In the weeks following Hurricane Katrina, I basically devoted my blog to sharing news and information about where resources could be found. I've promoted other charitable efforts from time to time as well.
Lately, with the BP oil spill happening so close to where I live, this emphasis on using social media for social good has gained greater importance once again.
The work that Geoff Livingston and CitizenGulf has done, for example, touched my heart deeply. I'm so appreciative that he would not only devote space on his blog, but invest time to come down to the Gulf region on a fact-finding missions, and report on his findings using social media channels shows how well it can be used to produce positive change.
I guess I should explain why this is important. To be honest, it's because of my faith.
In 1996, I was given the opportunity to go to Haiti on a church-related mission trip with an organization called New Missions. Like charity: water, among other things they also dug wells in rural villages. These wells provided clean water that made the difference between health and sickness, and possibly even life and death.
I drank from those wells alongside the villagers. I shared the simple fare of rice and fish provided by the villagers out of their meager coffers (it was the only meal most of them had in a day). For a brief, blessed period of time, I was granted the opportunity to walk in their shoes and am forever changed as a result.
Not too long ago I had a shot at becoming the social media manager for a large non-profit focused on helping children in developing nations. However, it would have required a major move, something I was not prepared to do at the time. Still, it was incredibly tempting to vie for the position. (BTW, I'm not sure if they have filled that position. If it's something you'd be interested in, email me and I'll point you in the right direction.)
To further my investment in the use of social media to achieve social good, as soon as I get the challenge with Andy accomplished, I'm going to assist Denise Wakeman with hers. She is attempting to raise $10,000 for Kiva, the organization that provides micro-loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries, and she is well on her way to achieve that goal.
When I'm gone, I don't want my epitaph to read "He made a lot of money using social media for marketing." I'd much rather it read, "He made a difference."
How about you? If you agree, please consider helping me raise $5,000 for charity: water. Not only is Andy counting on me, but more importantly so are the people whose health and well-begin depend on clean water.