Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

Weekly Round-Up: Social Media Resources, a Top 10 List, and a Remarkable Response

Posted by ServeNext Staff on June 22, 2011

Residents of tornado-ravaged Joplin, MO show their gratitude to volunteers

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Survey says….

Posted by hlaverty on November 19, 2009

It looks like almost all nonprofits are experimenting with social media now, but only half of them are utilizing social media actively according to the survey I just read by the Weber Shandwick’s Social Impact team conducted with KRC Research. The research was conducted July 29 through August 17, 2009 and released on November 12.

Now, not to get too technical and scientific on you, I will give you a run down on some of the findings:

*Social media is changing the way nonprofits communicate with external audiences with a positive impact.

*Social media is seen as more effective for organizing than traditional media.

*Social media is a priority for the future (85 percent agreeing with this) and worth the investment.

*Social media makes it easier to organize advocates on behalf of their organization, but also for people to organize independently, a double-edged sword in organizing.

Other interesting things to note:

*Organizations operating with a budget of $25 million or more are even more likely to LOVE social media and be good at it.

* Nonprofit executives view social media as effective in raising visibility and building awareness of their organization.

*A lot of organizations have not yet determined the value of social media for their organization or have the necessary staff and expertise to render their social media programs.

But that’s where this survey can play a role in offering insights into how nonprofits and organizations can optimize their social media in the future.

Organizations can start implementing strategic programs that drive digital engagement, invest in social media to achieve fundraising goals,brand building and advocacy and ways to reach other stakeholders.

I can use the recent successful use of social media for the The America’s Giving Challenge, a competition that challenged people to use their personal networks and social media to help win cash for a nonprofit of their choice. Participants competed for daily and overall cash awards based on the number of donations generated for a cause, not dollars raised. It focused on how successful people were at building collective action and inspiring members to donate to a cause.

To see more results of the survey, the scientific stuff that comes with it or to use it as your guide to better your social media click here.

Posted in Highlights, Media, Research, Social Media For Service, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Online volunteers needed

Posted by hlaverty on November 11, 2009

radar from The Weather Channel
I have been following Ida as it hit El Salvador yesterday as a hurricane. Today, it’s a tropical storm guranteed to bring heavy rainfalls and cause issues to those in living in the Gulf Coast. It’s definitely the topic of conversation online and I noticed something I had not seen before on Beth Kantor’s blog, online volunteers.

Andy Carvin, vlogger, blogger, NPR social media guy; man about town, tweeted about needing volunteers for Hurricane Ida (now a tropical storm) and needing volunteers to help update and this thread to help get volunteers going. It’s all very simple and just takes a few minutes to post something that will undoubtedly help those affected.

Now, if your from Michigan like I am, you don’t need to prepare for hurricanes (snow, yes, but not hurricanes). However, HurricaneWiki, a project of the Hurricane Information Center proves necessary after last year’s Hurricane Gustav and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

When kept updated and maintained, people can use this online site to seek out help and to help others. It’s a great effective way of bringing resources together.

If you can help,please visit the Getting Ready for Idea site and the HurricaneWiki page .

Posted in Media, service, Social Media For Service, Uncategorized, Volunteerism | Leave a Comment »

NBC’s The Philanthropist

Posted by laurelgerard on July 28, 2009

This past Tuesday I had the opportunity to attend an event hosted by The Chronicle of Philanthropy and the Bradley Center for Philanthropy and Civic Renewal entitled “How Philanthropic is The Philanthropist.”

View Image

Teddy Rist, the main character on the primetime show, The Philanthropist

This event was a discussion concerning the new NBC television show “The Philanthropist.” There were four individuals on the panel: Tom Fontana, co-creator, executive producer, and writer of the show; Steve Gunderson, Council on Foundation’s; Sean Stannard-Stockton, manager of the website and blog Tactical Philanthropy; and Ian Wilhelm, The Chronicle of Philanthropy‘s senior writer.

