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

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


Mobile Layaway Programs: Helping to Make Investment Possible

By Katie Brigham

Innovative new technology oftentimes has the ability pay for itself  (and more!) over time. For example, KickStart’s low-cost irrigation pump has the potential to move African farmers away from a dependence on “rain-fed” agriculture, and allow entrepreneurial farmers to make money as they take greater control over their crop production. However, for the extremely poor, saving enough money to make an investment in a new technology such as a KickStart pump is highly improbable.

Consider the fact that out of the 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 per day, only 10% have access to a bank account. This makes setting aside money for savings nearly impossible. Despite the best intentions, any money stored under a mattress, or through other informal means, is at risk. Emergencies, impulse purchases, theft, and moreover a culture where spare cash comes with familial demands for monetary assistance all create an environment in which saving just isn’t feasible.

However, KickStart’s recently introduced mobile layaway program works to make saving and investment a possibility for the poor. By utilizing M-Pesa, a mobile money transfer service developed by Kenyans, KickStart has established a method by which African farmers are able to incrementally pay for their pumps. Through this service, farmers can transfer secure payments from their phones to a type of electronic bank, where KickStart is able to track and hold onto the incremental payments, until a pump is paid off.

Considering the prevalence of cell phones in the countries that KickStart serves (Kenya, Mali, Tanzania, and Burkina Faso), this solution to the difficulty of investment is both innovative and realistic. There is no need for KickStart customers to have access to a bank branch. M-Pesa allows customers to complete simple banking transactions completely electronically, without the burdens and risks that come with having physical cash on hand.

With more than 9 million M-Pesa users in Kenya, KickStart has had initial success here. However, in other countries such as Tanzania, the use of M-Pesa is less widespread, leading many to wonder whether KickStart’s mobile layaway program will catch on elsewhere. Yet though the results of this program remains to be seen, KickStart’s program is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.

Learn more about KickStart’s mobile layaway program in this Fast Company article.

If you would like to help support KickStart’s efforts visit UniversalGiving’s website and explore these opportunities:

UniversalGiving’s™ interview with Charyit!

By Jeremy Kenton, Marilyn Lin, and Ranjani Shanker

Recently, Ranjani Shanker of UniversalGiving™ was privileged to interview co-founders of Charyit, Jeremy Kenton and Marilyn Lin. Charyit is an early-stage, pre-seed company with the intention of allowing consumers to interact with corporations through recent content aggregated from media sites across the web.

Q: Story of Charyit – How and who made it happen?

LIN:  The idea started when corporations began to focus on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and place more emphasis on the importance of social media to their brands.  We asked ourselves, “How likely are we to support a company’s brand in the future based on their recent actions?”  And, “If a large population of consumers are also aware of these actions, would the masses be able to influence the plans of or affect a corporation’s “triple bottom line” (people, planet and profit)?”

KENTON: We recognized the significant momentum building around CSR, with companies and consumers using social media to discuss their initiatives. People within our networks post articles about how companies are interacting with society, both positively and negatively. Because posting an article on Facebook lacks permanence, we created Charyit to change that.

LIN:  We want to provide a linkage between the public’s comments on corporate actions back to those corporations.  Charyit aggregates stories on the economic, environmental and social fronts.  Leveraging social media and crowd-sourcing, we offer the public the ability to interact with the news content and influence a company’s future actions.

Continue Reading

Professional greatness comes from inner goodness. Global companies making global changes.

By Victoria Endsley

At a recent Commonwealth Club panel in San Francisco, Pamela had a chance to sit down with Mark Edmunds (Deloitte), Gabi Zedlmayer (HP) and Trisa Thompson (Dell) to discuss their global initiatives in Corporate Social Responsibility.

These three companies are all part of the Fortune 500 list and have offices throughout the world.  Deloitte operates in the financial services sector and Hewlett-Packard and Dell are computer manufacturing companies whose business also extends into other areas such as printer production, software, and server manufacturing.

The mission for each is clear, however.  Take a position on corporate social responsibility, and pursue initiatives that will last for the long term.

Through their global network of offices, each now pioneers programs that are aligned with their company objectives and seek to make a difference.

