SXSW 2012: 4 Tips On Giving In The 21st Century
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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When it comes to making a donation, writing a check is so last century. Social media is making it possible for users to contribute right from their Facebook timeline or Twitter stream. Cheryl Contee, partner at Fission Strategy, specializes in helping non-profit organizations and foundations use social media to create social good.

At the 2012 SXSW Interactive Festival, her panel “21st Century Giving: Social Philanthropy’s Rise,” featured speakers from both sides of the “giving” coin: philanthropic organizations who have incorporated social media into their donating and reporting process and representatives from social media mainstay’s like Twitter and YouTube–platforms that make giving on social media easier.

“My inspiration for putting together the ’21st Century Giving’ panel comes from what I see online with how powerful an individual can be in collective action with others; that wasn’t possible before social media,” said Contee. “I wanted to talk about the things that are happening now, but also inspire the audience to think broadly about what can happen as the tools come online for people to not only move messages around the world but also move money around the world.”

Wondering how social media can enhance your giving process? Here are 4 tips from the experts:

Make Giving Fun. Robert Wolfe, co-founder of Crowdrise,  a social networking site for fundraisers, is obsessed with finding new ways to make fundraising enjoyable. “Even though [they] may seem at odds with each other, we want to make people self-interested when giving back,” Wolfe said. “There are some incredibly serious causes on Crowdrise, but you can still have fun on Crowdrise.”

The online fundraising site incorporates comedy into the giving process. “One day we sent an email out. It read: ‘We have a completely new way to donate. We are now accepting donations in the nude,'” laughed Wolfe. “[Humor] is not typically acceptable in the charity space but we are trying to make it fun.” For those that want to donate anonymously, but still get the public acclaim, Crowdrise has set up a program that will leak your actions even if you’ve chosen to donate “anonymously.”

Use Video. If you have a global campaign, YouTube is a great match since 70% of YouTube views come from outside of the U.S., explained Ramya Raghavan, the nonprofits and activism manager at Google/YouTube. Also, YouTube now has a graph on videos that reports the location, age, and gender of whoever is watching the video. Raghavan says you can use this tool as you think about your donor campaign.

“Video is relatively resource heavy,” she said. “Nonprofits struggle to make good videos.” Look to the YouTube community to give, not in the classic sense, but with the volunteering of time. Many in the community are willing to make videos on behalf of nonprofits.

Engage your donors. Engage your audience by incorporating giving into their normal routine. For example, Crowdrise has implemented an awards’ system where  donors earn a crest after giving when you purchase a cup of coffee. “People are obsessed with getting these crests. Even celebrities. It incentivizes people to participate. It’s like a points program, too. People can redeem points with malaria nets.”

The UNitade program in Cameroon has raised millions of dollars through micro-giving. “The way that they are raising funds is innovative,” remarked Michaelyn Elder, director of online communications for the United Nations Foundation. They incorporate a small tax of a dollar every time you buy a plane ticket. The money is used to buy HIV medication for pregnant women. Using this method over 5-10 years, they have eradicated the transmission of HIV from mother to child.

Use Apps. Finally, don’t forget to use third-party applications like Twitpay, Micropay and HelpAttack!, which make donating easier. “They [third-party apps] work in different ways, but essentially the idea is the same,” said Claire Diaz Ortiz, who works in the social innovation department at Twitter, Inc. “They help individuals donate to their favorite causes from within the Twitter [and Facebook] platforms.”

Follow’s coverage of 2012 South by Southwest (SXSW) at .

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.