The show itself concerns a rich New York City business man by the name of Teddy Rist. In the pilot, which I had the pleasure of watching on Hulu, this once man around town turns into an activist because of a life changing experience during a flood in Nigeria. After this experience he suddenly embarks on a crusade to help a Nigerian village acquire Polio vaccines. “The Philanthropist” is an entertaining, prime time television show. Even though some of its moments are a little far fetched, including Teddy following the image of his dead son out of the jungle, with a box of Polio vaccines in hand and a venomous snake bite in his ankle. All the same, it is a gripping show that will hopefully inspire people to start doing good.

One of the major things discussed by the panel was the fact that although “The Philanthropist” may not show the most accurate depiction of philanthropic work, it is still raising the general population’s awareness. Sean Stannard-Stockton made an interesting point: he explained that after the grand success of ER, there was a record number of applications applying to medical school. After airing the show CSI (Crime Scene Investigation), interest in forensic science exploded throughout the country. By airing the Philanthropist, it could get young people interested in philanthropic jobs.

As an American Studies major, one thing I know is that prime time television shows are reflections of current issues and trends occurring in society. Ian Wilhelm even went as far as to say that “The Philanthropist” is the first “Obama-Drama.”  Essentially this television show is a reflection of the current interest in philanthropy. Hopefully with the airing and success of this show, people will become more aware and interested in public service.

Posted in Media | 1 Comment »

Service on Meet the Press

Posted by Zach Maurin on July 21, 2009

Last Sunday, Meet the Press host David Gregory did something really great: he closed with a personal story about how proud he was to have his son at the baseball all-star game to see community service heroes being honored.  When I

watched this Sunday morning on TV it was clear that Mr. Gregory was truly thrilled that Major League Baseball did this and the example it sets for his son.  Service is a powerful force even watching from the stands.

Here is the transcript of what he said:

MR. GREGORY:  All right.  I want to end here, we just got a couple minutes left, on more of a personal note here.  I had a great honor this week, I took my son to the All-Star Game in St.  Louis.  We had a terrific time.  And I thought baseball did something really great, and we have some video of it. Before the game they had the All-Stars Among Us, people who engage in community service, who are giving to other people.  They lined up there, all the presidents’ taped messages, and then look at this:  all the players descended on them during a round of applause to shake their hand and pay tribute to them.  And, you know, as a dad sitting in the stands I thought, you know what, I love–this is what’s wholesome about baseball.

And it’s a lot easier, Paul, than having to answer my, my son’s questions about who has taken steroids and who hasn’t.  That’s tough.

MR. GIGOT:  No, it was a great moment for, for, for professional sports and it, you know, it gives the lie to the fact that what we sometimes think, which is that all of these athletes are spoiled and wealthy and all–have all of these problems, most of them are actually solid citizens.  And it’s a great lesson for kids because, as we know, they’re all role models.

MR. GREGORY:  Right.  And it is–again, you’ve got these moments where you think about where can you take your children?  You know, this was an area where all the presidents contributed, all the former presidents, and President Obama threw out that first pitch.  A little shaky, but nevertheless, he was there.

MS. NORRIS:  He was proud of it.

MR. GIGOT:  He got it there.

MR. GREGORY:  He got it there.  He got it there.  That was the point.  But these do become important moments, again, balancing these influences for our children.

MS. NORRIS:  It–you know, the symbolism there was, I thought, very, very striking, because, you know, our sons and our daughters…

MR. GREGORY:  Right.

MS. NORRIS:  …worship the people that play on the field and on the court. And when you can introduce them to real role models and people who are actually serving their community–you know, much was made of community service…

MR. GREGORY:  Right.

MS. NORRIS:  …and not in a good way, during the campaign.

MR. GREGORY:  Right.

MS. NORRIS:  I think we saw a very different side of it there.

MR. GREGORY:  This helps.  All right, we’re going to leave it there.  Thank you all very much.

You can watch the video tribute to the” All-Stars Among Us” by all of the living US Presidents here.

The other guests are Paul Gigot from the Wall Street Journal and Michelle Norris from NPR.

Posted in Media, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

My Op-Ed

Posted by Zach Maurin on May 8, 2009

I wanted to share with you a piece that was recently published in my local newspaper.  I was able to call my community to serve under the newly signed Serve America Act.  I tried to scan in a copy of the article, but it was unsuccessful.  So I have copied the text of the piece in this entry.  I hope you all enjoy it!

