yoko Ono with her Lennon Ono Peace Award, and has also been part of Artists Against Fracking, started by Ono and Sean Lennon to show support from actors, musicians, and other artists who are against fracking.

Josh Fox’s short film The Sky is Pink packs a wealth of information and statistics on Fracking into an entertaining, thought-provoking format. Photo courtesy of Josh Fox/ The Sky is Pink

Here’s how fracking affects us all, based on an interview with Josh Fox and reflecting his researchhere and here and his personal perspective:

34 states and counting are already fracking – the majority of the United States.
 That means, you’re likely either in a state that’s impacted, or have a friend or family member who is.

We’re all downstream. Watershed systems flow from small tributaries into large river basins in places like New York City, Los Angeles, Pittsburg, Cleveland, and many other major metro areas. Many frack chemicals are non-biodegradable and pose water contamination risks all the way to major watersheds.

We’re all downwind. Studies show that frack sites can emit high levels of pollution. In 2009, 7700 frack sites in the Dallas, TX metro area (there are now 15,000+) were pumping out the equivalent smog and CO2 emissions of all traffic in the entire Dallas/ Fort Worth DMA combined. In Pennsylvania, the industry goal is 100,000-200,000 frack sites, or another 10-20 DFW’s worth of emissions, in one state alone.

Climate change is impacted. Over a 20-year timeframe, frack gas emissions (CO2, methane) have a more dire effect on climate change than coal.

Democracy – your voice – is at risk. Private companies have spent $747 million lobbying congress to be exempted from several key laws including the Clean Water Act in order to continue fracking. While public sentiment is often negative, with petitions being signed and delivered frequently, citizens don’t have a quarter of a billion dollars to speak for them.

Land destruction is ongoing, including public treasures.
 Large swaths of public parklands and forests have been handed over for drilling, creating unprecedented destruction of plants, animals, habitats, and natural beauty. Industrialized landscapes are replacing scenic lands previously untouched, and private companies are being granted Eminent Domain rights on private land.

Economic recovery suffers. Sustainable energy sources built and maintained over the long-term create and keep real jobs. Frack jobs are typically in and out. While there may be temporary spikes in some jobs, the drilling leaves a slew of negative impacts on the community affected, and nominal long-term growth, behind when the drilling is done.
You can learn more about Gasland here and The Sky is Pink here. Follow Josh Fox on Twitter@gaslandmovie.

Amy Neumann is a social entrepreneur, writer, speaker and consultant on social good marketing. Check out her Charity Ideas Blog and follow her on Twitter @CharityIdeas. Amy is an also Assistant Director for POGCO, the People’s Oil and Gas Collaborative – Ohio, a grassroots organization focused on regulatory, safety, and property rights issues in the oil and gas industry, including hydraulic fracturing (fracking).

Follow Amy Neumann on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CharityIdeas

Social Good Stars: @Causecast CEO Ryan Scott on the Future of Cause Marketing #nptech

29 Mar
This article originally appears on The Huffington Post.
Amy Neumann

Writer, Speaker; Social Media Consultant

Social Good Stars: Causecast CEO Ryan Scott on the Future of Cause Marketing

This is the seventh installment of the Impact series, #SocialGoodStars. The people highlighted here are passionate, dedicated philanthropists, strengths to their communities, and social media masters. They also happily share their vast knowledge with others, making them shine as leaders in the Social Good world. You can read the sixth interview with Craigslist Founder Craig Newmark here.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” -Theodore Roosevelt

Ryan Scott, CEO of Causecast, is a visionary idealist with a plan. He is a successful entrepreneur and thinker; a humanist and a philanthropist; and an investor and adviser to many interesting companies and charities. Also, he co-founded two of my favorite sections of the Huffington Post: Impact, and Education. His passion for doing the right thing — like not charging nonprofits a cent to use Causecast’s platform to help their cause — has helped spur global growth in cause marketing and its effectiveness. As a leader in the cause marketing field, he has some inspiring and thought-provoking insights into the future of Social Good.

Photo courtesy of Causecast.com.You are widely regarded as the “Father of Opt-In Email Marketing.” You gave people an additional voice and freedom (to opt-in, or not) before people even asked. How did that affect your charity vision?

Opt-in was the result of my sense of social justice. We have the technology to ask people to subscribe rather than spam them and force them to opt-out – or in the case of the postal world, just spam them without regard for whether or not they want to get off the list. We have the technology for mass customization so what is the excuse for not using it? We can do direct marketing in an ethical way on the internet, and in fact we have to, so let’s do it.

My charity vision comes from that same sense of social justice. We ask nonprofits to solve the world’s toughest problems with a challenging business model. As a society, we reward selling sugar water far more than we reward building wells. This perverse incentive does nothing to solve the issue of lack of clean water, but it creates the altogether new problem of obesity. Clearly this is not sustainable. Capitalism can and must be better leveraged to help nonprofits do their work. It’s just too powerful of a force to ignore. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to harness the power of capitalism and by vastly improving this mutually beneficial partnership we will start to actually solve the world’s most pressing problems.
As a proponent of environmentalism and social justice, what social media platforms have jumped out at you as far as helping there?

The major social networks and publishing platforms can have a huge impact on social awareness and change. I can’t point to just one — as a marketer you have to use them all for their strengths. Unfortunately this is not one of those questions that has an easy solution.

You are active with many organizations, including Keiretsu Forum, the President’s Council of Planned Parenthood, the Long Now Foundation, and the Methuselah Foundation, among others. Are there trends you’ve seen online that have helped with expanding these causes?

