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Pledge to End Hunger Campaign: Why Hunger and Why Now?

Childhood hunger is a very real problem in America.

Throughout the year, one out of six children in America worries about when their next meal will come. That’s more than 12 million children at risk of hunger, reports Share Our Strength, a national organization that works hard to make sure no kid in America grows up hungry.

Today, as the recession deepens and unemployment rises, more American families are facing hunger for the first time. A record 30 million Americans are on food stamps, and food banks face unprecedented demand.

MediaSauce believes that no child deserves to go hungry and we are committed to help end this solvable problem. Last week, we launched the Pledge to End Hunger campaign in partnership with Share Our Strength, Tyson Food, Hum. Minds at Work., and Kompolt.

The Pledge to End Hunger web site challenges visitors to help spread the word about childhood hunger in America, find ways to get involved with a food bank in their area, and donate money to Share Our Strength. The site encourages also a deeper dialogue about the issue with a blog focused on this initiative and ways to collaboratively solve the roots of this problem.

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Authentic Advocacy: Five Best Practices for Cause Marketing

Two Things You Need to Know about This Post
1. The era of the oversized check is over.
2. If you follow the five Best Practices of Cause Marketing, you can change the world.

A More Detailed Exploration
Cause marketing has become one of the hottest topics of the year. Major corporations and local businesses alike are finding out that it’s good business to help promote causes. But how can you go about doing it without looking like an opportunist?

Corporate philanthropy and social responsibility are nothing new. It has always been in a company’s best interest to help improve its community and conduct its operations in a way that benefits its stakeholders.

Somewhere along the way, we forgot these simple truths. Somehow, we began to believe all that mattered was taking pictures of oversized checks and going back to business-as-usual.

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How Can You Change the World Using Digital and Social Media?

#1 Thing You Need to Know about This Post
You need a clear plan to help you connect your compelling story to the people who can help you change the world.

A More Detailed Exploration
If you are like most non-profit leaders, you understand that your website can’t just be a digital brochure. Your donors and volunteers expect a lot more out of you when it comes to the online experience you provide the world. What can you do to make it better even in this challenging economy? more

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Wanted: Champions for the Hunger Pledge

On Thursday, we will launch PledgeToEndHunger.com, a website designed to shine a bright light on the very real problem of childhood hunger in America.

This website is a joint effort of Tyson Foods, Share Our Strength, Hum. Minds at Work., Kompolt, and MediaSauce. It is designed to make it easy for people to do something meaningful in the short-term and create a dialogue about solving the root issues.

Harnessing the Excitement of SXSW ’09
With thousands of highly connected people converging later this month for South by Southwest 2009 (SXSW ’09) in Austin, Texas, we plan to harness everyone’s excitement to help deliver a Tyson semi-trailer truck full of food products to the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. This will provide 140,000 meals for children in Austin. more

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Understanding Social Media in Simple Terms

Two Things You Need to Know from This Post:

  1. Social media helps people live, work, and play with each other (no matter the distance) by combining age-old ways of social interaction and the capabilities of mass media.
  2. You can create transformational change when you use the antennas on the mountaintop to provide a common message and inspire the people in the valleys to interact, spread, customize, and amplify your message.

A More Detailed Exploration:
We have always lived, worked, and played with each other. For most of our history, we did all this in small groups. These groups grew, spreading out across great distances and having great obstacles between us. As our technology has advanced, so has our ability to live, work, and play with others – both near and far away.

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Pedigree’s Super Bowl Cause Marketing Gamble: Bold Move or Waste of Money?

#1 Thing You Need to Know about this Post:
Pedigree has spent a lot of resources to create awareness about the Pedigree Adoption Drive and will need to use its online resources to prove it was a wise decision, not prideful folly.

A More Detailed Exploration
The Super Bowl is a spectacular affair with entertainment for almost everyone, whether or not you care about the game on the field.  People were overflowing with anticipation, celebration, indifference, derision, and disappointment throughout the evening. And that was just for the commercials (see the Twitter stream).

