The Power of Video

By Steven Chang

The power of video to successfully promote causes, companies, organizations, people, and yes, even cats, on the Internet is hardly a secret. We can see the power of video almost immediately (how many views/hits did you get?), and we can also see the power of video in our everyday lives (when was the last time you asked a question beginning with, “have you seen that one video…?”).

But how do videos become popular? Two videos that use the same outreach methods – email, social media, word of mouth, live presentation – may not necessarily have the same impact. And a video which hardly uses any of those methods can suddenly go viral solely because of its content and the way that content is communicated.

While there are many guidelines for anyone who is looking to popularize their videos, there is no silver bullet.  So, I’d like to offer my advice, taken from my passion for creating great video content and from my experience at “UniversalGivingTM.

  1. Filter. Only use your most unique, interesting, and high quality content.
  2. Brand. Remind the viewers constantly just where they are getting their video content through visuals, text, and whatever else you can think of.
  3. Outreach. Viral videos are, in fact, quite rare. Your best bet is to continue to aggressively outreach through all forms of social media, while trying to drive all of that outreach to your central “homebase” – a website, your twitter feed, your blog, etc.
  4. Workflow. For bigger video projects, create standards, checklists, and production schedules to guide your project from the early stages of content filtering to the later stages of releasing & analytics.
  5. Focus. There are always more and better ways to promote through video. Tackle the project in stages. Start with a basic strategy, and then build on that as you evaluate and assess the impact of your videos. Sometimes you may stretch yourself too thin by trying to do too much before you release even your first video.

I have also found many helpful tips and guidelines through ListenIn Pictures and their starter guide to non-profit video story telling. While their focus is more on fundraising and campaigns, they have many useful tips and examples of how video can be used to call people to action.

My final tip is to create conversation around your videos. When people really enjoy a video and find it interesting, they will have something to say about it, will engage it, and will respond to the “call to action.” So, what do you have to say about UniversalGiving’s most recently released videos featuring our founder & CEO Pamela Hawley and other Fortune-500 CSR executives?

Pamela Hawley on NGO Vetting

More videos:

Secret to Success: Go Become Famous!

Global CSR Benefits: The Bottom Line

Global CSR Challenges: Co-Chairs and Cross-Training

UniversalGiving at the Commonwealth Club – Video Highlights!

by Steven Chang

On August 11, 2011, founder & CEO Pamela Hawley led a panel of Fortune 500 Corporate Social Responsibility executives in discussing the innovations and practical lessons learned from launching CSR programs all over the world. We’ve taken the highlights from this exciting event and created shorter videos for your learning and enjoyment!

Pamela Hawley on NGO Vetting

Here’s what founder & CEO Pamela Hawley had to say about NGO vetting through UniversalGiving™, which has even helped Fortune 500 companies ensure the success of global CSR programs.

Secrets to Success: Go Become Famous!

Mark Edmunds of Deloitte LLP gave an especially creative & insightful response when Pamela asked him to share his “words of wisdom” regarding global CSR. We’d like to share it with you!

Global CSR Benefits: The Bottom Line

Not only does CSR create positive social outcome, but it also contributes to a company’s bottom line. Here’s how Pamela and Gabriele Zedlmayer of Hewlett-Packard explained it.

Global CSR Challenges: Co-Chairs & Cross-Training

One of these challenges of CSR is operating global CSR programs led solely by employee volunteers. Pamela Hawley and Trisa Thompson of Dell, Inc. explored the topic of cross-training and co-chairs on a global level.

The Commonwealth Club of California has been hosting public forums with exciting speakers for more than 100 years. More information on the Commonwealth Club of California can be found here.

The Intersection of Business and Social: Making Meaning Matter

UniversalGiving has partnered with SOCAP12: Making Meaning Matter in San Francisco, a conference featuring the world’s pioneering impact investors, social entrepreneurs, philanthropists, civic leaders and innovators. This year’s conference takes place October 1-4, 2012, and serves to create intersections where you – with friends and valuable strangers – mobilize resources and capital for good.

SOCAP believes that to create the world we want, we have to bring all of our selves to the tasks – from our passion, to our time and talent, to our investment dollars – that’s what it takes to make meaning matter.

