Archive for Government

CauseWired Alaskans Pick, Click and Give to Charity

Socially-conscious social media is working up north: Alaskans have taken to the Pick. Click. Give. campaign, which is leveraging platforms from Facebook and Twitter to YouTube and Causecast to draw attention to and explain the Permanent Fund Charitable Contributions Program. The program began officially in 2009 to allow Alaskans to donate a portion of their PFD to qualifying Alaska nonprofits of their choice while they filed online for their PFD. An underlying goal is to encourage individual philanthropy in Alaska. Here’s a Q&A on the program with my friend Aliza Sherman, a veteran digital guru and co-founder of the social media firm Conversify! in Alaska, and Jordan Marshall, initiatives & special projects manager for the Rasmuson Foundation and project manager for Pick. Click. Give.

1. Last year, Pick. Click. Give. raised more than half a million dollars for Alaskan nonprofits – how did it work and how was it unique to Alaska?

ALIZA: The entire Pick. Click. Give. awareness campaign is based on something inherently unique to Alaska: our Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) or the annual payment each Alaskan receives as part of a pay out to share in the state’s oil and gas profits. No other state provides a similar fund or payment to citizens of their state.

The overarching goal of the Pick. Click. Give. campaign is to draw attention to and explain the Permanent Fund Charitable Contributions Program. The program began officially in 2009 to allow Alaskans to donate a portion of their PFD to qualifying Alaska nonprofits of their choice while they filed online for their PFD. An underlying goal is to encourage individual philanthropy in Alaska.

Additionally, through social media, the Pick. Click. Give. campaign is working to give exposure to the program and motivate Alaskans to participate and to encourage their friends, family and followers to participate as well.

The previous year (2008) was spent assessing Alaska nonprofits based on a number of criteria to ensure that they qualify for the program as well as to set up the technical aspects of adding a list and way for Alaskans to check the organizations on that list they wished to support with an amount of their choice. Read the rest of this entry »

Guest Post: Citizen journalism, open government, status updates, community building, information sharing, crowdsourcing, and the election of a President

Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Max Gladwell.

Our children will inherit a world profoundly changed by the combination of technology and humanity that is social media. They’ll take for granted that their voices can be heard and that a social movement can be launched from their laptop. They’ll take for granted that they are connected and interconnected with hundreds of millions of people at any given moment. And they’ll take for granted that a black man is or was President of the United States.

What’s most profound is that these represent parts of a greater whole. They represent a shift in power from centralized institutions and organizations to the People they represent. It is the evolution of democracy by way of technology, and we are all better for it.
Read the rest of this entry »

Following @dipnote: Hillary’s CauseWired Diplomacy

She’s been uncharacteristically quiet since her confirmation as Secretary of State, but the Obama Administration’s other rock star seems poised to change all that with her first big overseas trip to Asia – with the help of a Twitter-fueled blog audience that has increased three-fold since Barack Obama’s inauguration. And while she inherits massive foreign policy challenges from her predecessor, Hillary Clinton also inherits a new media team at State that’s at least a year into remaking America’s digital image on the web.

Started under former Secretary Rice – and emphatically seamless, professional and non-partisan in its transition to Secretary Clinton – the expansion of State’s online operation seems primed for President Obama’s primary international goal: rebuilding the U.S. brand overseas.

At the center of that operation is Dipnote, the official State Department blog and Twitter feed that is updated several times each day, and packed with video, links to news stories from mainstream media, and items by State officials. Oh, and comments. Yep, State allows (moderated) conversation on its blog, in contrast (thus far, we hope) to the broadcast-only nature of the White House’s spiffy-and-sparse new blog. Read the rest of this entry »

President Obama’s Social Network

obamaThe accepted storyline on President Obama’s souped-up hot rod of a super-secure executive branch Blackberry runs like this: Presidents too often exist in a bubble, insulated from real people and the world outside the sturdy White House gates. There’s some truth to that, of course, but much of that isolation has tended to be self-inflicted rather than mandated by statute.

While it will undoubtedly help him keep his connection with non-governmental friends and ideas, the Obama Blackberry also has another important function that I’m pretty sure our new President is well aware of: it’s an important symbol of access and permission.

Yes, I know the new PDA will be limited to email addresses of those pre-cleared by the Secret Service – and that President Obama’s emails will legally fall under Federal record-keeping regulations. Those email conversations aren’t likely to have any references to predator drone attacks inside Pakistan or Congressional strategies around the stimulus bill. They will be limited.

But that misses the point. The President will still be carrying a portable web browser where ever he goes. And while he might only use it to check Chisox boxscores, the potential exists for a more direct link to the daily swirl of information outside of his daily briefing books. Read the rest of this entry »

Guest Post – Social Actions Round-up No. 23

Note: The online social activism sector is growing all the time, and sharing information and ideas is crucial to continuing that growth – and the very impact on society. We’re happy to carry the excellent Social Actions Round-up of links and resources here at CauseWired, created by the prolific and plugged-in team of Joe Solomon, Christine Egger and Peter Deitz. Enjoy it – and pass it along!

Below is a special MLK day / Obama inauguration version of the Social Actions round-up. We have added a section with links to MLK and Obama-related initiatives. Feel free to add resources by posting a comment.

MLK / Day of Service / Obama Inauguration

CauseGlobal posts a guide to participating in the Obama inaurguration using social media.

Seth Godin reflects on the National Day of Service.

Winners of Houston’s MLK Oratory Competition (hugely inspiring).

