Kathryn Jennex is involved with a number of social media projects. She's the project manager for moovy.ca (an online community for filmmakers), assistant to Chris Brogan, associate with SocialMedia 404, and passionately involved in the non-profit sector online and off. She is part of the creative team at 12for12K, an effort to raise money using social media for 12 different charities over the course of 2009.
1. How did you get interested in using social media for social change?
I actively promote and support causes that “come my way”. Off line I have worked as a counselor for street youth, survivors of sexual assault and people with mental health issues. I have volunteered with low-income single moms, ex-offenders, and presently serve on the board of a women's association.
I believe we all have a responsibility to help those, by whatever means we can, who need help. I’m passionate about this. I firmly believe we can all make a difference. I have worked doing promotion, marketing and traditional PR for non-profits before. When I became involved in the world of social media, I was so excited to see the possibilities, the reach and the way information could be shared so that it became more genuine. For example, on Twitter and through blogs, I can actually converse with people who work directly with non-profits and causes I support. On Wired Causes I can learn about charities and non-profits I may not have been exposed to before. Wired Causes is not about raising money it’s about raising awareness.
2. Tell me about the 12for12K project?
The 12for12k Challenge is the brainchild of Press Release PR owner Danny Brown. Inspired by the way that social media has changed so many lives for the better already with various charity promotions, Danny wanted to do something that was both easy to take part in and have the potential to change as many lives as possible.
The concept is simple:
- 12 months of the year
- 12 charities, 1 chosen every month
- 1200 people, $10 donation per person, per charity, each month for 12 months, a total of just $120 per person over the year
The goal - $12,000 per charity, $144,000 raised overall by December 31, 2009.
3. What's your strategy for raising the money for these organizations?
The hope is that by keeping the donation amount small but number of donors high, the 12for12k challenge will not only be simple, but doable. $10 per month should be an easy amount for most people to give. One less beer; one less pizza; one less magazine - is it too much to ask for so little that can benefit so many?
4. What has surprised so far about this project?
The surprising part has been how difficult the actual raising of money has been. It has taken an incredible amount of effort and we have an amazing team. We seem to be able to get the word out but not get the donations in. We did not meet our goal for the month of January. This could be the result of having launched at the wrong time of year. January is a tough month all around, or a direct response to what’s happening in the world's economy. Social media requires a lot of time and a lot of commitment.
5. If someone else was going to do a project like this - raise money for organizations or causes using blogs - what advice would you give them?
My advice to others would be – do it! Set realistic goals, surround yourself with a team of people from various disciplines and ask for help. Remember it’s not all about raising funds, although that may be the goal – it’s about raising awareness as well.
Beth Kanter, BlogHer CE for Nonprofits, writes Beth's Blog.
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