I, like many recent college graduates, am unemployed. Of course, however, I am searching for a job that would ideally turn into a career and am sending out applications daily. In the meantime, I’ve found that while living at my parents’ house I have quite a lot of free time on my hands. When going to the beach everyday started to loose its appeal and in an attempt to keep myself from going crazy and make myself feel useful I’ve had to find myself a hobby.

For some reason I chose quilting. What started out as a fun project of picking out pretty fabrics has turned into a 2 month long undertaking.

The first few days were indeed fun. After fulfilling my daily quota of job applications every morning I got to work. Within a week the basic structure was finished, with only a few drops of blood lost. The quilt consists of 7 different fabrics.

Each fabric is cut into 4: 12 x 12, 1: 12 x 24, and 2: 6 x 12. I kind of got a little creative here and randomly placed the pieces.

Now two months later I have quilted the full sized quilt by hand.

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Also, in-between quilting and job applications I have become ridiculously good at the morning newspaper’s crossword puzzles. But maybe more on that next time!

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Operation Smile is a non-profit organization that kicked off in the Philippines as a charity that offers free surgery to children who were born with cleft lip, cleft palate, and other facial deformities. Today Operation Smile is active in over 50 countries and is giving beautiful smiles and hope for a brighter future to children worldwide.

Beyond their awards for charitable work, Operation Smile has been acclaimed for their non-profit marketing as well.  In 2009 their Director of Online Communities and Social Media, Eric Overman, received the Nonprofit Marketer of the Year award from the American Marketing Association (AMA).  He was praised for this innovation in his social media campaign and use of the latest media technologies.

The organization is constantly looking for more donations, medical volunteers, and support, and they have been able to build on that through their social media campaign.  In addition to their up-to-date website and blog, the organization enables social bookmarking and keeps Facebook Causes, Twitter, YouTube, and MySpace pages.

The social media outlet that has created the biggest buzz for Operation Smile is Twitter.  The organization’s new social media strategist, Renee Hamilton, launched their newest fund raising campaign, 140 Smiles in May of 2009.  The Twitter based campaign asks tweeters to donate to the NPO in hopes of raising enough for 140 smiles at $240 a smile (the cost it takes for each surgery).

Watch this video to learn more about it from Renee:

As Renee mentioned, Operation Smile was already active with Twitter and this campaign practically fell into their hands by simply monitoring the site.  They were able the see the value in this technology and use it and test it and eventually make money!

Its also great to see that you don’t need a big team to run a social media campaign.  Renee Hamilton takes care of it on her own.  This is a tremendous thing for other non-profits to recognize when deciding on social media since so often a large team of people can be hard to find.

So far the 140 Smiles campaign has created 73 smiles!

UNICEF is unique among non-profit organizations because of the amount of influence they have with decision makers all over the world.  They are actively connected to all but 9 countries/ territories in the world.  The organization is also remarkably active online.

From the organization’s home page there is a direct link to their social media page.  There you have access to their YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, MySpace and Sribd pages.  UNICEF has different pages according to country, and they have 18 different Twitter accounts!

UNICEF has quite a few areas of social media covered that I have yet to encounter since beginning this blog.  UNICEF uses podcasts and vodcasts in their social media communication. Additionally, they offer television video on demand for the use of news journalists and broadcasters straight from their website.

In order to spread the UNICEF message the organization encourages supporters to become fans and friends of their various social media sites (the USA campaign also includes change.org and Field Notes, a blog on UNICEF’s child survival work).  From the U.S. Fund for UNICEF media page you can even play their widget!

UNICEF is helping to spread awareness of children in need and they are using social media to do just that.  In 2009, they made use of bloggers and twitter to spread word of their campaign to raise money for tetanus vaccines for infants.  Every year since 2007 UNICEF has been putting on the UNICEP Tap Project during World Water Week.  The project started in restaurants where patrons were encouraged to donate $1 for their tap water in order to enable UNICEF to bring safe water to children all over the world.  Now joined with RockYou the campaign makes use of social media to promote it.

Even more recently, UNICEF chose to tweet about wiping out malaria in Africa in hopes of inspiring followers to donate.  They joined with celebrities and activists like Pete Wentz, Alyssa Miliano, Anderson Cooper, Colin Powell, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to encourage support via Twitter.

As part of the larger organization, United Nations, UNICEF already gains a lot of public recognition.  However, it is great to see that they are evolving with the trends to incorporate these new social media into their campaign for children everywhere.

It is almost impossible today to discuss non-profit organizations and not bring up breast cancer organizations. Founded in 1993, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation has been an active voice of breast cancer awareness and research.  Today, they are the only breast cancer non-profit organization to have received an A+ from the American Institute of Philanthropy!

But we aren’t hear to talk about what the organization does for the good of (wo)mankind. The BCRF is a great NPO, yes, but what makes them stand out in the realm of social media?

Well, its not what BCRF is doing but what others are doing for them!  The Breast Cancer Research Foundation keeps up with their Facebook and Twitter accounts announcing newsletters, events, and donation opportunities as do many NPOs.  However, the people that cause the biggest, social media scene for the BCRF are their supporters.