A New Era of Service

       As an undergraduate student at the George Washington University in Washington, DC, I have one fear about my future: not finding a job after graduation.  Even being in big city with a college degree, securing a job in this economy is not an easy task.
    Fortunately, the White House, Senate, and House recently worked together on bold legislation for national service (called the Serve America Act in the Senate and the GIVE Act in the House). This will give me a brighter outlook toward the day I graduate as a possible route for employment while giving back to my country.  This act encompasses the change President Barack Obama advocated all through his campaign.  After being the only piece of legislation specifically mentioned in his recent speech to a joint session of Congress, it is evident that President Obama demands success on this bipartisan work.
    President Obama will sign the bill into law on the 21st, ensuring that service is never forgotten in this nation.  His personal experience with service as a community organizer on the south side of Chicago is a personal victory for the president
    The change will come in the form of thousands of citizens joining together to improve the nation on numerous facets.  Upon its passage, the legislation will create a Clean Energy Corps, Healthy Futures Corps, Education Corps and Veterans Services Corps. Increases to existing programs such as AmeriCorps, will improve the already standing tradition of service to the country.  These corps call for every citizen to “ask what you can do for your country.”  Additionally, they will offer educational scholarships for those who serve to ensure that our nation is continuing its commitment to higher education.  Paying for any level of schooling has become a primary struggle in this economic crisis and this act will lessen that burden to ensure that all who are willing can enhance their education.
    The nation has an interest in looking out for its citizens in all aspects. This act does that by creating new jobs, increasing new energy sources, and supporting a solid educational base for its citizens.  
    The nation’s future is in the hands of my generation.  This service legislation proves that the United States in invested in protecting and enhancing the future of this generation.  No longer are we waiting for a miracle.  This is our time, and it is our duty to ensure that our future succeeds.
    Graduations are right around the corner and this legislation may be a solution to fearing graduates.  All of the opportunities laid out in the piece embody the profound investment in service the nation needs.  The bill calls America to help itself in this time of economic struggle by creating jobs that will pull the United States into a new age of service and responsibility.  Roosevelt accomplished this with the New Deal and Kennedy inspired the same sentiment; today President Obama wants to see the nation pull itself out of this downturn by starting from the bottom up. 
        No matter where one lives, what one believes, or what side of the aisle one may be on, this act is meant to increase the social investment we have to each other.   Service to the nation is not a partisan issue.  We all want to improve the condition of the United States and we should start by working together.
       I call all Illinois citizens to show your support for this legislation and serve your country in some way.  This could mean volunteering at the hospital down the street or traveling across the country to assist in the rebuilding efforts of North Dakota

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Service in the NY Times

Posted by Zach Maurin on January 24, 2009

Over the past few months, the service movement has been gaining serious attention — and rightfully so.  The USA Today, Newsweek, The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Colbert Report, and as of this past Thursday The New York Times is now on the list.

Check out the great op-ed from John Bridgeland and Bruce Reed who come from different sides of the political aisle, titled “Volunteer to Save the Economy.”

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Around the Web

Posted by Zach Maurin on August 4, 2008


The Young and the Restless
It seems as if the most recent buzz around the web is the restlessness and consistent activism among today’s generation. The New Republic’s “The Engaged Generation”baffles at the high voter turnout for young Americans.

Going hand-in-hand with last week’s Huffington Post’s “Online and Off, Millennials Redefine Civil Rights Activism,” the young are defying stereotypes by being “more engaged in this campaign than their elders.” And although The Chronicle of Philanthropy’s “How Foundations Can Promote Volunteering” touches on a wider variety of issues, such as what philanthropists can do strengthen impulse, they end with this: “By giving money to organizations that make service opportunities available to young people, the world of philanthropy can inspire and connect the next generation…”

The 5 C’s of Service
Tom Perriello, a Democrat running in Virginia’s 5th congressional district, has made quite the unique campaign for himself. In the Huffington Post’s “Compassionate Congressional Candidate Compels Community Caring,” Perriello’s community service initiative has already racked up 333 service hours from staffers and volunteers around the district. “The community response has been strong,” but more importantly, the message is working: Perriello’s commitment to community service has gained bipartisan support in a majority-red district. He’s one politician that “puts his money where his mouth is.”

