How a One-Person Nonprofit Brings the Face and Voice of Homelessness to Mainstream

IP

InvisiblePeople.tv is a one-person nonprofit organization with mission to bring the voice and face of homelessness, founded in 2008 by Mark Horvath, who is a former homeless himself.

So how can a one-person nonprofit outfit fight homelessness and make a dent?

In this post, you’ll discover the three ways this nonprofit work the social media to communicate its message.

#1. Leverage the use of social media tools

Use social media because it’s free,” says Mark Horvath in one of the Invisible video clips. Since the launched of his organization, Mark Horvath and his Invisible People have leveraged the use of social media tools to bring stories of homelessness to the mainstream. The communication method works two-ways: with mainstream and with(in) the homeless community itself.

As a communication tool, social media is used to reach out multiple layers of stakeholders, including those who are homeless because they are also online. He says that if you are looking for a homeless person, Facebook is a good place to start.

A large portion of IP’s stories are video interviews with homeless individuals which then posted on its YouTube video-blog (vlog). In addition to YouTube, where videos originated (the hub), links from video clips are shared through their Facebook, Twitter, blog, and Google+ channels (spokes). If on YouTube channel you get to hear interviews, on its Flickr and Instagram accounts you get to see pictures of those interviewed.

So technically one (same) content can be seen multiple times via a variety of social networking sites because each site has different audience, followers, culture, and demographics.

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Why The World’s Wildlife Conservation Network Use Blog to Connect with the World

Wildlife Direct

Wildlife Direct is an Internet, Kenya-based US registered conservation charity, founded in 2005 by African conservationist, Dr. Richard Leakey.

It was founded with the goal to connect directly those who care about wildlife with those who work in the frontlines through ‘blogging’ portal, where conservationists can use their blogging platform (hosted on their site) to blog stories on wildlife conditions in remote areas of Asia, Africa, and South America.

Using blogs enable individual donors, supporters from around the world to participate and communicate directly with the bloggers working on conservation projects they are funding and build trust.

Wildlife Direct has grown from hosting a modest twenty blogs in 2006 – to becoming the largest online community of African wildlife conservationists.  I started doing research for the original piece of this post in early 2012, then it hosted approximately 80 blogs on its platform. Today, WD hosts over 100 blogs (although some are currently non-active) written by conservationists working remotely from Africa – East, Central and West Africa – and as far away as Asia and South America. Furthermore, on site blogs are interlinked to a point where readers can click to search other blogs of interest based on region or species.

Even though, Wildlife Direct has integrated the use of blogging with social media tools – Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube – blogging is still the area where they shine. It is still the preferred story-telling tool use by the majority of conservationists working from the frontlines.

The blogging platform allows bloggers to customize content that tell stories about endangered species projects they are preserving using a combination of text, video clips and pictures. Their stories give donors the assurance for transparency, accountability, and work progress – so that they can continue funding those conservation missions, programs, etc.

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Help Kopernik Get More Innovative Technologies to People in Need

Guest post by: Cindy Nawilis

Chase Community Giving is giving away $3 million in grants to 100 small, local charities and Kopernik – an NGO in the Social Good Startup, that distributes technologies like solar lamps and clean, efficient cookstoves to poor last mile communities – needs your help to win.

All you need to do is vote via Facebook.

Voting is easy, just follow these steps:

1. Go to http://bit.ly/tQgrPW and “Like” the Chase Community Giving App on the top left of your page.

2. Click the green “Vote and share” button for your vote to count towards Kopernik.

3. Encourage your friends and family to do the same.

The voting window lasts only until November 22, and Kopernik needs you to take action to make a difference.

So what are you waiting for, go ahead and vote!

Cindy Nawilis

Cindy Nawilis is Project Officer of Kopernik, an on-line marketplace of innovative, life-changing technologies designed for the developing world. Check out what they do and the technologies they offer at www.kopernik.info

Social Good Startup: Em{Power} Energy Group

Second in the series of Startups for Good Challenge

Em{Power} Energy Group, was one of the eight finalists to Startups for Good Challenge, hosted by the good guys of Mashable, 92Y and UN Foundation.