In October 2009 (Breast Cancer Awareness month) Cosmopolitan Magazine  signed on with Estee Laude to launch the Cosmo Karma Project.  The mission is to “paint the world pink” and spread awareness and love through random acts of kindness.  Participants were asked to sign up on Facebook and submit their little acts of charitableness.  After posting their “Karma Acts” users could enter a sweepstakes to win Estee Laude products and a spa vacation!  Of course the mission was to not only gain awareness but also donations to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

The BCRF has become such a recognized organization that other companies are taking the initiative to use their own efforts to help promote the NPO.  This says a great deal about what the importance of what they are doing and the effect that they are able to have on the world.

DonorsChoose.org is an online non-profit organization whose aim is to help children in need.  They allow donors to “get choosey” and decide on what they want to give to those children.  Donations range from pencils and paper to violins and microscopes which are requested for special projects by teachers.  Today over $54 million have been raised and more than 3 million students have been reached.

Since the organization is based online it is obvious that they would utilize a variety of social media tools to gain recognition and donations.  DonorsChoose.org uses the standard outlets of Facebook, Twitter and of course a very successful and diverse blog.  Each of these channels is extremely successful and brings a lot of communication and traffic for the organization.

However, DonorsChoose.org has utilized social media in one very different way.  In 2008 and 2009 the organization held the Social Media Challenge (“the philanthropic throwdown for public schools”).  Sponsored by HP (who contributed $250,000 in 2009), the challenge was aimed at social media users (bloggers, tweeters, and users of Facebook).  All they had to do is sign up with the organization and then begin to promote them on their posts.  Once you form a “Giving Group” and get a “Giving Page” you simply encourage readers to donate.

DonorsChoose.org was very helpful to participants throughout the competition. They provided images for the bloggers and Facebook users to post on their pages and links to donation hubs as well as gave encouragement and support to keep the competitive spirit alive from their own blog.

In their first year of the competition DonorsChoose.org raised $270,000. In 2009 the challenge succeed in almost tripling the previous years’ donations and raised $807,035 which impacted 230,000 children!

1% for the Planet is a amazing global movement that consists of 1360 companies who generously donate 1% of their profits to 2,147 environmental organizations around the world.  The organization connects businesses, consumers, and non-profits with a common aim at saving our planet.  The movement, which was launched in 2002 by Yvon Chouinard, and Craig Mathews, may not be the most widely know but it is obvious that they are trying through their social media efforts.

I only recently discovered 1% for the Planet thanks to a friend who also happens to be a member.   With such a great campaign it surprises me that even more businesses, small and large, aren’t taking notice. Take a look at their website to learn more about their movement.

At first glance, from the 1% for the Planet home page we can see that they have a blog.  This blog consists of stories of their members’ successes as well as environmental news posts like the most recent about Gulf Coast Oil Relief.

This blog page serves as a hub for their social media campaign and allows you to link over to their Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, YouTube, and MySpace pages. The organization is very active on Facebook, where they have a second blog, post photos and enable their 3,131 fans to talk about the movement.  They even enable you to sign up for 1% email updates (something we haven’t seen from organizations so far).

With a member like singer/songwriter Jack Johnson and the 1% for the Planet album out the organization has made tremendous use of all of their social media outlets to promote sales.  And is seems to be paying off. In January the album reached #3 on Billboard’s top folk albums and #1 on Amazon’s MP3 Albums list!

1% is obviously actively working with social media to get their message out, and I’m sure that they will continuously build a greater following. Take a look at their YouTube video that has reached over 15,000 views!


The LIVESTRONG campaign, brought to us by the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF), is most know for their rubber wristbands that became popular in 2004 and are still worn by supporters today.  In case you didn’t know, the organization provides an amazing amount of support for those who are fighting cancer as well as for their loved ones.

In 2009 LAF teamed up with Ogilvy to expand their reach of the LIVESTRONG movement.  One of their first steps was to relaunch the LIVESTRONG blog which is now the hub for all of the organization’s social media tools.

The LIVESTRONG blog site is one that any NPO would benefit from mimicking.  It serves as not only the blog’s home but it also has a feed of Cancer news, upcoming LAF events, and Lance’s press and race schedule.  Of course you can link to the livestrongarmy YouTube page, as well as view and visit Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr as well.

YES! LAF is active on Youtube, FacebookFlickr, and three different Twitter accounts! The response is amazing. On every one of their social media outlets there are comments from cancer survivors, fighters, family and supporters that are coming together to share.

The LIVESTRONG effort is being innovative with their social media use as well.  They use their Flickr for people to upload pictures from different events.  Supporters send in photos of themselves running marathons and wearing their LIVESTRONG bands.

Additionally, the organization has three Twitter accounts, @livestrong, @livestrongceo, and @lancearmstrong as I mentioned earlier.  In addition to being accessable from the Twitter site, all tweets can be viewed right from the LIVESTRONG blog.  Even tweets from supports that use the hashtag #livestrong can be seen, and it is remarkable how many people use it.

The Lance Armstrong Foundation has without a doubt made a major connection with their community of followers.  They continuously demonstrate their want to reach out and create a feeling of support for those affected by cancer.  They are making a tremendous effort to connect directly with cancer fighters and survivors through social media and it is making a huge difference in their results. In 2009 LAF raised $10.8 million at the LIVESTRONG Challenge!

Thanks to social media, there is an overwhelming amount of support for LIVESTRONG around the world.