My Photo

About Beth Kanter

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Beth's Blog: Channels, Screencasts, and Videos

Awards, Nominations, and Board Memberships

May 2010

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
            1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31          

Categories

Site Tracking




  • This is my Google PageRank™ - SmE Rank free service Powered by Scriptme


« Nonprofits That Tweet: Roundup of lists, resources, and examples | Main | New Twitter Tool Mailana Helps Me Visualize Strong Ties In My Network »

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8345159b069e2011168fb5811970c

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference What is the distinction between social media for charity and social good/systemic change?:

» Social Media for Charity Versus Change? from The Extraordinaries
Thanks to Beth Kanter for a detailed report-back from the "Social Media for Social Good BBQ" at SXSW. Kanter sums up a lot of sentiment from many conversations that I had at SX: that many campaigns of late have focused... [Read More]

» Charity Is Not Always the Answer from The Extraordinaries
There's been a great discussion over at Beth Kanter's blog on charity versus on-the-ground action. Serendipitously, I came across this apropos passage in Muhammad Yunus' book Creating A World Without Poverty last night: "The importance of charity canno... [Read More]

» Weekend Link Roundup (March 21 - 22, 2009) from PhilanTopic
Here's this week's roundup of noteworthy posts and articles from and about the nonprofit sector.... Arts and Culture The economy and markets are a mess, giving is flat or down, and a growing number of nonprofits face uncertain futures. Indeed,... [Read More]

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

KarenMaunu_LWB

We are the charity that won the Facebook challenge last year, sponsored by the Case Foundation. We most definitely used social networking for charity first and foremost (saving the lives of ten orphaned children with heart disease), but I think it is important to realize that many times providing charitable help does impact social change, as in our case we are modeling to orphanages and local communities that orphaned children DO have worth and do deserve to be loved and respected, no matter what their special needs are. While many people might look at our work as simple ‘charity’, we see firsthand the change that comes when through our humanitarian programs, local people actually meet and interact with children with special needs and realize they are just normal little children. We have seen increased domestic adoption and a general shift in how children with special needs are viewed in the villages where we work.

The interesting thing about last year’s challenge is that since we are an all volunteer run charity (over 150 of us) and mostly over 30 moms, none of us had a Facebook account, but our kids did. We had our first lesson in social media outside our blog, website, and yahoogroups. We first entered the contest on a whim, but then with our supporters we were able to really mobilize people....and this included getting thousands of people signed up for the first time with their own Facebook accounts. This in turn has lead to a whole new way of marketing our charity and educating so many more people outside the Chinese adoption community about our work. Using social media has helped us to rally a whole new group of supporters, which we hope will then lead to more social change.....and a global view of children’s issues.

Nedra Weinreich

Sorry I'm jumping in here so late. What a great post and set of comments! I don't think that social good and social change are equivalent; like Christine said, social good covers both fundraising that helps people and social change that creates more lasting positive effects. But certainly fundraising and social change are very different animals (unless the social change you are working toward is building a new ethic of philanthropy or something of that sort).

Social change happens when many people's awareness, attitudes and behaviors change, and new social norms arise. Social media can facilitate this by making communications and actions visible to others in a social network, making them want to take action as well. Sometimes structural barriers (e.g., policies, power dynamics, design issues) stand in the way that have to be addressed before social media is the right tool to be using. So, within certain groups -- particularly tech-savvy ones -- social media may be sufficient to bring about change in that population. But other groups may need more difficult alterations in their environment to happen before social media can play a role.

Of course, social media can be used to rally people to work toward policy change, raise awareness of an issue, encourage people to take action, or to raise money to help the organizations that are working toward this type of social change. The difference between fundraising and achieving real social change is in the behavior that people are doing -- giving money (which is usually a good thing, but a temporary form of engagement) versus taking actions over time that build commitment and perceptions of a new social norm and lead to lasting social change.