Keep the Ball Rolling
A new study, released by the Corporation for National and Community Service, reportssurprising numbers in volunteer recruitment, management and retention rates. One of the many findings of the report states that one out of every three people who had volunteered in 2006 did not do so again in 2007. However, volunteering rates remained steady last year with 60.8 million people performing unpaid work for a nonprofit organization. The report also disproves the misconception that people with more leisure time are more likely to volunteer. In a typical week, “volunteers spend about 15 hours watching television, while people who don’t volunteer watch an average of 23 hours.”

The future of documentaries may change drastically as we know it. Social cause is what drives filmmakers to make their films, but supporting the cause somehow loses itself between the time you watch the film and finally go online to learn more. That is why Social Citizens Blog has pointed out Ted Leonsis’ site launch where you can watch documentaries for free, share them with others and support related charities right then and there. According to Case writer Jonathan Wolfe, “It’s all part of what Leonsis has dubbed ‘filmanthropy.’”

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ServeNext makes national news!

Posted by Zach Maurin on June 10, 2008

Road Trip With a Mission: Expanding National Service.  AmeriCorps alumni and members, are traveling the country by bus for the National Service Express Tour, hitting 30 cities in 60 days while holding meetings and other events to encourage AmeriCorps volunteers and alumni to put pressure on politicians to expand national service.  Cassie J. Moore from wrote about the start, and goals, of this journey. 

Biloxi, Miss. — It’s just beginning to heat up to summertime temperatures on an early afternoon here, low 80s with thick humidity. The little red Toyota Corolla cruises along Beach Boulevard after passing the Hard Rock and the Beau Rivage casinos. To the right are the last living live oaks, reaching wide and twisting over the tops of homes and buildings in various states of disrepair. Every third or fourth lot contains a Tyvek-wrapped, newly reconstructed edifice, almost ready. Less common are the mere foundations, crumbled bricks and cinder blocks, concrete front steps leading nowhere.

 At the left are dead live oaks that were choked with seawater when Hurricane Katrina’s waves jumped the beaches of Biloxi. The dead trees have been carved by chainsaw into animal sculptures. There’s an owl, a heron, a group of gulls, and then, farther out, the beach, with water so bacterially infested that no one swims.

 Sean Edwin, 24, is crammed into the middle back seat of the little car, his face taking the full force of the wind from all four open windows. He doesn’t mind. He has traveled 14,000 miles in the past 45 days by Greyhound bus, where the windows don’t open, so the strong breeze is kind of a luxury.

 Mr. Edwin and his colleague Matthew B. Wilhelm, 26, are traveling the country by bus for the National Service Express Tour, hitting 30 cities in 60 days while holding meetings and other events to encourage AmeriCorps volunteers and alumni to put pressure on politicians to expand national service. Today they are visiting volunteers here who are still working to rebuild the town almost three years after the hurricane.

 ‘Bird-Dogging’ Candidates

 This morning’s ride was easy. New Orleans to Biloxi, about two and a half hours, 87 miles. Mr. Edwin and Mr. Wilhelm make it clear that they have had worse and weirder rides.

 There was the tornado “in Kansas. Or Oz,” says Mr. Wilhelm. A fellow passenger got busted for drug possession around Buffalo, N.Y. The pair dubbed the bus from Los Angeles to Mesa, Ariz., “the Crazy Train” due to the bizarre behavior of some riders.

 AmeriCorps alumni themselves, the young men work for, founded in February 2007 by Mr. Wilhelm and two others. (ServeNext is awaiting approval of its charity status by the Internal Revenue Service.) The group’s ultimate goal is to persuade the next president to commit to expanding AmeriCorps by 100,000 volunteers by the end of his first term, from 75,000 to 175,000.

 ServeNext’s staff and supporters get attention by showing up at political events, such as town-hall meetings or house parties; “bird-dogging” candidates by repeatedly asking them to sign a pledge to expand national service; and blogging about their experiences at They would like to build coalitions to do the same during Congressional campaigns in at least 12 to 15 cities they are visiting on their tour.