In this interview I talked with Ryan Integlia and Nasir Uddin, who are Executive Director and Vice President of the organization, respectively. We talked about the business they are in and challenges facing such organization.

Em[Power] Energy is in the business of helping landfill communities, people who are living close or near landfills – around the world.

Their mission is to “revitalize waste scavenging communities throughout the world using a modular and scalable cooperative development based on renewable resources.” In layman’s term, they will help these communities to improve their living conditions by converting organic waste and waste water into electricity, compost and have them take charge of the business – once all said and done.

Unless you come from developing world, you probably not accustomed to see people living near, at or very close to the big dumpster. We don’t see them around here anymore. But, in countries like Bangladesh, Cambodia, Mexico, Indonesia, India – they are coexist – with today’s modern world.

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Social Good Startup: Kopernik

kopernik dlight solar lanternKopernik is one of the 8 finalists to Startups Good Challenge that was held about a month ago, sponsored by the good guys at Mashable, 92Y and UN Foundation. I tried to reach out to all of the finalists, however, only 5 responded – with one left the event early, before I had the chance to interview the founder.

The criteria:

“Startups that are building or using technology to make a positive impact on the world will compete for a chance to present at the Social Good Summit and win a $10,000 cash prize for their company.”

So this is the first social good organizations out of four (that I was able to have conversations with) that will be featured here. The lineup: Kopernik, Empower Energy, Simple Energy and the winner of this competition – a 19-yo kid, Sun Saluter.

In this interview, I talked with Toshi Nakamura, the co-founder of Kopernik, a social enterprise who’s also a member of Clinton Global Initiative. Toshi and I shares one thing in common: Indonesia. Oh well, his organization is based in Indonesia, and I was lifted from there. That’s about it.

The problem that they’re trying to solve is in the distribution of life-changing technology to the last mile in the developing country (read: the poorest). Think of this business as the online store for innovative technologies, i.e. technology like what you see from the picture above showing d.light lantern, which is one of the products available from their store.

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The Path to Find Your Next Big Ideas

bright ideaI recently had the opportunity to chat with Peter Sims, the author of “Little Bets,” at the Social Good Summit. Peter is also a co-founder of Fuse Corps, a social enterprise that partner up with government, mayors, etc. to help tackle the nation’s most pressing problems. This is part of his little bets.

Little bets are a way to explore and develop new possibilities. The idea is to start small experiment to discover big things. You have to go through the process to discover bigger and better ideas. There is no shortcut for that.

For example, comedian Chris Rock would practice (read: experiment) with his lines at small comedy clubs around where he lives – before he uses those lines (that worked) for the big stage.

The same is true with VCs, how they would invest in a number of different companies. Not all companies would succeed (if it works out 100% success ratio, it would be a dream!), however, from the companies they invest one of two would grow big and give multiple times payback to investors.

So before you dive in to the conversation, here are some the things you can learn from this conversation:

  • where Peter finds his inspiration
  • that it’s okay to fail

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Brands and the Power of Connected Citizens

Best global brands 2011

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview Simon Mainwaring, the author of “We First,” at Social Good Summit. If in the past, brands controlled the conversation. With social tools at people’s disposal, that is no longer the case.

Game changing: We First

The use of social tools changed how consumers view their relationships with brands. (even for those that do not fall under the category of big brands, i.e. business or people – like you and I) Because consumers now have the power to drive ‘the’ conversation.

So we talked about how connected citizens – those who are actively sharing their values via various social networks like Twitter, Facebook, etc. – choose to communicate with brands.

Some of the things that we discussed:

– The power of connected citizens.

We saw what’s happening in Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain how people are reaching out despite the state of oppression in communicating the value of what they care. In the business world, for example, citizens’ participation in Pepsi Refresh Project. This is a project, where anyone with an idea can get their initiative funded.

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