- President Obama called the $100m of US aid to Haiti an "investment." I like that.
- News stories report on the incredible amount of donation and word of mouth in support of the people of Haiti via mobile ($3m to Red Cross via texting) and Twitter
- The CTIA advertised an offer for free texting of donations to the American Red Cross ("Haiti" to 90999) and the Yele Haiti Earthquake Find ("Yele" to 501501)
- President Obama enlisted Presidents Clinton and Bush to spearhead a fund and effort to relieve the current suffering. You can donate there now - www.clintonbushhaitifund.org
- President Clinton has a longer term commitment to Haiti. He spent his honeymoon there and has remained involved. That's what I am talking about.
I noticed a tweet from Brian Reich, who knows a lot about non profits and driving advocacy, over the past few days:
"We already knew web/mobile can bring in money after disasters. Need to see if groups can, or will, engage audience beyond fundraising."
Between the President's use of the word "investment," the Clintons' enduring involvment in Haiti and Brian's tweet, I can't help but want a longer term commitment to a cause. How can we use the same tools that we use everyday and make a long term investment in a part of the world with fellow citizens of the world? Certainly there are many many online donation services that will facilitate automatic giving, allow you to search and sort through organizations and causes to find one that you feel strongly about, and even connect directly with individuals via microlending. In many ways there is a wealth of choices for someone ready to make a commitment.
I am looking for a way to contribute via donation, volunteerism and my ability to raise awareness via word of mouth to a part of the world that just needs extra support to reach a goal. My family has capacity and a will to help others and simply want to do it on a more personal level and via a sustained commitment. I am talking about 5-10 years of focused effort.
Coincidentally, Kevin Bacon was honored last night at the Critics Award with the Joel Siegel award highlighting his humanitarian efforts. They were acknowledging his creation of sixdegrees.org which built on the awareness of the meme in his name to create a compelling way for people to give. It is a partnership with the Network for Good which in some ways is that "hub" for long term commitment. I think this service is part of the answer. Here are the other steps we want to take that can extend the impact of our involvement:
- if our cause is located in one part of the world, we want to visit that place to "see with our own eyes..."
- any trip can include connecting with people locally and offering whatever we may have that could benefit them - sweat equity, internet expertise, marketing expertise, etc...
- a routine way of keeping in touch with what is happening in that community. Right now I use my Daily Influence Dashboard as a heads-up display on my business interests in social media and marketing. I could find ways to populate a tab of news and serach results for my area of commitment
- a routine way of spreading word of mouth beyond simple badges and email footers (but those are good to)
Any ideas on how to bundle all of this together into a lasting commitment that goes beyond periodic or reactive donation are welcome. Meanwhile, we are having a family meeting this weekend to brainstorm and I will let you know what we come up with.