 Barack Obama has signed the pledge; John McCain has not, though he has said he is committed to expanding national service.

 High-Tech Tour

 ServeNext’s headquarters are in Washington, but two of its four staff members, all age 26 or younger, live elsewhere. The group’s virtual presence is key: Mr. Edwin’s and Mr. Wilhelm’s pockets are frequently abuzz with technology. They regularly update their blog with text, photos, and video, and “Twitter” — mini-blogs updated via text message — when they catch a free minute. When someone in Biloxi asks for numbers on volunteerism rates after Katrina, Mr. Wilhelm whips out his BlackBerry and fires off an e-mail message to a colleague at ServeNext. Within minutes, he is spouting statistics.

 “People believe in national service,” says Mr. Wilhelm, noting that surveys by the Rockefeller Foundation, in New York, and Harris Interactive, in Rochester, N.Y., show that more than 70 percent of Americans support public service. “Now’s the time we’re actually developing that political muscle and saying we’ve got the voices, we’ve got the constituency, what are you going to do about it? There are votes that you can gain or lose as a result of your plan or lack thereof.”

 They also want to increase the educational stipend for volunteers and raise general awareness about AmeriCorps.

 Mr. Edwin says that while AmeriCorps volunteers and alumni greatly outnumber Peace Corps volunteers and alumni, the global service corps is more familiar to the average American.

 “I’m sick of starting a conversation by saying, ‘It’s the domestic Peace Corps,'” says Mr. Wilhelm. “That’s not really what we are.”

 The vast majority of AmeriCorps members work domestically, and their assignments generally last for about a year, or half of the Peace Corps’s time commitment. They can work in their own hometowns or travel, depending on which program they choose. There are currently about 75,000 AmeriCorps volunteers serving, to Peace Corps’s 8,000.

Building an Identity

 President Clinton created AmeriCorps in 1993 to recruit volunteers across the country to “meet the unmet human, educational, environmental, and public safety needs of the United States,” according to the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993. The budget for the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that oversees AmeriCorps, has decreased every year since 2004.

 The heart of AmeriCorps’s identity crisis lies in the group’s ubiquity. In the case of many Biloxi volunteers, they build houses and playgrounds. They also tutor children or prison inmates. They help the elderly navigate insurance forms. They help nonprofit groups raise money. They can serve part time or full time. They go by different names: state and national volunteers, Vista Volunteers, National Civilian Community Corps.

 “It’s like a Swiss army knife. It can do all this stuff, but it’s a challenge to brand that,” says Mr. Edwin.

 Mr. Wilhelm and Mr. Edwin each served two years as team leaders for City Year, in which volunteers ages 17 to 24 are placed at a school for a year to tutor, mentor, and run leadership programs for children.

 Mr. Wilhelm is the more outgoing of the pair, with a voice fit for the stage or stump, and dramatic expressions. He stands at nearly 6-foot-5, with long limbs that do not fold up comfortably on a bus. Friends compare him to a young Will Ferrell. The bus tour was his idea.

 “We knew that there was power in face-to-face interaction, meeting people on their turf,” he says. “People are honored that you’ve come all this way to see them, to meet them, in their city.” But, he acknowledges, Greyhound’s Discovery Pass — unlimited travel during 60 days for $750 — sealed the deal.

 Mr. Edwin is both more compact physically and a bit more reserved, but quick to flash a huge smile and laugh. He had recently returned to his hometown of Grosse Pointe, Mich., from Europe, where he had been traveling and teaching English for four months, when he heard about Mr. Wilhelm’s plans for the tour. He immediately offered to come along.

 “He wrote me an e-mail that said, ‘I’m living at my parents’ house, I’m unemployed, and I have $100 in my bank account,'” says Mr. Wilhelm, who welcomed the company, though he was originally planning to go alone.

 Both men are intensely committed to public service — they are taking time during the tour to serve alongside current AmeriCorps volunteers in places like New Orleans’s Upper Ninth Ward, where they hung drywall a few days ago — but they both also love to travel.