Stacey Monk

Beth,

Thanks so much for your thoughtful summary of the discussion that emerged during our panel at SxSW - there's so much here on which to reflect! To spare your blog a several-thousand word comment, I've posted my thoughts on social change, social media and storytelling at http://bit.ly/zybeX.

Thanks!
Stacey

KarenMaunu_LWB

We are the charity that won the Facebook challenge last year, sponsored by the Case Foundation. We most definitely used social networking for charity first and foremost (saving the lives of ten orphaned children with heart disease), but I think it is important to realize that many times providing charitable help does impact social change, as in our case we are modeling to orphanages and local communities that orphaned children DO have worth and do deserve to be loved and respected, no matter what their special needs are. While many people might look at our work as simple ‘charity’, we see firsthand the change that comes when through our humanitarian programs, local people actually meet and interact with children with special needs and realize they are just normal little children. We have seen increased domestic adoption and a general shift in how children with special needs are viewed in the villages where we work.

The interesting thing about last year’s challenge is that since we are an all volunteer run charity (over 150 of us) and mostly over 30 moms, none of us had a Facebook account, but our kids did. We had our first lesson in social media outside our blog, website, and yahoogroups. We first entered the contest on a whim, but then with our supporters we were able to really mobilize people....and this included getting thousands of people signed up for the first time with their own Facebook accounts. This in turn has lead to a whole new way of marketing our charity and educating so many more people outside the Chinese adoption community about our work. Using social media has helped us to rally a whole new group of supporters, which we hope will then lead to more social change.....and a global view of children’s issues.

Beth is posting for Jen Lemens who sent this comment via email

I’ve been following this conversation on twitter and on beth’s blog, and the whole thing is so interesting to me–especially katrin’s comment on beth’s blog about what theories of change actually work and who gets it and who doesn’t when it comes to knowing what works in africa.

you could take it as a criticism of epic change (and i can see why you would from katrin’s tweets about you, stacey) but i don’t think it has anything to do with you really.

the world is changing and so are the rules. it used to be that you needed an advanced degree or an NGO or even some sophisticated knowledge of the “theories of change” to be legitimately involved in africa. all of those things are valuable, i’m sure, but mostly to westerners or africans with advanced degrees, NGOs or well-developed understanding of the theories of change.

the rest of us (whether you live in africa or north america) make most of our major changes as a result of deep friendship and the kind of trust where somebody sees the real you and is willing to stand by you while you become and grow. when that kind of trust is in place, you can take the risks that are required to make a difference–in your own life and the people around you.

that’s how i see how you (and epic change) in relation to mama lucy. when you met in person, mama lucy saw the real you–the shrewd businesswoman who had plenty of smarts but who operates best when she works from her heart. and you saw the real mama lucy–an incredibly resourceful and competent social entrepreneur who was a sure bet in terms of not only a business investment, but also social change.

both of you are qualified to enter into this agreement & are successful in its undertaking, not because of your knowledge of “theories of change”, but because you are well-developed human beings who are capable of mutuality and respect–across all kinds of divides, race, socio-economic, age, culture, etc. not everyone can do this; not everyone looking in from the outside will be able to understand it.

and some (maybe even katrin herself) will find it wildly threatening. because if this shift in our understanding of what qualifies you to be involved in africa (or anywhere) really takes hold in a substantial way, then the question changes from “who has the most nuanced understanding of the theories of change?” to “who understands with depth and nuance what it means to be human?” that’s an entirely different conversation, and one that is bewildering and maddening if you’ve been working off the assumption that human connection or friendship are not legitimate primary channels to make change happen, especially when very real human emotion might get involved.

if there’s anything i’ve learned about people living in poverty over the years, it’s that this population knows better than anyone else who cares, who’s working a professional angle and who’s full of bullshit. maybe the reason our progress in the developing world is so limited is because we’ve come at it from a theoretical perspective, instead of a human one. we don’t really know ourselves in this way. it’s so much easier to pull the yale card or the expert card or the experience on the ground card. it’s much safer to work from that space than to ask the people around you–”are you changed because you know me? are you more creative, resourceful or innovative in your work in the developing world because of the way i connect human-being to human-being?”

i could go on and on–sorry to rant on your blog. if it’s any comfort, i think you must be on to something stacey to be getting under the skin of someone with a lot more influence and power than you have to affect the conversation.

at least for now.

