Until a few years ago, the main way to show your support for a charity was to send in an annual check. As digital and social media evolved, the number of ways you could support your favorite charities has grown.
Sending money, of course, remains, the single most important way to support nonprofits. But social-media users have learned that you can also have an impact by paying with something else. Attention -- your own attention and your friends' attention.
Hitting "Like" or "Share" or retweeting a post from a nonprofit can bring awareness to new circles of users -- and potential supporters. And nonprofits big and small are finding ways to harness the energy of their fans to get more awareness to everything they do.
As I approached my 6,000th tweet, I decided to use the occasion to bring some attention to a few nonprofits and to learn more about how every day users support their charities. I have no illusions about my influence online, after all, TwitterCounter.com tells me that my 30,000ish followers make me only the 178,000th most-followed person on Twitter. So the key word in my plan was just some attention.
I used a Facebook.com/sreetips post to lay out the idea: People would nominate their favorite charities and I'd tweet about five that caught my eye. Why Facebook to mark something on Twitter? Because Facebook gives you more space to explain yourself and to collect items in one place. Nominations came into that Facebook post, but also via people tweeting with the #sree6K hashtag. I expected a handful of nominations, but got many more than that.
It was nice to see so many folks talk about their favorite charities - including many I'd never heard of -- that I decided that one way to help these nonprofits is for me to write about the experience here on CNET News and to tweet about this list several times over the next few weeks.
So here goes, in alpha order (feel free to nominate more in the comments section and or via #sree6K on Twitter):
- Action Against Hunger/@ACFUSA: "doing emergency and sustainable nutrition, food security, and water/sanitation/hygiene work in 40 countries around the world" (nominated by Elisabeth Rapport - @mlleelisabeth)
- Alex's Lemonade Stand/@AlexsLemonade: "fighting childhood cancer one cup at a time" (nominated by Brett Petersel - @Brett
- API Chaya, "a pan-Asian organization in Seattle that supports local survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking" (nominated by Bincy Jacob). NOTE: Bincy also write something else that makes a lot of sense: "No matter what your choice is, pls consider smaller/local orgs with fewer resources that could really use exposure."
- Atlas Corps/@atlascorps: "addresing world's 21st century challenges" (nominated by Elia Tello - @EETello)
- CASA - Court Appointed Special Advocated for Children/@CASAforChildren: "every child in crisis needs someone to trust" (nominated by Rhonda Fabian - @RFabian)
- Come Clean India: "campaign for a clean(er) land, water, and air of India" (nominated by Robinder Sachdev)
- DC Central Kitchen/@DCCK: "they help DC, but are model for national orgs, & set bar for food security & job training programs: (nominated by Elizabeth Stewart (@EFStewart)
- Disabled Sports USA Far West/@DSUSA_FarWest: "providing meaningful/affordable recreational activities to promote health & confidence" (nominated by Chris Moran - @ChrisInNevada)
- Encore.org/@EncoreCareers: "combining purpose, passion and a paycheck" (nominated by Marci Alboher (@heymarci) NOTE: I am a judge for Encore's #PurposePrize, which gives five people (above the age of 60 who are doing good) $100,000 each; be sure to nominate folks in 2013
- Encounter Programs/@encounterpgms: "bringing current and future American Jewish leaders (and members of congress, etc.) on trips to meet Palestinians in the West Bank" (nominated by Ilene Prusher - @ileneprusher)
- Free Speech Radio News/@FSRN: "daily half-hour progressive U.S. radio newscast owned and managed by news reporters" (nominated by Linda Perry Barr - @LindaPerryBarr)
- Fugees Family/@fugeesfamily, "give war refugee children new hope and an education" (nominated by Eason Jordan - @easonjordan)
- Gateway House India/@GatewayHouseIND: Mumbai-based "thinktank filling the gap between business and policy; started by two women" (nominated by Nikhil Mani - @ManiNikhil)
- Girls Write Now/@GirlsWriteNow: "pairs professional women writers with disadvantaged NYC high school girls who have an affinity for writing" (nominated by Anuja Madar)
- Gun Crisis Philadelphia/@GunCrisisNews: "a bunch of us are spending the summer producing a documentary and building a community to seek solutions to the epidemic of homicide by gunfire in Philadelphia and similar cities" (nominated by Jim MacMillan - @JimMacMillan)
- Half the Sky Movement/@HalfTheSky: "Turning oppression into opportunity for women worldwide" - (nominated by Linda Bernstein - @WordWhacker). NOTE: In April, I wrote , an effort to support Half the Sky through the founders, Nick Kristof (@NickKristof) and Sheryl WuDunn (@WuDunn).