Deloitte’s focus has been in education, specifically character education.  They believe that it helps them build credibility to the public and creates a company that cares.

HP believes that it is not about the money or technology only; it is about innovative solutions and skills that address social issues.

Dell is combining dollars, technology and talent to combine for the greatest effect.  They believe that you can’t just walk away.  You need to think about the long term effect of your campaigns.

Different campaigns, different core objectives, yet one central theme pervaded throughout the discussion: you must think global if you want to operate in a global world.

At the close of the panel, the three executives shared some words of wisdom on global CSR.  Dell’s Trisa Thompson said, “Before you start, think about the result you want to make.  Then think long and hard… Everything flows from that.”

HP’s Gabi Zedlmayer said that there are “lots of places where you can go to find out more information and where to engage – there is no excuse to say ‘I can’t give money because I don’t know what’s done with it and what the skills are that we can bring’.  There is a tremendous opportunity for small and medium size companies to learn from larger companies and reach a larger audience.”

And Deloitte’s Mark Edmunds said to “try to become famous for something.  The journey of trying to become famous will make you great.  Same [goes] for the company.  Focus begins in this regard.”

These three executives are a testament to the mission of their companies.  Through their own professional aspirations, they have strived to give back and make their imprint, and the work they promote through their companies shows that behind the programs, there are always people.  People are making a difference, and when people ban together, an even greater impact is made.

For more information on the Commonwealth Club panel, please visit their website.

Clif Bar & the Triple E approach (Everyone, Everything, Early)

By Victoria Endsley

Clif Bar reminds us that it isn’t just about the end product, but also how the product is created. Recognizing the impact of their carbon footprint, Clif Bar has challenged their production team to become a zero waste company with an approach called “The Triple E”, which stands for everyoneeverythingearly. And often, to the great pleasure of Clif Bar, the engagement in this process has actually saved them money! It isn’t just good for the environment, it’s good business!

Clif Bar believes in the idea that it isn’t just important to sell their products, but to do so in a socially responsible way that doesn’t negatively impact the world.

As Clif Bar has found, taking the time to understand where their packaging materials come from and the environmental impact they have isn’t hard, but involves a commitment to the process. If only more companies could follow in their path and recognize the impact of what they create, then the world would be a much greener place.

We can’t just look at the end result anymore, but instead on where our products come from and what went in to their creation. It sounds so simple, but why aren’t more people doing it?

I support companies like Clif Bar and believe in getting their message out because it is clear that they are making a difference. Their example is an important one to follow, but it doesn’t have to just happen at an organizational level. We can all be more mindful of what we buy and where we shop, and to not take too much from the planet, beyond what we need. And the more we get involved in being a conscious citizen, the greater impact we can have on others.

For more information, please check out:


Bringing the light back: Lemnis Lighting

by Lillian Wang

Everyone wants to be part of the new “green business.” I’ll bet that there are hundreds of startups daily, just trying to get a chunk out of the new booming industry. But how many actually make a difference? (and look super fashionable?)

Forgive me for being aware of looks, but Warner Philips (the grandson of Anton Philips, founder of Royal Philips Electronics) has developed the futuristic (and not swirly) looking LED light bulbs. His company, Lemnis Lighting, has launched their first line called Pharox. Apparently these bulbs run on magic- they only need to be replaced after 30 years or 50,000 hours. This bulb is 90% more efficient, lasts 6 times longer than the current compact fluorescent bulb, and 25 times longer than the old incandescent bulb. Philips’ goal to lower carbon emissions sure seem to be met with this magic bulb.

Most of us want to save the environment but are unable to.  True, it IS hard to drive less, use less electricity and water, buy petroleum products, etc. Yet, Lemnis Lighting and the brain of Anton Philips allow us to simply just switch out our bulbs for their spiffy and efficient bulbs to make an impact. The bulbs only suck 4Watts of electricity to produce the light of a 40Watt bulb. For us lazy and wanting to contribute, this is the best way to do something!

Kudos to Mr. Philips for developing such a wonderful product for the world. It’s easy, not too pricey, and environmentally friendly. What more to ask for?

In the future, I’ll be looking out for Lemnis Lighting- they’re paving a way towards true greener living.