 “I just like riding buses,” says Mr. Edwin. “By the end of this trip, after about six months of traveling, I will have been to 55 cities between four countries. So I don’t mind this, I love seeing new cities, I like meeting people who are involved, who are engaged in their communities and make really incredible stuff happen everywhere.”

 Volunteer Headquarters

 In Biloxi, the pair tour the east side of town with Caitlin Brooking, acting director of Hands On Gulf Coast, and Will Chrysanthos, an AmeriCorps volunteer at the organization, which enlists volunteers to help the region recover from Hurricane Katrina.

 As Mr. Chrysanthos drives, Ms. Brooking points out murals that Hands On painted, houses constructed “by 18 year olds,” playgrounds they have improved. Pulling up to a newly built house on Lameuse Street, Mr. Chrysanthos says, “They’re delivering the cabinets — yessss!”

 That evening, Mr. Edwin and Mr. Wilhelm oversee a meeting at Hands On headquarters, a colorful and funky space the size of a school gymnasium behind the Beauvoir United Methodist Church.

 The first floor holds offices, a kitchen, a large dining and meeting area, computer clusters, and a lounge space with couches and old easy chairs draped in sheets. The second level is where many of the AmeriCorps and other volunteers actually live.

 Tangerine and hot-pink blankets hang from clotheslines separating the “rooms” where about 30 people sleep each night. Shirts, posters, and stuffed animals decorate the hall, souvenirs from volunteer teams who have worked with Hands On during alternative spring breaks and other trips. Outside sit three shower stalls, next to sheds full of shovels. A sign warns volunteers to clean up “paper, water bottles, pens, Mardi Gras beads, staplers, ramen noodle wrappers, mini tambourines, or toilet paper. No bright red wigs either!”

 At a roundtable discussion, many volunteers say they came to AmeriCorps not only to help others, but also to take on the sort of responsibility that a typical entry-level job doesn’t offer.

 “I have a ridiculous amount of responsibility for the experience I have,” says Leah Lyman, 24, who, after only one year of Spanish classes, is a Spanish-language caseworker and program developer through AmeriCorps at El Pueblo the Village, a charity that provides services and community-organizing opportunities to the area’s Latino residents and homeless people. As one of four staff members, she helped the group incorporate as a nonprofit organization, assisted in the opening and management of its homeless day center, and is also an English-as-a-second-language teacher. She says she has “learned a lot on the fly.”

 Ms. Brooking says that while “some people crumble under the pressure, a lot of people really rise.”

 As of Hurricane Katrina’s two-year anniversary last August, 10,000 AmeriCorps members had served in the Gulf Coast. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, those members have mobilized or managed 230,000 non-corps volunteers, or about a quarter of the total 1.1 million volunteers who have served there.

 At the meeting, the volunteers agreed that AmeriCorps needed greater visibility, and they were interested in learning more about campaigning. Ian Schlake, an AmeriCorps volunteer with Hands On, says in an e-mail message that Mr. Wilhelm and Mr. Edwin spoke to a “very necessary need.”

 “With ServeNext to offer a little structure and the pointed goal — not broad political action, but narrow advocacy for something close to everyone’s heart — I think we can broaden the [AmeriCorps] program in the coming years,” Mr. Schlake writes.

 As the meeting ends, Mr. Edwin says he cannot take any more Southern food, so he and Mr. Wilhelm join Ms. Brooking and others at a Mexican place down the road. The pair are fueled by a silly, delirious exhaustion, clapping and harmonizing with the in-house singer on “La Bamba” and “Drift Away.”

 They have 14 more days to go, but they will sleep well tonight in the communal bunks at Hands On. They’re catching a break this weekend. Mr. Wilhelm is flying back to Boston for a couple of days to see his fiancée, after more than a month of separation. Mr. Edwin is going to hang out in New Orleans, with which he has fallen in love.

 After that, the bus rolls on, to Miami, then Columbia, S.C., then to Atlanta, for the National Conference on Volunteering and Service.

 Mr. Edwin leans over the table, laughing. “Matt just turned to me and said we should have a party in Boston at the end of the tour,” he says, “and his eyes are sunk into his head, he’s so tired.”

The original story link valid for 5 days (membership required beyond 6/14).

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