Carol Cone - posted by Beth Kanter f rom an email thread

Beth –

Outstanding commentary. Really terrific.

Some thoughts for you to consider:

As we have been aligning companies and causes and causes with companies for more than 25 years, we gave up on trying to focus on one definition of the activity. In the early days Am Ex coined the term, cause marketing, where a small portion of the proceeds of a sale of something was donated to a cause. The goal was a win win for the company and the cause….reputation building for the company, awareness of the cause and funds raised for the nonprofit. As that activity became more sustainable and strategic to how the company embedded the cause into its actions, employee and customer/consumer relationships, we created the term, Cause Branding. The company began to use the cause as a filter to its actions, and ultimate behavior. The company embraced the cause as a deep and relevant part of its identity….think Avon and breast cancer;

Then other terms popped up: corporate citizenship, passion marketing or passion branding, social marketing, doing good and doing well. Then to confuse things more, corporate responsibility, corporate social responsibility came into being, which really was related to how a company behaved in a variety of areas: governance, diversity, environment, community, philanthropy. Each definition has a different meaning, some a nuance, some other very large, very strategic.

Whatever the term, you bring up one of the most important points: authenticity. Today, the expectations of how a company acts and indeed integrates with society are very extensive. Not just: do no harm, but how can a company make a positive contribution to the world – whether in its local community, nationally or internationally or all three. Winning a “license to operate” is becoming more critical today than ever before.

And in embracing a social issue or a range of social issues, a company needs to think how can it make some impact in a positive way, over the long term….thus how can it authentically engage with an issue core to its business, and relevant to its employees, consumers and communities.

Generosity was always part of leading companies. For a very long time, it was not cool to talk about giving. Then in the 90”s when competition was so great, companies began to innovate in their cause programs, and told people about what they were doing. Our research, we have been studying companies and causes for over 15 years, (in addition to doing the work), found that consumers, and especially employees, wanted to learn about what companies were doing. And over time, a core portion of these stakeholders asked: what could they do to get involved in the cause?

Again your point about authenticity arises. The early adopters who were lead by CEO’s who “got it” about giving back as part of the social contract, built ongoing commitments to social issues….Hasbro, McDonalds, Home Depot, Avon, Reebok, IBM, Starbucks, Timberland, Body Shop, Stoneyfield, Tom’s of Maine……large and small, built issues into their brands and organizations. They did the good, Some in very very innovative ways.

Yet it was often hard for their consumers to really know what they were doing and how they might participate in the social action.

This is why social media is so exciting today. It is so easy to invite others into the cause…..in a variety of ways….learn about the cause, how it may impact you, how can you engage, how can you spread the word, how can you donate, how can you make a difference on the ground.

Long answer to your questions.

A bit more: Think of charity as writing a check and walking away. Social media can be far more than just a donation. Social media is the powerful bridge linking the “spectrum of engagement” a term we use at Cone, to create bridges to numerous actions…..the “consumer” can chose what depth of engagement they want…..a fact, a donation, a means to tell friends, places to go offline to gather and act.

Ultimately in the end, raising awareness alone is not enough. Raising money alone is not enough. Connecting online isn’t enough. Ultimately we are talking about an interactive system. And ultimately, the change that needs to take place must happen on the ground.

Hope this helps a bit.

Thanks for mentioning our blog.

Brian Powell

Yes there probably is a distinction between fundraising and engagement that should be articulated whenever the term "social media for social good" is used. As for which one is better or more appropriate, I instead subscribe to the use of many tactics holistically woven together to tell an impactful story in a integrated marketing approach. However what I find most interesting in all this is the fervor of debate about this and similar topics within the cause marketing/non-profit marketing/social justice camps. If more NPOs, NGOs and other like minded organizations and individuals would start collaborating more instead of fighting over the same donors, corporate partners, and (most annoyingly) terminology we all could accomplish a lot more.