Britt Bravo shares Five ways to participate on the MLK Day of Service.

Social Actions branded its search engine with the MLK silhouette.

Social Actions launched the MLKActions on Twitter.

Zazengo launched its MLK Impact Challenge on Facebook.

Idealist.org covers Change.org’s Ideas for Change in America Competition and Obama’s Citizen Briefing Book.

I voted for the black half t-shirts and blog

Read the rest of this entry »

Guest Post – Social Actions Roundup #19: Time to vote in USAID’s first open source challenge!

Note: The online social activism sector is growing all the time, and sharing information and ideas is crucial to continuing that growth – and the very impact on society. We’re happy to carry the excellent Social Actions Round-up of links and resources here at CauseWired, created by the prolific and plugged-in team of Joe Solomon, Christine Egger and Peter Deitz. Enjoy it – and pass it along!


Photo by MyJon

This week’s roundup draws attention to two contests that illustrate the impact social media technologies are having on not just private and nonprofit initiatives, but public spending as well.

USAID’s first-ever open source challenge – the 2008 USAID Development 2.0 Challenge hosted by Netsquared – is ready for your vote. Today through December 12, vote for up to five of your favorite projects from over 100 entries, all of which use mobile technologies for social good.

The recently-completed Apps for Democracy challenge resulted in 47 apps that made use of Washington DC’s government data catalog. As we covered in Roundup #16, this contest delivered a 4,000% ROI for its organizers. This week, Peter Corbett of iStrategyLabs reports on lessons learned and the buzz this contest has generated for creating more open source challenges for government agencies.

And speaking of government, President-elect Obama’s transition team announced this week that the Change.gov website now falls under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Read the rest of this entry »

Bill Clinton and the Economic Crisis: A Blogger’s Chat

The question for philanthropy says former President Bill Clinton, is whether “people give more or less” during the unfolding American financial crisis.

“I think there’s at least a 50-percent chance they’ll give more,” he told a small group of bloggers Monday night during a meeting in his suite at the Sheraton New York, site this week of the fourth annual Clinton Global Initiative conference.

President Clinton covered a wide range of topics – from economics and banking to environmental technology and politics in the hemisphere – during an informal and freewheeling discussion that featured few questions but expansive answers on the world situation. Overall, Clinton maintained an optimistic view on the eve of his annual CGI confab, which is timed to the opening of the United Nations General Assembly and brings together heads of state, top business leaders, philanthropic executives and a slew of celebrities.
The ideas is to create an environment for philanthropic deal-making on a broad scale, and CGI has been responsible for leveraging billions in private funds and investments for global causes over its first four years through “commitments,” essentially term sheets for doing good, that are signed by governments, companies, NGOs, individuals, and foundations at the gathering.

There are, of course, political notes to CGI – some subtle, and others right out on the awning in block letters. For example, both candidates for president, Senators Barack Obama and John McCain, will speak about energy at CGI – McCain in person, Obama via satellite. And Senator Hillary Clinton, the runner-up in the race for the Democratic nomination, will be a presence just as she was last year as her campaign got underway. Yet CGI is also relentlessly non-partisan: Laura Bush opened the conference two years ago, Al Gore is a regular, and conservative oilman T. Boone Pickens is in the spotlight this year for his energy proposals. Throw in British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Queen Rania of Jordan, and UN Secretary-General Ban ki Moon, along with business titans and philanthropists like Bill Gates and Muhammad Yunus, and household names like Bono, Barbra Streisand and Muhammad Ali, and it’s quite a mix.

The impact on philanthropy was very much on Bill Clinton’s mind Monday night. “The current economic crisis will make the work of putting philanthropists and organizations together more significant over the next couple of years.”

He talked about humanitarian assistance for Haiti in the wake of devastating storms. “I’m very interested in the response here at CGI to the situation in Haiti because of what we do here, which is get business, wealthy individuals and foundations to five more money to the developing nations of the world.”
But his thoughts were also on the domestic crisis, the economic disaster that threatens the U.S. financial system. “Two-thirds of the American people cannot pay their bills any more,” he said. “They do not believe they will be able to stabilize their lives any longer.” The massive bail-out plans aimed at protecting wide swaths of the insurance, credit and banking sectors should not just protect business, said Clinton.
“It will only work if there’s a mainstream component as well as a Wall Street component…“I’m for the idea that the taxpayers ought to be paid back.”

Predicting that foreclosures on American homes would reach two million this year, Clinton called for a moratorium on home mortgage foreclosures, along with a Federally-run homeowners loan fund similar to Depression-Era programs to allow homeowners to stay in their homes while reducing payments to affordable levels and blocking foreclosures.

President Clinton said that the economic crisis was playing differently in other parts of the United States. “Hillary called [from the campaign trail in Kentucky] and said it’s really interesting how this is going .You know as a New Yorker, she sees Lehman Brothers as tens of thousands of people who worked there and may not have jobs any more, not as a few powerful people. But out here, they don’t see it yet as a big crisis requiring an urgent response, because they’ve been in trouble for years.”

And the world is also paying close attention, he said. Speaking to heads to state at CGI, President Clinton said there was good deal of worry around world about the state of the U.S. economy. “They’re more or less in shock too.”

Note: the team at onPhilanthropy will be covering the Clinton Global Initiative all week. Check back for future updates. I’ll also be Twittering away as the spirit moves me.

Update: Some of the other bloggers who graced the Clinton suite: Lance Mannion, Dana Goldstein, Deanna Zandt, Josh Orton, Josh Levy, and Jack Aponte.