The themes for this year’s SOCAP closely tie in with UniversalGiving’s vision to “Create A World Where Giving And Volunteering Are A Natural Part Of Everyday Life.”™ SOCAP is the market at the intersection of money and meaning; it’s a place where we put purpose together with capital. Similarly, UniversalGiving Corporate strives to make global Corporate Social Responsibility necessary for every company. By helping Fortune 500 companies establish and manage CSR programs, UniversalGiving Corporate helps companies strengthen their global brand; increase corporate employee giving and volunteer rates; increase employee retention and attraction; and build a stronger, more loyal client base. SOCAP also understands the importance of this intersection between business and “doing good”. SOCAP12 connects investors and entrepreneurs, public and private sectors, technology providers and technology users in an attempt to create better solutions to the world’s problems. Meaning is at the heart of the market; SOCAP is the place where people bring their intentions to make a difference and make connections to push their projects and goals forward.

This year SOCAP is offering both entry-level and expert-level workshops, with over 150 keynotes and panelists from across the globe, with a wide range of expertise in social innovation. Check out the event themes, confirmed participants, and register with 30% off today! Visit SOCAP12

 

An Exciting Trip to Synergos with the Global Philanthropists Circle

Today’s post is from UniversalGiving’s Founder and CEO, Pamela Hawley.

I recently attended the Synergos Conference in New York, where we were invited amongst 100 global donors.  I wanted to share some exciting insights with you!

We’ve been honored now to be invited for our 6th year in a row, as part of Synergos.  Synergos is a group that brings together global leaders who want to give effectively in developing nations all over the world. At the same time, it also supports social innovators in more than 40 countries through their Senior Fellows program.  They are social leaders who sincerely and effectively serve our communities in diverse ways, in healthcare for children in Zimbabwe, gender equality in Bangladesh and Uganda, poverty alleviation in Thailand, an environmental protection in the Philippines.

This meeting concerned a group of international philanthropists from more than 100 countries.  During this meeting, we heard from Peggy Delaney and from Bill Clinton.  Former President Clinton was quite formidable in the high calling he set for himself regarding philanthropy.  The Clinton Global Initiative is involved in numerous philanthropic projects.  Many of them revolve around renewable energy in hydro and electric policy and implementation.  He is focused on supporting both forprofit and nonprofit groups in this endeavor.  He’s watchful of emerging projects that are successful abroad, which can be utilized here in the United States.

Many professors from Harvard and Dartmouth are covering emerging markets in a new way. What’s called Frugal Innovation or  Reverse Innovation looks at low-cost, effective projects that are working abroad, and brings them back to the United States.  Instead of the U.S. always being the pioneer — international countries, and often developing ones, are the initiators. Product include everything from low-cost medical services to shaving razors, which are now undercutting the market here.

However, U.S. companies are also taking the lead.  For example, PG&E is undercutting itself, by introducing these products back in the United States.   If they don’t, they are concerned that another country will do so.  So they are pre-empting this move, but offering both types of products, low and high end, low cost, high cost.  Fascinating!

For example, the razors are indeed different.  In India, the U.S. razors are re-crafted to take into consideration a local country’s situation. Indian men often don’t have mirrors, operate off a small bowl, have limited water, and also need sharp razors that can outlast dullness.

As a tangent, there are so many innovations from abroad… The UK is coming up with more unique versions of philanthropy.  I just read that their cultural minister is trying to allow people to make a donation when they are at ATMs.  I am so heartened to see such good exploding across the world… :) in so many ways, that affect our lives practically!

Back to Synergos. :)  Then we went on to a dinner session.  The session was 20 tables related to CSR, health, innovation and education, and then all different country areas.  I was put at the Middle East table, and it was amazingly fascinating.  I wanted to see how UniversalGiving could support more projects in philanthropy in the Middle East, in this burgeoning area.

Many of the forprofit people felt, interestingly enough, that an authoritarian government structure was better than a democracy.  They felt these countries were living in anarchy with no government, and it would be better to have their lives ruled by some sort of government structure.  That may be partially true for the short-term stability, but I hope we would all argue on the side of freedom for all people from any type of oppression, any time, anywhere.

However, transition from authoritarianism is a transition.  I’ve long known that just because a dictator is toppled, that doesn’t mean democracy will immediately exist.  We have to be conscious of the fact that when America was created, it was called a “grand experiment.”  No one had had this type of structure before, and we were fighting tooth and nail to prove it could work.  I’m grateful that its structure, no matter how many “dents” it has, is still in place. It preserves so many freedoms for us, in the way that we operate, both in our personal lives and businesses.