Sadly it seems at times we're more passionate about arguing abut the authenticity of a cause campaign, the legitimacy of a "new" proprietary methodology, the publishing of research, or the ownership of ideas -- than actually using our gifts and talents to make a difference.

And to me that is the ultimate promise of social media in this space. Enabling “bonds without borders” for impactful connections and sharing of ideals AND ideas.

bp

Good Concepts | http://www.thegoodconcepts.com

Katrin Verclas

My follow-up thoughts on Charity versus Social Change -- complete with definitions -- and why Aid is Bad, Part 1. http://katrinskaya.tumblr.com/post/89065553/charity-versus-change-and-why-aid-is-bad-part-1

Katrin Verclas

And why in the world does Typepad not autolink? Geez. Here is the link to my comments -- clickable here

Rhesa Jenkins

Lina's comment:

"Systemic change results from: (a) ground-level innovation that moves beyond point solutions, connects root causes and is replicable across regions, issues or societal influences; (b) applying knowledge from a variety of diverse approaches to enable shared platforms for collaboration and communication; and (c) creating a shared understanding across sectors on how we harness innovations and how root causes and change agents within a system are interrelated."

Is an excellent summary of the "mission statement" of a new business model - that may work to move non-profits toward measurable outcome thinking and - move corporations toward sustainability based approach to market thinking.

I am finishing work with two groups, creating creating social capital organizations that adopt this model. with a goal to demonstrate the ability for open, collaborative innovation in underserved communities, to create rapid scale.

Please do post contact information if you intend to continue this conversation in a group or somewhere other than Beth's Blog or tweets.

Beth Kanter

A post over at Online Philanthropy re: social change and nonprofit mission
http://flip.onphilanthropy.com/online/2009/03/are-you-about-social-change.html

Posted for Shannon Aronin

I've continued to follow the conversation on your blog post about social media for social good. I've written the following response but am having problems posting for some reason and was hoping you could help me because I've really been enjoying the conversation. Thanks!


Nonprofits, generally being in the business of making the world a better place, are constantly asked to justify themselves and how they address systemic change. Some organizations shouldn’t be in the business of broad systemic change and instead should be meeting the basic needs of their clients, changing the world one person at a time in the absence of grander social change.

Using the Lend4Health example, a single stool test for a single child is not creating systemic social change. It is for the social good, or otherwise put, the greater good. It changes the world one child at a time. I agree with Ben, simply making it clear what the donation provides, and why it is important is perhaps enough. The systemic social change would be to ensure that everyone has his or her most basic needs met. What would happen if we told funders that we don’t expect our program to save the world, but instead that we expect to make an impact in our community, followed by sharing a replicable model using social media tools? The ability to share, learn, inspire, organize and yes give on a broader scale is the social good that social media creates. Dan Bassill and I appear to be of similar minds about this – perhaps it’s a youth mentoring perspective ;-)

For those of us on the “nonprofit track” at SXSW, we heard over and over again that fundraising should NOT be the primary goal of using social media and that the tools foster relationships and engagement. This model where nonprofits are out of the picture and individuals themselves ask for help worries me greatly. It may create action that is more rapid, and in some cases that is called for. More often though I believe it would at best create a lack of systemic vision and at worst provide opportunities for scam artists. A nonprofit has the ability to more cost effectively approach these issues because of increased buying power. We saw this with the Pledge to End Hunger that is able to provide more meals for less money than an individual could because of partnerships they have developed.

