Social Causes 2.0

Everyone basically knows that the web has grown to become a place for raising awareness about the plight of humankind. Whether it’s the disasters in New Orleans through hurricanes or wildfires in California or even with human-created disasters such as Darfur, the Internet has become a beacon of hope of spreading the word and inciting action from those concerned global citizens.

Helping to lead the charge on the plagues against humanity is the team from Livingston Communications. Geoff Livingston and Qui Diaz are two people that I know that are actively engaging the community and their most recent expedition is to raise awareness and encourage action against the plight of those in Darfur. With the Save Darfur campaign, they have taken advantage of online videos, social media, websites, and much more to get out the community to help them pressure the incoming Obama administration to keep their word to cease the senseless violence and “genocide” in the country.

The Internet is a very large place and for social causes, it seems that there is no better place to reach the masses. Whether it’s by simply establishing a website, which is perhaps the most important “stake in the ground” you can make online that will help support your efforts, or sending out e-mails to qualified leads through a online marketing campaign, or perhaps via means of social networking sites like Myspace or Facebook, there are many touch points that you will be able to garner support from.

Still not convinced or unsure as to how you can take advantage of the web to promote non-profit charitable & social causes? If you’re organizing efforts to help in accomplishing success with a cause, try taking these steps to drive more interest:

  1. Create a website – if people can’t find information about your cause online or anywhere else, why would they pay attention to you at all? This is the place where people will sign up to help.
  2. Employ search engine marketing – start with SEO to help drive down costs, but if multiple organizations are promoting your cause but you think differently, then you might consider some SEM tactics.
  3. Send out emails with helpful information – An email marketing system will help keep people aware of what’s going on with the cause. Make sure it’s useful information that will keep your subscribers motivated & they will share it with their friends. Use qualified leads taken from your website and other lead generations. These are your true “followers”.
  4. Engage the public with online videos or photos – Use sites like Viddler, YouTube, etc. to promote videos of your cause. Regardless of what it is, there are powerful movies and images that can help your cause & at the same time, allow people to embed them and share virally with others.
  5. Set up social network pages – people who are on social sites like Facebook, Myspace, Squidoo, etc. will not want to link out to your website when it will cause them to leave the social site (they’re having fun there). So create a cause annex page on the social platform and this will allow for global discussion and enable “fans” to share the cause with others in their networks much easily.
  6. Create widgets – sharing is good…no matter where or how. Widgets will be that extra step to make sure that anywhere your audience turns, your cause will be front and center. The widget will be a badge of proof letting people know that someone cares about something.

These are just some small steps that you can take to help promote your cause. But don’t forget that rather than covering small areas on foot in real life, the Internet offers you a much greater opportunity to extend your social cause reach. Take advantage!

By Ken Yeung

Ken Yeung is a journalist fascinated with the stories of the tech industry and internet culture. He's currently the Technology Editor at Flipboard, where he observes what's happening in the space while also identifying new topics of interest. In addition, he co-hosts the weekly internet show "The Created Economy," which focuses on what's happening to creators and influencers. Previously, he was a reporter for VentureBeat and The Next Web, covering tech startups, the industry's innovations and funding. Ken also has a newsletter you should also subscribe to called "Filed."