#wnpNYU Thursday Links: Social Capital, Hard at Work
The semester’s final outside speaker is slated to Mari Kuraishi, co-founder of the excellent GlobalGiving social enterprise, with a decade’s experience in how social media (though we didn’t call it that then) can power giving and involvement. I wrote my column for Forbes this week on Mari’s trip to Japan a year after the tsunami and the evolution of GlobalGiving’s model. Here’s the bit with my personal take:
I know the extra mile GlobalGiving travels to both vet and follow-up with its nonprofit partners – largely because GlobalGiving stays in touch through email, video, social media to let me know how things are going. And while the large-scale relief efforts certainly deserve support in times of crisis, my dollars instinctively follow the path of smaller scale enterprises and organizations where I know Kuraishi and her team build real relationships, study the data, and invest philanthropic resources where they’re needed. This is social capital hard at work.
GlobalGiving has reached sustainability after 10 long years of hard work, trial and error, and community-building. Our speaker this week was the insightful George Weiner, CTO of DoSomething, an organization that - get this - has actually been around since 1993. Now to be fair, it’s been more recently jump-started after a period of inactivity by Nancy Lublin and her to-notch team, but I also think that like GlobalGiving, DoSomething.org is a prime example of a non-overnight success in the online social activism space (which I chronicled in my 2008 book CauseWired). Here’s George, giving his justly famous five-word acceptance speech at the Webby Awards:
Another long-term online social venture that has seen rapid growth of late is Change.org, the online activism and petition platform - you may have signed a Trayvon Martin petition, or a Susan G. Komen petition, or a Rush Limbaugh petition…all in the last month or so. Its founder Ben Rattray has been nominated to be included in Time magazine’s Time 100 poll of “leaders, artists, innovators, icons and heroes.” The skinny:
Rattray told TIME he’d rather Change.org win a Nobel Peace Prize than have a big-ticket IPO. The site is a platform that allows ordinary folks to launch petitions against inequity and gather support from all over the world. With nearly 10 million members, it packs a big punch: witness the incredible success of the Trayvon Martin petition, which attracted nearly 2 million signatures.
Finally, from the Harvard Business Review blog network, a discussion by Tom Davenport on the importance of “small data” in understanding what’s happening in an organization:
…you don’t need big data, or even big support from senior management, to foment your own revolution in organizational decision-making. With small data to be found everywhere, there is no excuse not to improve your own judgment calls.