Lina, I respect your distaste for exploitative fundraising. However, if that “thing” the nonprofit provides is badly needed food or medicine, and if the organization saves that child’s life, then I’m ok with even Sally Struthers. The argument that charity breeds dependence misses the fact that children are inherently dependent, and sometimes mom and dad aren’t capable of providing or that some adults aren’t capable of providing for themselves. Social change empowers people to help on a grander scale, giving money being only one way to contribute. Money is what provides food, water, shelter, clothing, and education. Meeting these basic needs should ideally be coupled with strategies and interventions that ultimately create self-sufficiency. The problem isn’t that we have too many nonprofits but rather that we don’t have enough money. While consolidating organizations could result in more effective service delivery, it could also result in additional bureaucracy. Issue fatigue does happen when you approach the same people over and over again for the same cause. I don’t think we face generosity fatigue. Social media allows you to reach out to an ever-expanding pool of people who want to help – that’s the social change.

Amy Kincaid

So, the charity vs. social change is not a new debate. The tools have changed, and that's what opens up possibilities for doing more, better of each. Where I've always come down is the world needs both front line responsive charity and systemic solutions to tough root problems.

A lot of the social media fundraising has what feels like "dance for cancer" lite liveliness about it that appeals to the masses. Even when it is addressing tough and deadly serious issues. And I have a nagging worry that some of these techniques may water down the public understanding of the issues.

But I do see promise for using these new techniques and technologies to broaden (albeit shallow) participation (and that's fine--look how much more cognizant people are of global warming...) __as well as__ deepen the relationships, connections, authentic engagement in __both__ charitable work and social change efforts.

Interesting to note (nonprofits, we have work to do here): the blogging and social media folks are focused on (yes, I'll say it) social media fundraising for charity by individuals, not on fundraising/organizing/fan building for social change by nonprofit organizations.

A couple of previous posts on this subject:
http://changematters.blogspot.com/2009/03/study-shows-no-surprises-and-misses.html

http://changematters.blogspot.com/2009/02/roi-for-social-media-fundraising.html

dan mcquillan

I think Katrin's right about the shallowness of much 'social media 4 good'. Another example was Amplified08 here in the UK (see 'Amplifying the Other - a response to Amplified08' http://www.internetartizans.co.uk/amplified08).

I don't doubt the sincerity of Beth and other fundraisers. But many large charities are self-serving bureaucracies where the interests of the institution comes first and the recipients become pawns in inter-departmental power struggles. Yes, Shannon, really.

I like Christine's point about 'being the change we wish to see' - but i'd say that social media can help us DO the change we wish to see: that's the way Social Innovation Camp works http://www.sicamp.org/.

I'm with Katrin as well that it's the power axis that really counts. IMO one way that Social Innovation Camp helps with that is empowerment - it's a 'self-efficacy engine' :)

Sibyl Smith

Hi, Beth,
Great post on social change and social good. It was good to see you mention corporations, as they are powerful actors and their change in behavior or sponsorship of social good campaigns could have enormous impact.

Some of the comments you cited reflected your audience’s desire to see more engagement and action. Truly, with the unprecedented digital communication tools at our disposal today, there is no excuse for passivity. People just need the right channel and the right feedback loops.

We’re trying to crowdsource the definition of 21st century citizenship. Given these tools, and the great restructuring that could result from the collapsing economy, it is a great time to rethink civics, and what citizenship means now that the old era is fading. If we are going to rethink business and the social sector, we should consider also rethinking citizenship. Doesn’t it seem as if the challenges confronting us today require everyone and every organization to play a part? Don’t we have responsibilities as well as rights?

I invite you to add your thoughts to this initiative we have launched to start the conversation on 21st century citizenship.

http://www.21stcitizens.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JR1b6MsD2ro

Karen Maunu LWB

Your blog on social change and the others that I have read over this past week, have really made us think about the work we are doing. I wrote a blog today about social change and I would love your thoughts.... How should a charity help? We are wondering if we should rethink they way we have been helping.

http://lifeofgiving.blogspot.com/2009/03/social-change.html

Thank you!
Karen LWB

aeaea

efgrvjqlnkev http://flashden.net/user/aeaea ">mobile home rental east sussex q3fohgkwrg http://flashden.net/user/aeccestane ">how to leave the cockroaches behind when you move

The comments to this entry are closed.