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5 Ways to PWN the Cause Blog


… by Jessica Kirkwood, VP Interactive Strategy & Michael Nealis, Interactive Strategy Coordinator
Points of Light Institute & HandsOn Network

Most of us have a cause that is dear to us.

We are driven to feed the hungry, or house the homeless, or just love the heck out of all of the animals that don’t have a loving home.
But sometimes it is challenging to blog about what we hold dear.

[That blinking cursor can be so intimidating!]

As curators of HandsOn Blog, we’re charged with publishing fresh content on volunteerism on a daily basis.

We compared notes and came up with a list of five strategies we share for creating cause related blog content:

  • Listen First – We’ve found that the best way to know how to contribute to the conversation about our cause is to listen first. We both use Google Reader to follow online conversations about volunteerism and stay on top of new developments, news, trends and politics. This gives us ideas and helps us add to the larger conversation via our blog posts.
  • Share a Lesson – Over the last year we’ve found that some of our most popular posts are simple “How To” posts. Like 33 Ways to Make a Difference in Schools or 4 Tips for Using Social Media to Mobilize People. Luckily, this kind of post is easy enough for us to create as we can pull and repurpose content from our organizations publications, training materials, speeches, and training toolkits.
  • Tell a Story – We love to profile an individual project, volunteer or person whose life has been changed through volunteerism. It’s easy to find the universally compelling center of each story and draw that out, letting each single story represent the larger whole of the cause itself.
  • Connect your cause to something unexpected – We’ll often link volunteering to an editorial trend – like New Year’s resolutions – which is, admittedly, expected. But we also look for connections in unlikely places. Recently a cell phone commercial inspired a post about whether or not flash mobs could change the world.
  • Use every day experiences so simplify the message– We’re always looking for more resonant ways to talk about volunteering. We try talking about program evaluation (kind of boring) as if it were like eating cookies (kind of awesome). And when we need to write about the intersection of social media and volunteer recruitment we might say, “Did you ever see that commercial for Faberge Organics Shampoo (and Wayne’s World) – where they told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on… well ideally, volunteer recruitment via social media is… like THAT.”

Don’t let the cursor blinking against the blank page intimidate you.

Trust us, that cursor is a punk.

To learn more about volunteering, please follow @HandsOnNetwork and visit HandsOn Blog. You can learn more about Jessica and Michael via Twitter @HeyJK and @MikeNealis.

Using the Social Web to Drive Real-World Social Action


… by Jessica Kirkwood, VP of Social Media, HandsOn NetworkKaren Bantuveris, CEO, VolunteerSpot

What’s the best way to motivate your friends, followers and fans to take action that changes the world? Join us at BlogWorld Expo ’10 and find out!

On Friday, October 15th at 12:15 p.m. PST, we’re facilitating a a wacky, interactive session exploring what’s most effective in inspiring, equipping and mobilizing people to make a difference and take real world action. We’ll be joined as facilitators by Kerala Taylor of KaBOOM and Robert Wolfe of Crowdrise.

This won’t be a ‘talking heads’ panel discussion. Instead we’ll be calling on the wisdom of the crowd and challenging participants to drive real-world action right there, in the moment, from the conference room.

Oh, and there’ll be some cool prizes too!

Session participants will compete to earn points and prizes for creating real-world actions that range from simple, like re-tweeting of messages, to more complex commitments like persuading friends, fans or conference attendees not in the room to pose for humorous photos or make commitments to charities or causes they care about.

Between the four of us, we have boatloads of experience mobilizing people to make a difference. If you attend our session, we’ll both share simple best-practice strategies as well as demonstrate the way that social media can amplify your power to create change and involve friends, family, community volunteers and others in your local and networked communities.

There couldn’t be a better time to talk about mobilizing people to take real world action. October 23, 2010, just one week after Blogworld closes, marks the 20th anniversary of Make A Difference Day, the largest national day of community service. We hope you’ll Make A Difference in your community.

BlogWorld Expo ‘10 Here we Come!

Learn About NMX


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