Here’s an example of just one individual who is most certainly making his mark in the Middle East and won’t be held back by anything.  Ron Bruder is a global leader working on providing employment opportunities for unemployed youth in the Middle East.  (He’s formerly built shopping centers all over the U.S., and is now devoting himself full time to this effort.)  It’s incredible. He’s giving hope to so many in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia and Yemen.  Tunisia, he says, is the easiest… they just get it and in many locations, in-country supporters (important) provide significant financial backing, with positive government support, too.

I love sharing with you about these philanthropic insights in different areas across the world!  Continue to make your mark on our world as well. No action is too small.

With highest regards,

Pamela

The Stories That Change Our Lives – Inspiration from Tamora Pierce

“Girls are 50% of the population. We deserve to represent 50% of the heroes.”

- Tamora Pierce

Sometimes the people who inspire us never existed.  And sometimes it’s the people who created those fictional characters who furnish the inspiration.

Tamora Pierce is an author of young adult fantasy novels, and at the risk of sounding like I’m exaggerating, I can tell you that she changed my life.  Tamora Pierce writes books about strong women, or “sheroes.”

When Pierce was starting out in writing, there was (and to some extent, still is) a belief that books about boys were more marketable.  The theory goes that young adult girls will read stories about male heroes, but young adult boys won’t read about female leads—write about a boy and you have twice the market, meaning there weren’t as many stories about heroic girls, and not as many role-models for girls to read about.

Song of the Lioness Quartet

But almost thirty years ago, Pierce wrote Song of the Lioness.  It’s a fantasy quartet about Alanna, a girl who desperately wants to become a knight, even though it’s a profession not open to women.  So Alanna disguises herself as a boy, and sets about to do it anyway.  She’s brave and strong, knows who she is and what she wants, keeps up with the boys and earns their respect.  It’s a wonderful story.  I read the books at a young age, and they made a huge impression on me.  Since then, I’ve read many other books about strong girls, and Pierce certainly isn’t the only author writing those characters.  But she was at the beginning of a changing trend, and she was one of the first to make a big impact with me.

I’m a firm believer that a girl can do anything a boy can do, that women should have the same rights as men, and that we all ought to be equal, whether in pay rates or in who cleans the house.  I’m sure a lot of that belief comes from my parents, especially my mom, but I think reading about Alanna at a young age helped.

I also know I’m not unique in this—off the top of my head I can think of three friends who were deeply influenced by Tamora Pierce’s writing.  Two of them I became friends with because we bonded over our shared love for her books (another way she changed my life!)

When I was a kid, I wanted to be Alanna when I grew up.  Now, I think I want to “grow up” to be Tamora Pierce, at least as a writer.

The world needs stories like Alanna’s, and Pierce’s other books.  We need stories that tell girls they’re as good as boys, that they can be strong and make a difference, that they don’t have to stay with their pushy boyfriend, that they can be themselves, whoever that is, and that they can achieve their dreams and do great things.  Boys need to hear some of that too, and Tamora Pierce’s books provide excellent role models of both genders.

My Tamora Pierce Collection

To quote Pierce again: “It’s not just children who need heroes.”

We all need heroes who will inspire us to become heroes.  That may be the ultimate magic of Pierce’s books—she didn’t just tell me about a heroic girl.  She told me I could be one too.

We all can be—and we can help other girls achieve their goals too.  In one of her later adventures, Alanna joined a desert tribe, took two girls under her wing and helped them gain acceptance and respect—and learned from them too.  We can all help someone, a relative, a friend, or a stranger thousands of miles away.  Thanks to our increasingly global world, we can find opportunities to help all over the world.  We can send a girl to college, help a woman start a business, or volunteer with women in the developing world.

Or we can find a way to inspire someone else.  Has there been an Alanna or a Tamora Pierce in your life?  Have you gone on to help someone else?  I’d love to hear your story!

Cheryl Mahoney is a writer for Tales of the Marvelous, sharing book reviews and reflections on writing.  She has reviewed more than fifteen books by Tamora Pierce, and many others about strong and inspiring girls. She is the Senior Marketing Associate at UniversalGiving and a managing writer for PhilanthroPost.