Developments in the online world have increased the capacity of nonprofits and opened up new possibilities. For example, at Causecast we introduced free donation processing, which makes giving far less costly, and the ability for nonprofits to participate in workplace giving programs of corporations, also for free. But there are also pitfalls to online cause innovations. There is so much noise online, and it can be easy to create an app that is too difficult for NPOs to follow. Worse, I’ve seen some cause marketing campaigns where the brands are getting much more value than the nonprofit partners. I’ve seen many smaller nonprofits spend valuable time promoting a brand but competing against far more popular nonprofits, giving them no hope of winning. The time spent promoting the brand would have been better spent honing their core fundraising skills. Luckily there a lot of exceptions to this, for example Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good program in which all participating organizations walk away with something for their time, and organizations are paired with other organizations of similar size, making it more fair.
What other trends do you think nonprofits can leverage right now to help advance their message?

Workplace giving and volunteer programs are becoming a critical aspect of employee engagement, which is an essential key to employee recruitment and retention. Traditional corporate philanthropy only goes so far — companies need to get their entire workforce involved in order to make a difference, and nonprofits should make sure that they’re exposed to employee-based streams of fundraising and volunteerism. When employees get involved with nonprofits as a part of workplace programs, everyone benefits — nonprofits, the engaged employees and corporate bottom lines. That’s why Causecast developed a technology platform to help nonprofits connect with business workforces.

Social good marketing gets a lot of positive coverage these days. Do you feel it’s a win/win for brands and nonprofits? How do consumers/donors benefit from these social good partnerships?

It’s always a good thing when the private sector supports the public sector, no matter what the reasons. But cause marketing can feel like just that — marketing — if it’s not backed up by authentic engagement by the employees of the company.
Where do you see “Social Good/Cause Marketing” heading in the next two years?

Cause marketing is clearly the future of marketing. In fact, when you see that 90% of consumers will switch brands to one that supports a cause, you quickly realize that all marketing will be cause marketing. Despite some attempts at causewashing, it’s here to stay.

As you can tell, I’m really excited about employee cause engagement or workplace giving and volunteering. In fact, I predict all cause marketing campaigns will ultimately be launched to the public from within the workplace, by the employees of the corporation, not solely from the marketing department. Because what, after all, is the heart and soul of a company? Its staff. If they pick the nonprofits the company should support, if they are involved in crafting and promoting the campaign, it’s as authentic as it can be.

Soon, and this is our most active area of development, we’ll see companies competing with each other to make the most positive social change. I can’t think of a better reason to be hopeful for the future than that.

Ryan Scott, CEO of Causecast.Learn more about Ryan Scott on LinkedIn, and follow him on Twitter @ryan_scott.

Amy Neumann is a social entrepreneur, writer, speaker and consultant on social good marketing. Check out her Charity Ideas Blog and follow her on Twitter @CharityIdeas.

Follow Amy Neumann on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CharityIdeas

15 Positive Sites to Make You Smile

25 Feb
This article originally appears in The Huffington Post.
Amy Neumann

Writer, Speaker; Social Media Consultant

15 Uplifting Sites Focused on Positive Stories and Ideas for Good

Posted: 02/25/2012 11:06 am

Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves. ~ James M. Barrie

There is no shortage of news these days, every place we turn. Much of it is less-than-positive. Looking for something different? A little more thoughtful, light-hearted, happy, fun, and inspirational? Here are a few great choices.

All of these sites focus on uplifting and creative news stories, ideas, and information. Check them out to bring a little sunshine into your day.

The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project is the memoir of a year spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier. Daily adventures in pursuit of happiness.


The Huffington Post: Good News

Daily Good news. Positive, uplifting, inspiring stories from the Huffington Post.
Happy news that shows the good in the world around us.


Zen Habits

Zen Habits is about finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness.
It also happens to be one of the Top 50 websites in the world and is uncopyrighted.


Tiny Buddha

Tiny Buddha is about reflecting on simple wisdom and learning new ways to apply it to our complex lives-complete with responsibilities, struggles, dreams, and relationships. A leading resource for peace and happiness.


Happy News

Real news. Compelling Stories. Always positive.


Optimist World

Daily good news headlines, inspiring stories about charities, positive corporate social responsibility activities, sustainable travel, optimistic stories from the world of sports, and more.



TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader.


1000 Awesome Things

“1000 Awesome Things might be described as optimism for the rest of us. Sunny without being saccharine, it’s a countdown of life’s little joys that reads like a snappy Jerry Seinfeld monologue by way of Maria Von Trapp.” – The Vancouver Sun


Good News Network

A “Daily Dose of News to Enthuse.” Stories confirm what we already believe: good news itself is not in short supply; the advertising of it is.



Good news… Served daily.



GOOD is a collaboration of individuals, businesses, and nonprofits pushing the world forward. Since 2006 we’ve been making a magazine, videos, and events for people who give a damn.


USAToday Kindness

Kindness is your daily source of inspiration and guide to making a difference in fresh and exciting ways, no matter where you are. Exclusive interviews, fresh takes on news stories, plenty of tips, and links to interesting resources.


Gives Me Hope

People sharing uplifting stories. “Life is beautiful today!”


Ode Wire

Around the clock and around the world, OdeWire is always looking at the most authoritative news sources for stories that focus on solutions rather than problems, and on positive changes rather than negative ones.


Daily Good

Receive a news story, an inspiring quote, and a suggested action each day that every person can use to make a difference in their own lives and the world around them.


Amy Neumann is a social entrepreneur, writer, speaker and consultant on social good marketing. Check out her CharityIdeasBlog and follow her on Twitter @CharityIdeas.

Follow Amy Neumann on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CharityIdeas

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