- IRPOnline/@IRPonline: "working hard to bring attention to undercovered global stories" (nominated by Peter Klein - @PeterWKlein
- School on Wheels/@IndySOW: "provides tutoring and educational advocacy for homeless children" in Indianapolis (nominated by Tina Imperial - @ImperialTina
- Invisible People/@InvisiblePeople: "uses social media to fight poverty and homelessness" (nominated by Mark Horvath - @hardlynormal
- Investigative Reporters & Editors/@IRE_NICAR: "supporting investigative journalists, who need it now more than ever" (nominated by Tom Meagher - @UltraCasual
- JAWS - Journalism & Women Symposium/@JawsTweet: "working to increase the diversity of voices and perspectives in media and to help more women become leaders in the field" (nominated by Amy Resnick - @AmyResnick)
- Khan Academy/@KhanAcademy: "the future of education" (nominated by Tanya Mallot - @TanyaPhotoPro)
- Make a Wish Foundation/@MakeAWish: "a great, long-standing org that could always use more support" (nominated by Sachin Shenolikar - @Shenoli)
- Movement 121/@mvt121: "providing the poor not with charity, but a job" (nominated by Nikhil Goyal - @TalkPolitical
- New Jersey Seeds/@NJSeeds: "changing lives through education & access" (nominated by Sarah Cassidy - @CassidyFish2
- Panchvati New Delhi: "where elders smile and laugh" (nominated by Rohit Bansal - @TheRohitBansal)
- Project Explorer/@ProjectExplorer: "free materials for schools/parents to use to teach about our world" (nominated by Matt Boggie - @MattBoggie)
- Rajkumari Cultural Center: "a center for teaching, sharing, learning and supporting Indo-Caribbean culture" (nominated by Darrel Sukhdeo - @Darrel3000)
- Self Help Africa/@selfhelpafrica: "sustainable development org fosters Africa farmers, especially women to be self-reliant entrepreneurs (nominated by Chantal McGlaughlin - @ChantalMcLaugh
- She's The First/@ShesTheFirst: "sponsoring girls' education in developing countries" (nominated by Janet Warren Dugo - @JanetDugo)
- Student Press Law Center/@SPLC: "because it comes to the rescue when schools and colleges try to shut down gutsy journalism" (nominated by Nick Ochsner - @NickOchsnerNews; Texas Freedom Info - @txfoift; Ashley Lane - @AshleyLanee)
- Thon.org/@Thon: "the largest student run philanthropy in the world. They raise money to help support the The Four Diamonds Fund and pediatric cancer" (nominated by Ariel Abramowitz)
- Vision of Children/@VOC_Children: "on their way to curing blindness for those w/genetic eye diseases" (nominated by Megan Powers - @MeganPowers)
- Weeksville Society/@Weeksville: Brooklyn-based nonprofit "shares local history, culture, and community based learning" (nominated by Ann Bennett - @annpranapix
- World Federation of UN Associations/@WFUNA: "the largest international network of people supporting the UN's initiatives on the ground" (nominated by Kimberely Hall - @kimberbop
I will also take this opportunity to highlight two nonprofits that I work with every day - and have been deeply involved in their social media presence(s) over the years: Columbia Graduate School of Journalism/@ColumbiaJourn and SAJA, South Asian Journalists Association/@sajaHQ.
NOTE TO READERS: Please post your thoughts -- and nominations for charities to support -- in the comments below or e-mail me or tweet me at@sree or #sreetips on Twitter. If you've been reading my posts here, you know that one of the things I am trying to do is learn what works and what doesn't on social media. It's such a fast-evolving, confusing world that I believe we can all learn together. Thanks for reading.