CSR at the Motivation Show

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With new partners and a few social media tricks up our sleeve, we’re getting excited about this year’s Motivation Show. Setting up shop at Booth #4503 this year will be a treat to anybody browsing through the show floor.

We will be featuring several of our social enterprise partners at our booth this year. New to the team is Lambs Farm, a social enterprise located in the Chicago suburbs bringing samples of cookies and other baked goods to the show. Our additional new partner is Nikaya Handcrafted who will have a few jewelry samples at our booth including their “community bracelet” – a bracelet made out of recycled bomb shell casings!

In addition to adding new friends to our old friends like Greyston Bakery, Bright Endeavors, Mary Fisher, Women’s Bean Project and Mercado Global, we will try and be active social media participants during the show. Adding to what Hinda Incentives said in their blog post, we will actively engage with others on the show through the #moti Twitter hashtag. If you’re watching afar from online, keep your eyes peeled at our YouTube channel for videos from the show including some potential Q&A with some of our partner groups.

Going to be at the show? Stop on by and say hello (or even check-in on Foursquare) to the most socially responsible booth in McCormick place (#4503). You may even get some free food samples while you’re there.

Social Media = Social Change

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This last Saturday night we saw Betty White grace our television sets as probably the oldest host of Saturday Night Live in recent history. It was a huge comedy and ratings success for NBC, thanks largely do to social media. If it weren’t for Facebook, something White refers to in her monologue as a “huge waste of time,” we wouldn’t have been able to experience that night of hilarity.

Betty White isn’t the first benefactor of enthusiastic social media users. During the NBC late night debacle, fans of Conan O’Brien raised tons of support for him under the banner “I’m With Coco.” It was a viral following that most likely allowed for the success of his current multi-city tour and what will most likely be his triumphant return to late night.

All these massive successes credit most of it to the enthusiasm and passion of social media users. If social media can rally around Conan or put the unlikely hostsess that was Betty White on Saturday Night Live, think of the other possibilities.

Couldn’t we use our power and influence for good?

Through social media, we as consumers are able to influence some of the largest companies out there. Think if half the energy that went into getting Betty White onto Saturday Night Live went towards some social purpose. What could we accomplish? During the earthquake relief efforts in Haiti, we saw how Twitter and mobile devices were able to help raise millions upon millions of dollars in a short time for relief. We have a great power with social media. Think of how many people we could help if we channeled that energy in the right direction.

Certainly we can have a bigger viral accomplishment than the rise of Justin Beiber.

Tweeting for Good

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[tweetmeme] Social media’s rapid growth has been no secret to anyone here of late. In fact, within the last year, social media has seen a traffic increase of 62%…a trend that doesn’t look to slow down anytime soon. With growth, it has evolved in functionality as well. Starting out as a way to keep in touch with friends, it has blossomed into a unique and somewhat cost-efficient marketing tool for businesses. Even with no clear, tangible ROI, businesses haven’t shied away from jumping on the social media bandwagon.

So it’s apparent that social media, Twitter more specifically, is being used to drive more business for companies. In addition to increasing a profit margin, Twitter has also proven to be an effective tool to help better the world we live in.

How has this been accomplished in 140 characters or less?

Many individuals and/or organizations have used Twitter as a fundraising tool for various causes. Most recently, it has been used to fight cancer and fund more research. @Drew, cancer patient and creator of the website Blame Drew’s Cancer, recently put his Twitter username up for auction, donating all his proceeds to the Livestrong foundation for cancer research. The Price is Right host Drew Carey (@DrewonTV) made a large bid and challenged the Twitterverse to help him reach 1 million followers. In return he would donate $1 million to cancer research.

The companies MillerCoors and eBay also sponsored #beatcancer, a 24 hour experiment in social media attempting to draw the most tweets on a topic in that time period…ever. Donating one cent per hashtag, the effort set a Guiness World Record and effectively helped raise $70,000 towards cancer research.

Other socially responsible organizations have seen substantial amounts of exposure via Twitter. Most of these organizations, nonprofits nor social enterprise groups don’t have the cash to spend on traditional forms of marketing for their causes. They’ve seen success too. Most people want to feel like they are part of something good and a simple follow on Twitter is one way people are able to connect.

The exposure has helped these organizations receive support they normally would not have. Last Thanksgiving the group Epic Change hosted “Tweetsgiving,” a 48-hr fundraising effort for funds to help a school in Tanzania. The goal was to raise $10, 000. The result? $11,000. Over 98% of that money came from donors who had not previously supported their organization. This simple viral fundraising campaign has potential to have beneficial long term results, attracting hundreds of new donors that could potentially help in the future.

Including ourselves, several of our partner organizations have established presences on Twitter including @womensbean, @brightendeavors and @divinechocolate. With the help of followers, all these social enterprise groups hope to gain more support in order to change more lives. How are you tweeting for good?