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« Generation Generosity | Main | Social Media Listening Literacy Skills for Nonprofits »


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Allison Daskal Hausman

I hate to be suspicious, but there's something about this that feels very manipulative. I question the motives. It feels like some people are working very hard to make Twitter, as a company, grow rapidly. It doesn't feel as much about doing good for others.

Alison Lowndes

Thank you so much for the link, Beth.
Great post, as always x

Elliot Harmon

I buy books (partly) out of generosity all the time, to show my affection for the small presses that put them out. This is, well, something different. Nothing against Wiley, but I doubt very many people really have an emotional connection with them.

My biggest complaint about Tweetathon is the lack of a clear message on its homepage. Is it telling me to make a donation to Hearts and Hands? Buy a book? Follow a hashtag? I have no idea, so I'm most likely to close the tab and forget about it.

Joel Comm

Hey Beth!

Carol Cone pointed me to your blog and I'm so thrilled to know that you are involved in cause marketing with social media.

I appreciate you asking questions and wanted to address them publicly.

I've known Ken and Nita Surritte for many years. If you were to ask me which people in my life have the greatest compassion, the most integrity and the sincerest motives, I would have to point to Ken and Nita.

I've seen the results of their efforts. From helping facilitate the adoption of Chinese orphans with families in the U.S. that have had their dreams come true to participating in the efforts to build clean water wells in developing nations, the Surritte's are truly social co-entrepreneurs of the most respectful level.

When Ken first told me about the contact he made in China that could mass-produce the water filtration straw, and his vision for getting them into the hands of people forced to drink bacteria and diseased water to stay alive, I knew it was a cause I wanted to align myself with.

When Ken went to Kenya a few months ago with the first batch of water straws in his possession, he saw first-hand the life-giving results! And he couldn't wait to share his stories and his videos with me.

Unfortunately, while in Kenya, Ken got bit by a spider. One month later he found himself severely ill... in fact, if he had not received treatment (which included removing a sizable chunk of his back), he was approximately 48 hours away from the bite becoming fatal.

Even through this, Ken is eager to return to Africa with as many water straws as possible to meet the needs of these people.

I've been a fan of Twitter for about a year and a half now. When I was asked to write the definitive guide on Twitter for Business by John Wiley & Sons, I knew I wanted its release to be more than just another book launch.

If we intended to spread the word about Twitter, why not tie it into something more than just making a few bucks? That's why I am donating all my author royalties for sales made of Twitter Power for that day to Water is Life (via Hearts & Hands International, a recognized 501 c(3))

While Twitter may or may not be participating in philanthropic efforts, this Tweet-a-thon is not being sponsored by Twitter OR Wiley Publishing. This is my effort to bring attention to the clean water initiatives and get people involved in the process.

Certainly, it is my hope that people will also contribute directly to the cause by sponsoring water straws through their donations.

One of the commenters above states that the message isn't clear on how the funds will be raised. Both the video and the text on the page clearly state that buying the book will result in a donation from the author royalties. The message will become even more clear on the actual day of the event.

I'm very excited about this event and hope that the end result is more awareness and action in the clean drinking water arena. It's a unique approach to merging social media (ustream and Twitter) and demonstrating that Twitter really can be used as a powerful force to affect positive change.

I would LOVE for you to participate as a special guest on the Tweet-a-thon! Would you be willing to do a 10-minute interview to discuss cause marketing with social media.

I'll ping you on Twitter and would be happy to connect. :-)



Beth- I found a listing for them on Guidestar

The organization is young (ruling year 2006). There are no 990's on GuideStar which is a potential red flag, even for a young org.

Joel - if you see this please tell Ken to update his Guidestar profile with tax returns and other info. Transparency is crucial to getting the people who know about nonprofits to help push this. When you want to go big like the Tweetathon, you need to step up to the disclosure plate. The organization seems to be doing good work.

Scott Henderson

I find this concept an interesting juxtaposition of ideas:
- cause marketing
- live broadcast
- "celebrity" appearances
- book launch

While the organizers hope it will become a case study for others to emulate, I think it's going to turn into a case study for different reasons.

While Jerry Lewis in the heydays of the MDA Labor Day telethons had a captive audience from which to generate support, Joel and his team will be fighting for the attention of hyper-mediated people who can and will easily link to far more interesting & pressing matters.

The simple reality about social media and cause marketing is that we will continue to see more and more people jumping into the pool. Just like we've used every color combination for awareness ribbons. Just like every kid's activity group has their own line of snack food to sell.

No longer are we limited in our choice of television and radio programs. And, no longer are we limited in our choice of cause initiatives and cause marketing attempts.

Brands and small companies realize people expect more from them, especially when it comes to demonstrating their corporate responsibility. Small and large non-profits realize the opportunity to connect and engage people around the world via social media. Individuals realize they, too, can spread the word about their own cause initiative or one they want to support.

With all this noise & confusion, I think a more important question than "will this succeed?" is "how can YOUR cause initiative succeed?" and that will be answered in time by learning from the failures and successes. In my opinion, the answer is to follow these best practices:
Be Real
Be Passionate
Be Realistic
Be Transparent
Be Connected

More on those to come later in the week, once we post our "Authentic Advocacy" presentation.


Beth Kanter


You need an account to view their 990 information

Information is missing.

They have improved their web presence to include background about the organization, but more information needs to be added.

I assume their going to do it before tommorrow!

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