Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Gulf Coast and You!

Regardless of what you read in the news, it's clear that the damage from the BP oil DISASTER is not over.  Just five years after Katrina, Gulf Coast residents are now confronted with polluted water, endangered marine life, and a seriously damaged economy.

My colleague, Geoff Livingston and his partners at Zoetica are hoping to do something about this disastrous state of affairs by organizing (along with a number of other partners) the CitizenGulf National Day of Action on August 25th Their goal are threefold:
  1. To raise $100,000 for Catholic Charities of New Orleans through social media driven events and donations.
  2. To get 10,000 people to take action to help the Gulf by attending a CitizenGulf meet up, donating, or voting for this Good Gulf Idea in the Pepsi Refresh contest
  3. To get 1% of all the people taking actions to build their own CitizenGulf projects with a target of 100 new projects.
You can learn more about the initiative here.

This ambitious event is a very interesting exercise in crowdsourcing - "the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to a large group of people or community (a crowd), through an open call."

Similar events have been done before with stellar and mediocre results.  Let's be honest, there is a LOT of heavy lifting that has to be done to motivate an unpaid crowd. This work is usually done by a small, committed group of employees or volunteers.  However, when crowdsourcing works, it can be a tremendous boon to nonprofits who save time and money and (perhaps most important) build strong ties with their constituents.  Also, by giving everyday people (like you and me!) ways to make a difference and lead our own change efforts, we all become EMPOWERED ACTORS vs. passive observers of our world.  

I hope you'll take action to help our brothers and sisters in the Gulf recover from this most recent storm.  I also hope you'll follow CitizenGulf as it unfolds.  It may give you ideas about how you can use crowdsourcing to advance your cause.


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