Out of all the spots that were aired, I noticed two that were primarily cause marketing initiatives: the NFL and Pedigree. While the NFL has a long history of promoting its community support (e.g. United Way commercials) and gets its air time as part of the broadcast agreement, Pedigree had to pay full retail price. more

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Buy Your $5 Starbucks with Pride, You’re Helping to Change the World

#1 Thing You Need to Know about this Post:
The only sustainable way for you to create wealth for yourself is by improving the lives of others. Starbucks understands this and so can you. 

A More Detailed Exploration
In case you just missed it in the opening sentence, I have an earth-shattering announcement to make:

The only sustainable way for you to create wealth for yourself is by improving the lives of others.

Despite what you might have heard from others, the only true path to long-term wealth creation comes from the careful balance of private gain and social good. Think about it. You create wealth when a lot of people think what you offer to the world is important enough to them that they pay you money and then keep paying you money over long periods of time. more

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The Other Side of Charity: After the Money is Raised, Who Does the Heavy Lifting?

The #1 Thing You Need to Know about this Post:
You can use social media to raise more awareness, more resources, and keep people better informed, but we’re still working on how to use these tools to fix the actual social problems.

A More Detailed Exploration
For anyone who doubts we have entered a new era when it comes to charity, you can return to the salt mines.  For the rest of you reading this, let’s reflect back on the last fourteen days:

  • Two weeks ago, I’m willing to wager that you (except for a select few) didn’t know about Daniela and her three kids. Heck, you might not had even known about David Armano;
  • Twelve days ago, you probably came across Daniela’s story and felt compelled to give; 
  • Ten days ago, you might have been part of the well-deserved digital ticker tape parade celebrating this outstanding show of support;
  • Seven days ago, you were in the midst of a heavy discussion about the ramifications of what has since been termed Free Lancer Fundraisers;
  • Four days ago, you found out Daniela had secured an apartment for her family and your collective generosity had made it possible; and
  • Yesterday, you read that the move-in had begun. more

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Helping Our Neighbors: Further Thoughts on the Armano Family’s Act of Charity

The Two Things You Need to Know from This Post:
1. The Armano family showed great compassion for Daniela and her children by rallying the support of their neighbors.
2. We need to continue this conversation in earnest to help reframe our understanding of charity and realign it with the realities of the new era.

The More Detailed Explanation:
With over 1 billion people on the Internet and over 3.3 billion owning mobile phones, we have entered the Interconnected Age. You have a more global view of the world, ideas spread instantaneously, self-organized swarms mobilize out of nowhere, and transformational events happen faster than before. These components of the Interconnected Age are redefining all aspects of your life, including your charitable acts. 

A Well Considered Risk
When I decided to write I Gave $10 to David Armano to Help Daniela and Now I Regret It, I realized I was doing something akin to approaching a gasoline-soaked bee hive holding a lit match in one hand and a can of hairspray in the other. Those of us steeped in social media can attest to the hive’s propensity to defend itself against perceived challenges. Add to that the fact that raising money as fast as the Armano family did requires a highly emotional situation (e.g. 9/11, Katrina, and the Tsunami). more

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I Gave $10 to David Armano to Help Daniela and Now I Regret It

The #1 Thing You Need to Know From This Post:
Raising money for someone’s private benefit does not improve the social good; it just proves we are all selfishly altruistic.

The More Detailed Explanation:
Although I have never met David Armano or his friend, Daniela, I gave $10 this week to help him help her. It turns out I wasn’t alone. Over 500 people pooled about $16,000 in a matter of days, with most of it in the first 24 hours. Without a doubt, that’s a very effective fund drive.

Didn’t hear about this yet? Here’s the short and sweet.
Daniela is from Romania and has three kids, the youngest with Down’s Syndrome. According to Armano, “Daniela is divorcing her spouse after years of abuse. In recent years her mortgage went unpaid and she’s lost her house.” Since I have no firsthand knowledge, you’ll need to take it for what it’s worth.

Armano and his family have taken Daniela and her family into their home. This week, he decided to leverage his social media network to raise money to get them into their own apartment and on their feet again. For more details of the drive, Scott Drummond gave an excellent recap in the second half of his post, while David Griner analyzed why it worked so well from a fundraising perspective. more

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